Closing the Gap: A 5-Step Practical Guide to Gap Analysis With a Free Template From Whiteboards

Closing the Gap: A 5-Step Practical Guide to Gap Analysis With a Free Template From Whiteboards

In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive business environment, organizations must constantly seek ways to improve their current performance and achieve their strategic objectives. One valuable approach that helps in identifying gaps in current processes and aligns businesses in reaching their target state is gap analysis.

This powerful method allows companies to recognize areas for improvement, bridge the discrepancies, and optimize the actual performance gaps. It assesses the gaps for the entire business and enables leaders and managers to spot growth opportunities, make more informed decisions, and prioritize initiatives.

In this article, we will present you how you can conduct a gap analysis process on Whiteboards to clearly understand where your company stands now and where it aspires to be. Perform a gap analysis on the infinite canvas that deeply integrates with Jira so you can create and manage Jira issues in one digital space without ever leaving

What is a gap analysis?

A gap analysis is a strategic process that businesses undertake to evaluate the difference between the current state of the company and the desired future state. Some of the gap analysis examples include identifying market, product, or performance gaps. It involves specifying areas of improvement, inefficiencies, or discrepancies that hinder the organization from achieving business goals. Conducting a thorough examination of the relevant data provides valuable insights into the existing company’s strategy and helps create a roadmap for bridging the gaps.

Gap analysis serves as a diagnostic tool to uncover all internal and external factors that cause the misalignment between where an organization is and where it wants to be. However, it goes way beyond just identifying challenges or problems; it also highlights opportunities for growth or changes in the business processes. Through the gap analysis framework, you can gain a deeper understanding of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, and areas for potential development.

The process of conducting a gap analysis typically involves several key steps. Firstly, organizations must define their strategic objectives and establish a clear vision of what they want to achieve. This step provides a benchmark against which the current state can be evaluated.

Secondly, gather data from various sources to get a holistic view of the company culture, operations, performance, and competitive landscape. Consider taking a look at the organization’s internal documents, performance metrics, market research, customer feedback, or industry best practices.

Once you collect your data points, the next step is to analyze and compare the actual performance of your organization with the desired future state. Such comparison helps identify gaps and discrepancies that need to be addressed and create a solid plan to reach the desired outcome. The differences that emerge may be related to current processes, skills, technology, customer satisfaction, fundamental components, market share, or any other aspects relevant to your business.

After identifying existing gaps, the organization should develop an action plan to close them effectively. It should outline specific strategies, initiatives, and timelines for implementation and therefore meeting expectations. Strategic gap analysis may help you understand how to allocate resources, improve performance, invest in new learning paths for your employees, adopt new technologies, or adjust business processes.

Overall, gap analyses empower organizations and businesses to make more informed decisions, set priorities right, and manage their assets cautiously and effectively. They serve as a valuable tool to measure performance, drive continuous improvement, and ensure long-term success in today’s dynamic and extremely competitive business landscape.

What are the benefits of the gap analysis process?

In the ever-evolving business environment, companies are constantly seeking ways to stay ahead of the competition, adapt to changes, and attain desired performance. By examining the current and desired states of your organization, you can get valuable gap data and optimize your processes. These, however, are not the only benefits that the gap analyses shed light on.

The four key benefits of gap analysis are as follows:

  • Enhanced strategic decision-making

By conducting a gap analysis, you can get a deeper understanding of your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, or threats. This insight empowers decision-makers to prioritize initiatives with respect to the findings and allocate resources more cautiously.

With a clear picture of where the gaps lie, project management becomes more structured and decisions address critical areas, resulting in focused actions, improved outcomes, and meeting business requirements. To make sure you properly identify the current state of your business, consider using also the SWOT Analysis template designed by Whiteboards.

SWOT analysis helps you analyze the internal and external factors that impact your business. By listing out your company’s strengths and weaknesses, you can identify opportunities for growth, implement needed technology, or respond to recent trends to keep up the pace of changing market reality. Use the SWOT analysis method to brainstorm where you’re at and master strategic planning.

  • Alignment with business objectives

Gap analysis serves as a compass that guides organizations toward aligning their operations with strategic objectives. By comparing the current state to the desired future state, you can identify gaps that hinder your progress.

Use a gap analysis process to ensure that your efforts and initiatives are channeled toward areas that contribute most to achieving your strategic goals. By bridging the identified gaps, you can align on business goals, shared values, and sufficient resources to maximize the company’s potential for success.

  • Improved efficiency and effectiveness

The opportunity to improve the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness is another key benefit of gap analysis. Identifying areas of weakness, inefficiency, or underutilized resources can help businesses develop a targeted action plan that will help improve performance and streamline processes.

Whether it’s smoothing the business process, filling in the gaps in human resources, or adopting innovative technologies, gap analysis can help you address the root causes of inefficiencies. This results in improved productivity, reduced market gap, or more streamlined and Agile operations.

  • Proactive approach to fixing problems

Gap analysis allows organizations to find areas of improvement in their workflows in a proactive way. This means that you can use a gap analysis to anticipate shifts in the market, customer demands, or industry trends. Product gap analysis, skills gap analysis, or performance gap analysis will force you to get ahead and make necessary changes before problems get worse.

