A gap analysis template is a visual strategic analysis tool that provides a chart that lays out a broad framework of information for comparing actual performance with desired or potential performance. It’s useful for any business or organization, both private and government-run, for comparing the present state with the future state with an accurate chart to show employees and supervisors where the company is today and where problems in resource use exist.
A gap analysis is an internal analysis chart that shows which actions will bridge the gap between the current state and the desired state for making plans of how to get there.
A well-written gap analysis is something that can be made into a template that guides you in planning one for your organization. Here are some examples that are in both Word and PDF format to give you an idea of how to proceed in developing your own.
Gap Analysis Template
- MS Excel
Skills Gap Analysis Template
- MS Word
Gap Analysis Template for Software
Gap Analysis Report
Example of a Gap Analysis Report
- Date of the report
- Establish ideal future status. This section describes where the company would be if everything goes according to a strategic plan
- Analysis of the current situation. This identifies where the company is in its current sate along with the causes that are related to falling short of the desired state.
- Comparison of present state with the ideal state. This section discusses the deviation from the actual present state with the desired state with facts and figures as applicable.
- Summary Recommendations. This section of the gap report details the steps that must be followed to fix the problems leading to the gap between desired outcomes and current outcomes. This is an area that summarizes ideas for bridging the gap to create a strategic plan to begin work on making necessary improvements to achieve the desired future goal.
For Business Analysis
- MS Excel
Project Management Gap Analysis
In short terms, gap analysis is a process that a project manager uses to compare actual performance versus expected performance. Any organization is going to profit a lot from this, regardless of if a company is meeting expectations or using its resources in a good way. It is used to identify strengths and weaknesses. Project managers use it to find issues and to communicate them to move forward creating better processes. It also shows all activities to stakeholders.
Creating a Project Management Gap Analysis
- Describe the general area. This step focuses on general areas to be analyzed and improved. It highlights areas under investigation as well as other areas not being investigated and helps maintain the focus on negative. It includes areas where work is progressing as expected and those areas where it is not.
- Identify Specific Improvement Areas. This section identifies specific areas within the general area you described in the first step. It targets areas in need of enhancement by explaining areas that need improvement, which improvements are recommended, and how these improvements will move the project to its desired outcome.
- Determine Targets. In this step, benchmarks are established, often using the performance of a competitor to set them. This shows areas of underperformance and those most frequently targeted for improvement in this part of the general area.
- Determine Current State. This section shows where the group is in its progress in real-time. It shows a comparison between the current state and the desired state to show the differences, so everyone knows that things need to change.
- Determine Action Steps. This is the section that highlights the action plan that will bridge the gap between the desired state and the current state. It includes priorities for acts that will achieve the largest return on investment, and it considers the most critical gaps first to target the most important, then move towards the least important.
Blood Gap Analysis
Gap Analysis Excel
- MS Excel
Customer Gap Analysis
A customer gap analysis is used to analyze the current status of customer perceptions of customer service and the customer expectations which are not being met. It is a tool that identifies the current expectations, the degree to which the company is meeting them, and any gaps between expectations and the current realities. This tool is useful for identifying areas where performance to meet customer expectations can be improved. Here is a 5-step model for developing a customer gap analysis.
- Knowledge Gap. This is an acknowledgment of the difference between customer expectations and the current service the company provides. When management doesn’t know precisely what customers expect, it’s important to identify the reasons. These are usually lack of interaction between customers and management, lack of communication between service employees and management, insufficient relationship focus, not enough market research and failure to listen to customer complaints.
- Policy Gap. Identify the difference between management’s understanding of customer needs and desires and how this translates into the policies and standards set for service delivery. Common reasons are lack of customer service standards, poorly defined service levels and failure to update service level standards regularly.
- The Delivery Gap. Identify the difference between service delivery policies and standards and the actual delivery of the service. Common reasons are lack of teamwork on service delivery, employee lack of knowledge of products/services, failure to match supply and demand, and deficiencies in human resources policies.
- The Communication Gap. Identify where gaps in communication occur. This is what the company promises customers in advertising and what is actually delivered. This happens due to a lack of communication between operations and advertising, thinking external communications are separate from what’s happening internally, and overpromising.
