SOAR (not SWOT) Analysis
As I’ve discussed before, the retrospective meeting is the last in the sprint cycle, a time for the team to reflect on their performance in terms of process rather than product. I like retros because they are a built in opportunity for reflection and there are so many activities you can do to keep reflection fresh.
Doing a retrospective on the last academic year or the last run of a course can be a great tool before you start planning for the new year. Most of us know the standard SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats. I don’t believe SWOT is a good retro activity because it really isn’t about process. It’s more about profit really.
So instead I recommend a SOAR analysis – strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results. Let’s break that down for a specific course retrospective:
- Strengths – what readings, assignments, activities, etc. were most effective the last time you ran the course?
- Opportunities – Where in the course are their opportunities for improvement, maybe a different unit or assignment that could be upgraded?
- Aspirations – What is your vision for the course in the future?
- Results – What heuristic can you use to measure how successful you are in building on strengths and opportunities to achieve your aspirations?
This worksheet from the libraries at the University of Missouri offers a very detailed set of questions to encourage you for each aspect of the analysis.