A gap analysis is process that compares actual state or performance of any company with their desired or future state. The method provides the series of actions that identifies missing strategies, processes, practices, capabilities, skill, technologies etc. and then suggest the solution that will be helping to complete desired goals of company. It is very useful tool to play part of internal analysis of any company.

By comparing the present state with a required desired state, organizations can determine what they require to focus on to achieve better results and decide right pathway quickly. Gap analysis techniques can also be used to elevate individual or team performance and can analyze attributes such as productivity level and task competency.

Gap analyses techniques works like, when applied to production or manufacturing industries, it can help to balance the integration and allotment of resources from their present allocation level closer to optimum level. When applied to business processes, it turns into the reporting process that used for improvement.

Benefits of Gap Analysis Techniques

One major benefit of gap analysis techniques is that it forces us to think about present state, desired future state, the gaps between these two states, and recommend very clear action plan and structured form.

It further offers a framework for workers to collaborate at first stage of developing a strategic plan. However, engaging multiple workers can be challenging tasks in strategic planning because of numerous approaches or opinion can be incompatible sometimes. This can be solved by gap analysis questionnaire, by asking workers to answer specific questions that can be compiled into the cohesive strategic plan.

Following, gap analysis techniques can be applied to analyze historical performance. For the first time when you use a gap analysis process, it will very clearly capture the present state of your system. That determines that next time when you use a gap analysis, you must adopt baseline against that to benchmark your recent performance.

Five Steps to Perform a Gaps Analysis Process

Performing a gap analysis shouldn’t be hard, however there are a few things you should take into consideration before conducting it:

  • Be truthful about your deficiencies: It is hard to accept your own failures, but to perform a gap analysis effectively, you should be brutally truthful about the things which are not working in your company.
  • Be sincere with your strengths: Try to assess the positive aspect of your work to help you focus on the negative ones.
  • Be realistic: After the gap analysis, you will require setting future goals. These goals must be realistic and pragmatic.
  • Be specific: During every stage of a gap analysis (present state, desired goals, and action plan) you must avoid vague comments and intangible results.

After passing above points you will feel comfortable carrying on with your gap analysis, following are five steps as one of the gap analysis techniques that can be used:

Select your focus areas

Before starting the gap analysis, it is important to limit your boundaries (define the scope). It can be from any production, business, or individual process that defines the scope the gap analysis needs to cover. Being specific will make it clear and get better results from the gap analysis technique.

Analyze and determine current state

Before heading to next step, you must know what’s current state of the scope you are analysing. In this stage you require to find out current state which can be obtained by reviewing documents, reports, performing interviews, conducting brainstorming sessions, etc. collect as much data as possible to clarify current state.

Set your future state goals

Remembering the goals set up in previous step, by accomplishing these goals will support you to reach the future state or desired targets that you want to achieve for your process or organization.

Identify the gaps and evaluate solutions

Following on from step 2 and 3, you will get list or number of gaps that is required to close in order to accomplish our desired future goals. Now is the time to apply specific measures to solve identified gaps. Here are some tips to choose relevant KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) as part of the continuous improvement:

  • Select KPI’s that could be measured and decide approach of your measurement.
  • Select KPI’s that you have control over, so that it will be easy to measure the gap which needs to be bridged.
  • Select KPI’s that defines the performance of the process or business.

Develop action plan of a gap analysis

Final stage is developing a gap analysis action plan. In this stage, you will formulate particular action plan in which you provide the continuous measurements to address the gaps. It can be series of systems for each of your targeted areas. Define how and when they are to be completed.