By embracing change and leveraging insights gained from gap analysis, you can stay ahead of the curve and change the current performance. Such foresight enables proactive strategic planning and adaptation while also minimizing disruption and maximizing opportunities.

What are the types of gap analysis?

We can distinguish many types of gap analyses. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones in closer detail:

  • Performance gap analysis

Performance gap analysis helps organizations identify the disparities between the current and desired state of their company and its outcomes. Defining and comparing specific objectives with existing data can help you identify gaps. You can, for instance, set clear financial goals to reach before the end of the fiscal year or gain a certain number of paid customers in a selected timeframe. Then, you can further explore root causes to develop an action plan for improvements and ensure continuous progress.

The first step of this type of gap analysis is to define the desired performance objectives. These objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, if the average response time is twice as long as the desired target, a performance gap exists in the customer support area.

SMART Goals template on
SMART Goals template on

The identified gap (or gaps) can represent the performance of your employees or company against the competitors. Understanding the underlying factors contributing to the gaps is crucial for devising effective improvement strategies.

With a clear understanding of the performance gaps and their causes, organizations can develop action plans to close those gaps. These action plans may involve promoting individual employees, providing additional training to employees, or adopting new tools or services to speed up the workflows. It is important to prioritize actions based on their potential impact and feasibility.

  • Product gap analysis

Product gap analysis (also known as market gap analysis) is a valuable process that enables organizations to spot the discrepancies between their existing products or services and customer expectations. By conducting a gap analysis focusing on the product, businesses can gain valuable insights into areas where their offerings fall short. This allows them to make more informed decisions regarding product improvements and development and boost customer satisfaction.

Organizations must get a thorough understanding of the needs and expectations of their customers. This involves conducting market research, gathering customer feedback, or analyzing industry trends. That way, you can find the gaps in your current features, understand customer preferences, and what they actually desire.

Armed with the knowledge of customer needs and existing product gaps, organizations can then develop strategies for service enhancement or development. This may involve introducing new features, improving quality, adjusting pricing, or even expanding product lines to better align with customer preferences. By closing product gaps and delivering on customer expectations, organizations can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty and gain a competitive edge in the market.

  • HR gap analysis

The human resources gap analysis (HR gap analysis for short) helps you measure the existing workforce in your company in relation to the amount of work to be performed. Thanks to this type of gap analysis, you can analyze the capacity and size of your teams and take further steps regarding staffing or budgeting. It is also sometimes called a skills gap analysis or workforce gap analysis.

Start the gap analysis by reviewing the professional skills of your employees and their workload. Make notes of the experience level of each of your employees to fully understand what they bring to the table and what’s still missing. By the end of the analysis, you should have a list of required job openings that could help the organization reach its goals in a much smoother manner.

Consider representing the structure on the Organization Chart template to get a visual view of all your employees and their roles in your company. This chart should help you identify in which employee training you should invest or how you should restructure your workforce. The process will make it clear who’s on the team and who’s still needed, whether it’s business analysts, project managers, or other roles.

Organization Chart template on
Organization Chart template on

  • Profit gap analysis

Profit gap analysis is used by businesses to identify the disparities between the current state of their profits and desired financial targets. It requires a careful examination of various factors affecting profitability, such as market dynamics, cost structure, or revenue generation.

One key aspect of profit gap analysis is the identification of the current state of their revenue. This involves scrutinizing the sources of revenue and assessing whether they align with the company’s goals. By examining sales channels, customer segments, or pricing strategies, businesses can uncover untapped opportunities for growth and revenue expansion.

By comparing actual financial performance with predetermined goals, organizations can pinpoint where they fall short and develop a strategic action plan to close their profit gaps. With the gap analysis performed, the organizations gain a new perspective on how to implement effective measures to boost their profitability.

How to perform gap analyses with a template from Whiteboards? offers a free Gap Analysis template that you can use to check the current state of your company and decide what actions you need to take to reach your desired future state. We’ll walk you through the step-by-step process to make the most of our template.

Gap Analysis template on
Gap Analysis template on
  1. Open the Gap Analysis template on a blank whiteboard or add it to an already existing board.
  2. Decide which type of gap analysis you would like to do. Is it a PEST analysis (political, economic, social, and technological analysis), compliance gap analysis, or maybe a project management analysis? Start by defining your main areas of focus. Write them down on sticky notes and place them in the first column of the Gap Analysis template. Use just one swimlane per focus area.
  3. Move to the next two columns — Current state and Desired state. Write down your notes and place them in appropriate places. Note how the expected performance should look like and on which current processes you need to work first to achieve that.
  4. Use a gap analysis to spot gaps in your product, project, or solution. Note them down on sticky notes and put them in the Gap column.
  5. Analyze the disparities between the current state of your organization and the desired state that resurfaced during the gap analysis. Place your notes in the Action items and Assignee columns. Convert your action items into Jira issues to start working on them right away and get the most out of the two-way Jira integration with Whiteboards.

Key takeaways

Gap analysis is a powerful tool that helps organizations identify opportunities for improvement and bridge the gaps between their current and desired state.

Conducting a gap analysis and analyzing the research data can help businesses gain valuable insights, set realistic goals, and drive progress. By embracing the gap analysis template as an integral part of planning and improvement processes, organizations can stay on top of their game and effectively align their resources and efforts.

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