Get racey with the swots

problem RACI SWOTBefore I unleash my Three Laws of Indienomics, some more vocabulary. I want to explain some term used a lot in project management / business / management consulting (spot the day job!): RACI (pronounced Ray-Cee) and SWOT (pronounced as you would expect).

I’ll explain what they are (briefly) and why they are relevant.


This is RACI in a few sentences, if you want more read the wiki article linked above. The idea is to look at who is involved in a task in a process. Their are other models, but this is enough for my purposes. The letters are:

  • Responsible: Who does the work?
  • Accountable: Who gets the blame if things go wrong?
  • Consulted: Who can you ask for input?
  • Informed: Who do you have to tell?

This is important as the use of responsible and accountable is subtle but important. For an indie publisher you are your business (as per the Zeroth Law of Indienomics). This means you are accountable for everything. You don’t have to do everything, you can buy in services but that means losing control and risks of delay, never mind adding cost.

As to consult you should be building a network of peers who can advise or even mentor (I will be posting about finding / being a mentor at some stage). The final one, inform, is where you market your writing. Like many writers I blog and tweet as part of my inform activities.


While I talk about business language, and define terms the way I intend to use them, I thought I’d touch on SWOT. Many people have heard of this and most have some idea of what it mean. When I train problem solving it still surprises me how many don’t have a clear separation of concepts, or are unable to explain.

It is simpler than might be imagined.

SWOT gridTake a grid (like the one to the left!) and you may have to click on to see it clearly.

There are two places we need to label – internal and external. Things are either good or bad (ok positive or negative, or any language you wish). The resultant 2×2 grid (yes I’m a consultant!) gives simple, unambiguous and non-overlapping definitions:

  • Strength: something internal and positive
  • Weakness: something internal and negative
  • Opportunity: something external and positive
  • Threat: something external and negative.

I could wax lyrical about all these — I will save it for a future post.

The relevance

As the CEO of your indi-publishing business, you need to be efficient. You need to look at your strengths and everything you can’t do, you need to find someone who can. You also need to find others to help and need to find how to do that efficiently. You can go old-school and buy in everything you need as products or services, but that isn’t the world of indienomics. I suspect many indie authors want to be careful where the spend money and balance initial investment against low initial sales.

I might be wrong — let me know!



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