A simple concept
Really a very simple concept; I’m on first base, because I can see the scoreboard and the referees agree. I want to get to home plate, and along the way, I’ll need some help. Whether that comes directly from the opposing team in the form of a balk, walk, an error, a player hit by a pitch or just bad pitching or from fellow teammates in exceptional hitting or base stealing. In any event, where I have control, I need to work on those processes to make sure that if the opportunity arises, I can capitalize on it.
So in GAP Analysis, we have the extant company and the company in the future, let’s say company 2.0. Am I at the ideal? That is a simple yes or no. Moreover, that may work fine for some GAP Analysis projects. It can be a great bubble sort of your issues. For those who never took a programming course, a method compares two items and sorts them based on a criteria. The sort goes through the entire data set until you have those that match the criteria and those that don’t. It is considered slow and inefiectint, but it does work. We can call this type of GAP Analysis a binary GAP Analysis as a quick GAP Analysis.
A little more complicated
For a deeper more efficient and informational GAP Analysis I like to modify the binary aspect and remove, the “Yes” and “No” feature and use the integer scale of 0 to 10. There are only two ways to get a zero, you don’t do a specific process, and this zero really should be scored as a not applicable (N/A) or you failed to do a process that you should. In comparison, very few processes get a 10, because nothing is truly perfect.
So why would I give a 10? The reason would be the antithesis of a zero, in that there are only two results, it’s done or it’s not. An example is that you need to file a tax document by the 25th of a given month. You don’t get extra credit if it’s early, however you do get a penalty if it’s late. Therefore, if you file by the 25th, you’d get a 10, after the 25th, a zero. Actually in this case, the scale has a “Y”/”N” attribute to clarify the methodology.
Therefore, our scale should be 0 to 10 plus “Y” and “N”. So why bother? Because now you can see where on a linear scale your processes are doing. It is much easier to tackle and see improvement when the score is low, than when the score is high. From both a percentage basis and the sheer amount of what can get fixed, the low scorers will probably provide both quicker roads to productivity increases, lower costs and better internal PR.
Remember, in order to properly do any GAP Analysis you have to have a known where are we today (business process mapping) and where you want to be in the future (business strategy, planning and functional requirements). GAP Analysis can be done successfully without a thoughtful and compressive determination of these two aspects.
If you were indeed executing plans at improving processes, how else would you know whether the plans were successful? Using GAP Analysis to gauge progress of a project is another use of GAP Analysis.
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So when was the last time you did GAP Analysis (either a quick one or the more complex version)?