- The Customer Gap. This is the difference between customer expectations and customer perceptions. Customers don’t always understand how the service has helped them and they may misinterpret the quality of service.
- Action Plan. Comparing current perceptions, expectations of customers with current level of service to identify gaps and develop an action plan for bridging the gaps.
Business Process Gap Analysis
Example of Gap Analysis Template
Gap Analysis Explained
Gap Analysis Application
How To Perform A Gap Analysis (4 Steps Process)
Performing a gap analysis isn’t necessarily a difficult process, but there are a few things that are vital to creating a truly useful and accurate tool. Here are a few things that you need to consider and commit to before you begin.
- Be honest about deficiencies. One of the hardest things to admit is a failure in any area, but the purpose of a gap performance is to show the real picture. This takes brutal honesty about aspects of an organization that are not working as well as they could. This is the only way to create an effective gap analysis and even if it’s painful, tackle the task with total honesty about the current state and don’t try to present the facts in a more positive light.
- Be honest about your strengths. A gap analysis leaves no room for humility about accomplishments. It’s just as important to present the positive aspects of your business as it is the negative ones. Understanding what is working well can help you to focus on the negative aspects that need your full attention. This helps you to avoid applying a fix to an aspect that shouldn’t be changed.
- Be realistic. Almost every business or organization has certain constraints. As you near the completion of your gap analysis process, you will begin to set goals for the future. Bear in mind any legitimate limitations and set goals that are realistic and pragmatic. They must be achievable goals.
- Be Specific. An effective gap analysis is specific and to the point. It is free of vague statements and intangible outcomes. Make every part of your gap analysis direct, to the point, and clearly stated. Include the current state, desired future state, and action plan. Include a combination of qualitative and quantitative measures applied to the current and future states. Review the gap analysis after completing the initial draft. Does it bring up questions in your mind? If so, there may be some areas that can be better written to provide greater clarity.
Once You Have Filled Out the Gap Analysis
- Review and Revise. The gap analysis must be free of human error before you distribute it to workers. Human error is a given in most cases and you should assume that there are going to be mistakes in the first draft or two. Whenever you transfer information from one place to another the likelihood of mistakes, even small ones, which can make a big difference is high. Seasoned professionals make mistakes to review and inspect the gap analysis looking for errors. Pay attention to the titles to ensure they’re correct and well-worded. Double-check any suspected inaccuracies against the original files that the information has been retrieved from and correct all errors.
- Format to a 2-Page Maximum. A gap analysis is easiest to read when it is created in a concise and accurate form that is no more than two pages. This allows the reader to ingest the information and to work it out in his or her mind more easily. Flipping back and forth through too many pages is distracting, so shoot for a condensed and concise document.
- Print the Sheet in Portrait Form. Portrait form is the best format for a gap analysis because it provides a wider document for the proper display of the columns. There is less chance of distortion of the columns and rows. It more distinctly aligns the numbers and it is easier to read. It also reduces eye strain which helps the reader to maintain a better focus on the numbers being read. The landscape format puts more strain on the eyes so go with the better choice of the two.
- Double-check the numbers. Layout the gap chart in a meaningful way that accurately shows the numbers that are included. Take a look at the design and how the chart or spreadsheet is presented. Can you accurately see numbers that strike you as being odd? Are they easy to find? Will your colleagues be able to easily identify them? The document should scan well and the numbers must be laid out in a way that makes sense to the reader.
- Limit the Number of Colors You Use. The use of colors vs plain black and white can highlight key points, but using too many colors can become distracting. Use colors that are not flashy so they’re easier on the eyes. Use a dull, light color for the background with dark text, or dark background with light text for contrast, but keep the colors to a minimum.
- Respect Authority. Make extra copies of the gap analysis and have someone look it over before you distribute it to others. It’s always a good idea to have someone else review the document to ensure that it is accurate and on point. This will make your work more credible. If you proceed with a gap analysis that has inconsistencies, the document will serve as proof of your inefficiencies and it could result in others not taking you seriously.
- Bold Important Digits. In a gap analysis there are certain areas that need to have attention drawn to them. The best way to ensure that others see their importance is to display them in bold print. Italicizing them can also create a sense of importance. This also makes the document easier to read and draws attention to important points or figures.
