"SWOT Analysis, is a strategic planning tool used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving that objective. The technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led a research project at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using data from the Fortune 500 companies.
If a clear objective has been identified, SWOT analysis can be used to help in the pursuit of that objective. In this case, SWOTs are:
Strengths: attributes of the organization that are helpful to achieving the objective.
Weaknesses: attributes of the organization that are harmful to achieving the objective.
Opportunities: external conditions that are helpful to achieving the objective.
Threats: external conditions that are harmful to achieving the objective.
Creative Use of SWOTs.--- If, on the other hand, the objective seems attainable, the SWOTs are used as inputs to the creative generation of possible strategies, by asking and answering each of the following four questions, many times:
1. How can we Use each Strength?
2. How can we Stop each Weakness?
3. How can we Exploit each Opportunity?
4. How can we Defend against each Threat?
Ideally a cross-functional team or a task force that represents a broad range of perspectives should carry out the SWOT analysis. For example, a SWOT team may include an accountant, a salesperson, an executive manager, an engineer, and an ombudsman. " to find out more...
Passage from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWOT_analysis