Developing a Strategic Plan for a Program in Communication
Sciences and Disorders
Understanding Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and
What is a SWOT Analysis?
SWOT analysis is an effective way of identifying a
program's Strengths and Weaknesses, and of examining the
Opportunities and Threats the program faces. Carrying out an
analysis using the SWOT framework helps to focus program
activities into areas where the program is strong and where the
greatest opportunities lie. Carrying out a SWOT analysis will be
helpful both in terms of pointing out what needs to be done, and
in putting problems into perspective.
How to do a SWOT Analysis
To carry out a SWOT Analysis, write down answers to the
- What advantages does the program have?
- What do you do well?
- What relevant resources do you have access to?
- What do other people see as your strengths?
Consider this from your own point of view and from the point
of view of the people you deal with. Be realistic. In looking at
your strengths, think about them in relation to your
- What could you improve?
- What do you do badly?
- What should you avoid?
Again, consider this from an internal and external basis: Do
other people seem to perceive weaknesses that you do not see? Are
your competitors doing any better than you? It is best to be
realistic now and face any unpleasant truths as soon as
- Where are the good opportunities facing you?
- What are the interesting trends you are aware of?
A useful approach to looking at opportunities is to look at
your strengths and ask yourself whether these open up any
opportunities. Alternatively, look at your weaknesses and ask
yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating
- What obstacles do you face?
- What is your competition doing?
- Are the requirements for your program changing?
- Is program funding a problem?
- Are changing demographics threatening your program?
- Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your
By looking both inside and outside of your program for things
that could damage your program, you may be better able to see the
big picture and deal with threats in a timely manner.