Gap analysis is the technique to identify the area of improvement in any process ranging from Business to technology. The areas of improvement doesn’t necessarily mean any new enhancement, it is either about finding a gap between what is expected and what is really done. Gap analysis is not a tool for IT or Engineering but it can also be used to implement any business processes or strategies that are implicit to be improving soon.
Gap analysis doesn’t have to have any specific template or any standard model however, any artifact which reflects the differences between what is now and what it should really be in an organized way. This gap analysis technique is being used by almost all the businesses without knowing what this approach is really called. The beauty of Strategically Gap analysis is that it is not a certificate or any affiliate or compliance document rather is it a traceability strategy to improve the process with a perfect monitoring system.
Now, as we now understand what Is gap analysis, What is left to understand is where really this analysis comes into play during Business Analysis. Well, there is no distinct time when this should be done but the good thing is that we can work on gap analysis as soon as we have two things to compare against. The first thing is the current state and the next thing is the future or expected state of the improvement. Take a situation when a Business Analyst work as an Enterprise BA and he is working on a Project plan. Now, as the project plan gets extended into high level requirement document then this a perfect time when you will have both current state and the future state. An Enterprise BA will then compare that Project Plan with the Higher Level requirements, which is also called gap analysis and try to find out what are the gaps that BA missed to include in the requirements. This is a chance for all Business Analysts to protect their responsibility and they themselves; just what they need to do is to create GAP Documents proactively. Not to mention that 75% projects fail due to wrong or missing requirements. No one can really take that responsibility to mislead any project.
In short, Gap analysis is an analytical and strategical process to identify the missing details or gaps in a document or process when we have both current and future state identified. It doesn’t have to be only the project documents for Gap Analysis nor it only have to be done by Business Analyst. Anyone who wants to proactively monitor and improve the process/system/policies or even the corporate strategies and cultures can use this ultimate technique to keep you into right track.
Refer to article “Bonus: Quick Tips on Gap Analysis” for additional tips on performing Gap Analysis and refer to article “Efficient Way of Performing Gap Analysis” for additional help on how to easily create a gap analysis document.