Sunday, October 10, 2010

Strength-Weakness-Opportunity-Threat

"Strength-Weakness-Opportunity-Threat": SWOT. We've all heard and read the words a hundred times.

In a little communication with a student the other day, as instructor I was offered these risk events as examples of things that go bump in a project. The student asked for help with the SWOT categories:
1) Last minute been advised network cables aren’t functioning at new site, when I have teams sitting at airport to go over and complete migration
2) Train strike in UK during Migration
3) Employer releases SME shortly before implementation.
4) Employer pulled funding for travel for implementation
5) Network lines delayed for months
6) Traders and Liquidity providers not signing off on legal agreements.

So, here's the way I responded:

Weakness in project plan or execution: 1), 3), 4)
Threat from external events not under project control: 2), 5), 6)

Without more information, maybe 1) and 5) go together, but it sounded like the cables were a provided item by another contractor or authority

There's not much to do 2), but maybe a better 360-situational awareness would have afforded the opportunity to get somebody going on mitigating 5) and 6). And of course, the program manager is on the hook for mitigating a weak plan as evidenced in 1), 3), 4).

Summary: except for 2), the program manager had some responsibility on the other five, even though some threats were out of the project's control.

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