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The process that involves the identification of gaps between the current state and the future or desired state is the beginning point for implementation of a Company improvement process. When the process of identifying gaps includes a deep analysis of the factors that have created the current state, the groundwork has been laid for improvement planning. The gap analysis process can be used to ensure that the improvement process does not jump from identification of problem areas to proposed solutions without understanding the conditions that created the current state.
Lay the groundwork for this process by explaining that identifying gaps does not mean that individuals are at fault. Rather it is a means of examining systemic factors that contributed to the current state.
- Using the scale to determine the current state is most successful if the group doing this work is assured that they can be honest in their assessments without fear of retribution. One way to reinforce this is to have participants write their ratings on stickies that are collected and posted on a flip with a scale drawn on it. This will support anonymity. The evidence that is given to
support ratings is usually delivered verbally, but it could be written and collected in an anonymous process if the leader knows that individuals have concerns.
- The information gathered in this process needs to be written up and reviewed by the team that is working on the improvement plan. If questions arise from this review process, the team could outline a means of investigating the issue to verify it.
- The intent of this process is to gather information that will be used to develop a future or desired state based on the indicators that are on the gap analysis worksheet. The team may decide to write additional indicators or to revise existing indicators if it decides that the need exists.
- As a result of identifying the gaps between the current state and the future state, planning teams can develop a problem statement that summarizes the underlying structural issue that needs to be addressed. A root cause analysis can then be developed in order to determine the factors that are crucial to improvement.
- The factors that are identified are then used in the development of goals and objectives for the improvement plan.