SWOT analysis template

A  SWOT analysis template can help businesses prioritize projects and stay ahead of the competition. Conducting a SWOT analysis will help you understand your company's strengths and weaknesses in the context of wider market opportunities and threats.

What is a SWOT analysis template?

The concept of a SWOT analysis is likely familiar to anyone who attended business school or has worked in marketing or product development. The acronym “SWOT” stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Analyzing these factors is a great way to assess the pros and cons of new projects, product lines, features, acquisitions, expansion, and more.

While you can write your own SWOT analysis by drawing a square with four quadrants, labeling each one, and then entering the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, it’s faster to use a template. A template lets you skip the setup and begin filling in the blanks right away.

Benefits of using a SWOT analysis template

Starting a big project can be intimidating. Whether an individual is preparing for a group discussion or working on their own, the SWOT framework can help them step back and look at the big picture. 

A SWOT analysis template contains enough detail to frame discussions and provides an outline for gathering the contributions and ideas of other team members. While not detailed enough for an in-depth analysis, it’s perfect for the initial stages of a project plan.  

Read on to explore some of the best use cases for a SWOT analysis.

Optimized strategic planning

A business SWOT analysis can be an excellent place to start strategic planning for a major project, as it can simplify and clarify the issues involved. For example, a product manager creating a product roadmap for the next quarter might opt to use a SWOT analysis to assist in prioritizing features to develop.

Improved decision-making

One of the main benefits of a SWOT analysis template is to improve decision-making. For example, when evaluating several cloud hosts, an IT team might fill out multiple SWOT templates, noting the pros and cons of each vendor, such as cost, ease of migration, compatibility with existing systems, and staff experience.  Comparing the completed templates side by side would make it easier to visualize the issues and simplify the choice.

Better risk management

While cost and market share are important in many decisions, so is risk management. For example, the product manager planning a roadmap might use the SWOT framework to balance the risk of developing a resource-intensive feature against customer demand for the functionality. 

Enhanced collaboration

A SWOT analysis template is a handy tool for collaborating with a group. The template serves as a framework to help structure the discussion and keep the meeting focused on the most important issues.

Encourages prioritization

Big projects almost always present a tangle of issues, such as cost, speed, available human resources, and time to completion. The SWOT analysis template can highlight issues context decision-makers might otherwise overlook, providing insights to aid prioritization. For example, a team might initially view a small budget as a weakness or an obstacle. If they juxtapose the cost of the project against its revenue potential, they may decide that the upside is worth the expense.

Featured products:

Jira Software

Jira Software the leading project management tool used by high-performing software development teams—makes it easy to conduct a SWOT analysis with a diagramming tool like Gliffy as an alternative to a template.

Confluence whiteboard

Confluence whiteboard, a convenient new beta feature within Confluence, is another great alternative to a SWOT analysis template.  Whiteboard lets you convert sticky notes into both Jira issues and Confluence pages without ever leaving its interface. It’s the perfect end-to-end system for brainstorming, visualizing, and transforming ideas into actions.

How to use the SWOT analysis template

Step 1. Identify strengths and weaknesses

The internal factors include the team's or company's strengths and weaknesses and how they might affect project outcomes. Examples of strengths might be an experienced team, an ample budget for project expenses, or a lack of competing priorities. Weaknesses might include high costs or an unsupportive board of directors.

Step 2. Identify opportunities and threats

The external factors include the opportunities and threats presented by the larger marketplace. These are considerations beyond the company’s control. Examples of opportunities are a market gap, low interest rates, or trends to leverage. Threats might include a competitor who has launched a similar product, a new technology with the potential to replace your service or a sluggish real-estate market.

Step 3. Conduct a SWOT analysis

You can analyze the results after entering the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats into the SWOT template. This is the perfect time to assemble stakeholders and start brainstorming. Use the SWOT analysis as a starting point for comparing alternatives or for discussing the pros and cons of a project proposal.

Step 4. Organize your SWOT analysis output

After the group discussion, compile a list of ideas and suggestions. Create a list of action items and enter them into Jira. Finally, map the action items to measurable OKRs for the next quarter(s).

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