Analysis of the status quo is done by referring to the results of relevant research, evaluations or other evidence and in consultation with the stakeholders. Situational analysis is a key diagnosis tool.
A situational analysis gives broad information about the institution’s internal and external environment and must provide the context for implementation of the planned initiatives during the five-year planning period. Government uses specific tools for situational or diagnostic analysis. These are primarily the following:
Scenario planning is one of the tools government institutions use as part of their planning processes. It can be used for medium to long-term planning or in preparation for a new planning cycle and is often appropriate for developing a situational or diagnostic analysis.
The Problem Tree tool, sometimes referred to as Problem Analysis, assists the search for solutions by mapping out the structure of the problem. It looks upstream at causes and determinants and downstream at consequences and effects. Once completed, the Problem Tree can be translated into a Solution Tree.
SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and PESTEL (political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal) analyses are widely used and well known planning tools and are used to identify key external and internal factors that must be taken into consideration during a situational analysis process. They highlight key issues relating to the context of a project, initiative, programme or organisation which, if not identified and addressed, could critically affect the chances of success.
The Fishbone tool is a cause-and-effect analysis method used to identify the likely cause of a problem. It seeks to identify factors which do not contribute to the core problem; eliminate problems beyond the institution’s control; decide on the most important problems to solve; decide on information gaps which require research; and design a solution. A Fishbone diagram identifies many possible causes for an effect or problem and can be used to structure a brainstorming session.