How many of you guys want to become a project manager? Even those who don’t aspire to become project managers may have to manage projects at different times.
So, all of us should know the basics of project management since project management is not only linked to corporate jobs. We may have to carry out different sorts of projects in our lives. Hence, the skill of project management is essential to learn for all of us.
Before proceeding further, are you guys aware of project management? If not, don’t worry. We will start with the basics so everyone is on board with us.
Project management is the skill to plan, organize, and execute a project by controlling resources, including people, budget, and time. It is the process of achieving specific goals and objectives within a specific time.
Project management isn’t required in a specific industry only. This skill is used in every industry. Effective project management is very important since it helps organizations achieve their goals by using resources efficiently.
One thing that is essential in project management is strategic planning. Strategic planning holds great significance in project management since it ensures that projects align with the organization’s objectives in the long run.
Moreover, it ensures that the resources are only allocated for the projects that can help the organization to achieve its goals. Besides that, strategic planning ensures that the projects to be carried out have strategic value and a high return on investment.
Strategic planning in project management also helps the project manager establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the project’s success.
Other than strategic planning, SWOT analysis is also an integral tool used in project management. SWOT analysis is a significant strategic tool that helps organizations evaluate the internal and external factors that impact a business, industry, or project.
It highlights the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats present for a business, industry, or project. Organizations prefer SWOT analysis since it is simple and provides a complete picture of how internal and external factors impact a business, industry, or project.
Now that we have talked about what SWOT analysis is let’s proceed further and discuss how SWOT analysis is used in project management and why project managers prefer to use it.
A SWOT analysis in project management aims to get a complete picture of how various internal and external factors impact a project.
Project managers often conduct a SWOT analysis before initiating a project to know whether it is feasible to execute a certain project.
The SWOT analysis highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the project. Moreover, it also identifies the opportunities and threats present for the project. After weighing each of them, the project manager decides whether to proceed with a project or not.
Since SWOT analysis highlights the strengths and weaknesses of a project, it is easy for the project manager to develop a strategic plan regarding the execution of the project.
The project manager makes a strategic plan to leverage the strengths and overcome the weaknesses identified by the SWOT analysis. Moreover, the project manager develops a strategic plan for availing the opportunities and mitigating the threats mentioned in the SWOT analysis.
Since we have discussed the role of SWOT analysis in project management, let’s look at the benefits of using SWOT analysis as a tool in project management.
Project managers use SWOT analysis since it is useful for giving insights about a project. This section will examine some benefits of using SWOT analysis in project management.
One of the benefits of using SWOT analysis in project management is that it improves decision-making. Since SWOT analysis highlights all the key internal and external factors that impact the project, it gets easier for project managers to make informed decisions.
Moreover, SWOT analysis highlights the threats associated with the project before the project is actually started. This helps the project manager to develop strategies to minimize the risk associated with the project.
Other than that, since SWOT analysis identifies the strengths and weaknesses of each project, it gets easier for the project manager to choose where to allocate the scarce resources.
SWOT analysis also helps project managers to plan the projects more effectively. Project managers can conduct a SWOT analysis of various potential projects and only pick projects whose strengths align with the organization’s strategic goals.
Moreover, conducting a SWOT analysis provides an insight into the weaknesses of the project to the project manager in advance. Hence, project managers can plan and make strategies to overcome those weaknesses.
SWOT analysis also helps project managers identify and mitigate risks by identifying the weaknesses and potential threats present for the project.
The weaknesses section of the SWOT analysis highlights the internal weaknesses of the project. For example, it may highlight that the workforce to carry out this project is unskilled.
Once the project manager learns about the weaknesses, he can take measures to overcome these weaknesses. For example, if the project’s weakness is an unskilled workforce, he can hire a skilled workforce.
Moreover, the threats section of the SWOT analysis highlights the potential threats to the project from the external environment. Since SWOT analysis highlights the threats in advance, the project manager has the opportunity to form strategies to mitigate those threats.
The opportunities section in the SWOT analysis highlights what opportunities might be present for the project in the future. Suppose those opportunities are aligned with the goals of the organizations. In that case, the project manager will happily execute the project.
Moreover, the strengths section in the SWOT analysis helps the project manager to see whether the goals of the project are in line with the goals of the organization or not.
For example, if one of the project’s strengths is that it will draw the attention of potential customers and the organization’s objective is also to pull customers, the project manager will know that this project is aligned with the organization’s goals.
The SWOT analysis highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the project in advance, due to which the project manager has prior knowledge regarding where to allocate the resources.
For example, the project manager allocates resources to overcome the weaknesses mentioned in the SWOT analysis. In this way, resources are utilized efficiently.
After discussing the benefits of SWOT analysis, let’s look at the four essential steps of conducting the SWOT analysis.
As we have discussed earlier, SWOT analysis holds great significance in project management. Below, we will discuss the steps for conducting the SWOT analysis.
The first step in conducting the SWOT analysis is to collect data on internal and external factors that affect the project.
The strengths and weaknesses section in the SWOT analysis account for the internal factors that impact the project’s operations. Gathering data on the project’s strengths would let the project manager analyze the areas where the project seems strong.
On the other hand, gathering the data on the weaknesses would tell the project manager the shortcomings. Similarly, collecting the data on the external factors that impact a project makes the project manager aware of what opportunities lie ahead for the project and what threats are present.
In the second step of the SWOT analysis, all the data that has been collected is analyzed. This step analyses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
For example, it is stated that the strength of a certain project is its skilled workforce, and the weakness of a project is its inexperienced workforce.
Similarly, opportunities and threats are also analyzed and stated in different columns so that the project manager knows a project’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
After analyzing the internal and external factors that impact the project, the third step of the SWOT analysis is to formulate strategies based on the findings of the SWOT analysis.
In this stage, the project manager forms strategies to leverage the strengths, address the weaknesses, exploit the opportunities, and mitigate the threats mentioned in the SWOT analysis.
For example, suppose the SWOT analysis mentions that the weakness of a project is in an experienced workforce. In that case, the project manager will form a strategy to replace the existing workforce with an experienced and skilled workforce.
In the last step of the SWOT analysis, the project manager implements the strategies formed in the previous step of the SWOT analysis.
For example, suppose the project manager decides to replace the inexperienced workforce with an experienced workforce to overcome the weakness in this step. In that case, the project manager will implement the strategy by hiring an experienced workforce.
Besides that, the project manager monitors the impact of implementing the strategies by setting up key performance indicators (KPIs). Moreover, the project manager regularly reviews the SWOT analysis and makes necessary adjustments.
The SWOT analysis plays a critical role in project management. However, the project manager should be vigilant while conducting the SWOT analysis, or else the results of the SWOT analysis might not show the real picture.
The project manager has to avoid a lack of thorough data collection. If the project manager fails to collect accurate data, the SWOT analysis results won’t be accurate.
Moreover, the project manager should make sure the data collected is not biased. Otherwise, the results will show inaccurate strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the project.
Furthermore, the project manager should ensure that the results of the SWOT analysis are shared with all the relevant stakeholders of the project so that when the strategy is formed, all the stakeholders are on the same page.
Project managers should also avoid focusing on only internal or external factors. The SWOT analysis provides a combination of both internal and external facts that impact a project. Hence, the project manager should also focus on internal and external factors while developing a strategy.
The project manager should also keep revisiting and updating the SWOT analysis as the project progresses; otherwise, the project’s success might be compromised.
Project management manages the available resources to complete a project in a given time. Project managers used several tools for project management. However, one of the tools that is widely used for project management is SWOT analysis.
The SWOT analysis is a strategic tool that project managers use to align the project’s goals with the organization’s goals. Moreover, SWOT analysis provides a complete insight into the project to the project manager by identifying the factors that impact the project.
Project managers also use the information provided by the SWOT analysis to form strategies to mitigate the risks and overcome the weaknesses of the project.
Project managers should use SWOT analysis since it highlights the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats the project faces in advance. Hence, project managers can make the required changes in the project to make it successful in the future.
Moreover, SWOT analysis should also be used during project management since it helps the project manager to use the resources more efficiently.
The SWOT analysis plays a crucial role in the success of the project. It helps the project managers form strategies that ensure the project’s success. Yet another tool that promises the same thing is PERT analysis.