- Create a Digital Version. It’s always a good idea to have a digital version of a gap analysis. Whether you create the first draft on paper or through a computer program, a digital version is more professional in its appearance, plus, this gives you a backup to the hard copies. You can print more off as needed, or make any necessary revisions on the computer. It’s also a good way to store the gap analysis for future use as a historical document.
Benefits of a Gap Analysis
- A gap analysis is a reality check. A gap analysis makes you see the current state of the company and compare it to the desired state. It shows you the gaps that exist between where you are today, where you want to be in the future, and it provides a clear and structured outline that includes an action plan to bridge the gap between your current status and the desired status.
- A gap analysis puts everyone on the same page. A gap analysis provides a framework for collaboration for building a strategic plan in a team setting. It solves the problems of multiple people with different ideas and approaches to problem-solving by forcing people to answer specific questions involved in strategic planning during the early stages of the process.
- A gap analysis is an analysis tool for historical performance. A gap analysis captures the details of the current state of your business in qualitative and quantitative expressions. The first gap analysis sets a baseline that can be referred to in the years to come, to show the history of the status of the business and it can serve as a baseline for setting benchmarks for performance for future gap analysis processes.
When Not to Use a Gap Analysis
It is important to fully understand what a gap analysis is to be used for and what it cannot do for your business. This tool is used by businesses as a technique for figuring out what steps must be taken to move forward from a current state to a more desirable future state. A gap analysis lists characteristic factors including attributes, competencies, and performance levels identified in the current situation. It also lists the factors that need to be implemented to achieve future goals and objectives for the business. This tool highlights the gaps that exist so you can determine the appropriate actions required to get there. This is a tool for reflection on who the company is and what they desire to be in the future. It’s not applicable to every problem that an organization faces and there are limitations to its usefulness.
- A gap analysis cannot show complexities of the problem. This tool cannot show specifically who is under-performing. It simply shows current performance levels and compares them to desired performance levels.
- A gap analysis is a time-sensitive tool. Once a gap analysis is filled out and printed it shows the current status of business until actions are taken to make changes. When performance variations occur, such as an increase in production, or a decrease, the current status is no longer applicable. It gives you a snapshot in time. It can be referred to until natural changes within an organization change the current status. From this point on it must be referred to as a historic reference that gives you a picture of performance in the past. This is a tool that must be used immediately after it is completed, or it could quickly become outdated.
Why Use a Gap Analysis Template?
- Enhance customer satisfaction by identifying gaps in service to fix the problems
- Gain a competitive advantage over other businesses by surpassing customer expectations as identified by the gap analysis
- A gap analysis tool shows the difference between employee perceptions and reality to enhance customer satisfaction by bridging the identified gaps. This tool is a reality check that is laid out in a visual form.
- A gap analysis lays out the facts clearly and, in a way, that everyone can understand
- A gap analysis can be used in any business or organization across all industries to identify aspects where improvements in performance are needed. It’s a universal problem and solution identification tool.
- A gap analysis is useful for developing employee benefits programs.
This is a four-step process that includes defining your focus area, to set boundaries, and define the scope of the analysis. This could include financial growth, customer excellence, innovation, employee happiness, community impact, technology, or some other key areas of the company. Choose 3-4 key areas to focus upon. The second step is to identify your desired future state. This sets the desired outcomes and it sets a goal to work towards before you determine the current state. The third step is to assess your current state for the key aspects of focus with total honesty to know exactly where you are today. The fourth step is to select specific measures for each focus area, which are performance aspects that can be measured. This is where you establish a baseline for how things are working today, and it allows you to measure the gap to build a strategy for bridging that gap. This can be laid out in a format that provides sections for focus areas that are relevant to your business and saved in a Word or PDF format.
A gap analysis is tailored to be unique for your business. Start by identifying the areas that you want to analyze and determine the goals you want to accomplish. Next, state the ideal future state for this aspect. The third step is to analyze the current state of your business. Next, compare the current state with the ideal state, describe the gap between the two, and quantify the differences. This gives you the basic information you need to proceed to the action plan for bridging the gap.
A gap analysis focuses on key aspects of a business in their current state and compares them with a desired future state to identify gaps between how things are going now and how you want them to be in the future.