Image via Wikipedia
To take Wikipedia’s definition, a gap analysis is a business assessment tool enabling a company to compare its actual performance with its potential performance. At its core are two questions:
Where are we?
Where do we want to be?
As we know from our projects, the gap analysis process involves determining, documenting and approving the variance between business requirements (future) and current capabilities (today).
Yesterday we discussed how to define where you want to be by defining SMART goals. Today we reflect on where we are now. This is a great time to reflect. Reflection not only helps us define where we are now, but also helps us appreciate what we have. Towards the end of this year my mood was quite low due to some significant personal events. I realized I was making a crucial mistake: focusing on negative events in my life. When I sat down and focused on the positive events of the year and in my life, there were more than I had realized. My mood and outlook quickly improved while learning a valuable lesson.
Some questions to ask yourself when looking back at the year are:
What did I accomplish?
What did I learn?
What would I have done differently?
What portions were the most satisfying?
What were my biggest challenges?
Looking back tells us the road we are traveling and what has happened to previous goals we have set. I cannot say it better than Steve Jobs. On June 12, 2005 Steve gave a commencement address at Stanford. He said:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something : your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.“
Reflecting also provides us lessons learned which we can apply going forward. