Gap analysis is a method of comparing the actual level of performance versus the desired level of performance for a business process, project, strategy or IT solution.
Gap analysis, sometimes referred to as “needs analysis” or “needs assessment,” is an important tool for determining business requirements and assessing whether business requirements are being met. Vital to strategic planning, gap analysis can be leveraged to identify performance gaps in policies, processes, technology, and strategies, and to determine how to bridge those gaps going forward.
There are six key steps to conducting an effective gap analysis.
When performing a gap analysis, documentation is crucial. As such, most gap analyses begin with a template in which elements of the gap analysis are displayed in columns. Common elements for gap analysis templates include: the item (or process or team member) being analyzed, the item’s current state, the item’s desired state, existing gaps, action items, task assignee(s), priorities, dependencies, task status, and other considerations.
Various gap analysis tools exist that can make lighter work of gap analysis. These tools ensure that gap analysis is done right and nothing falls through the cracks. These are four of the most commonly used tools:
Project management, process improvement, and business transformation teams within small to large businesses will often use gap analysis and related reports when determining the optimal allocation of resources. Gap analysis reports assist company leaders and key stakeholders in understanding any operational gaps that may exist in various areas of the business. Reports should include the identification of gaps, the roadmap to resolving each issue, the impacts and risks of each issue and its remediation, the progress being made, and the final outcome of any resolutions. In essence, it is a barometer for operational inefficiencies.
As a widely adopted mechanism to identify gaps in performance, businesses continue to leverage gap analysis to transform various aspects of their operations and provide a higher degree of value to stakeholders.
This story, “What is gap analysis? Uncovering the missing links to successful performance” was originally published by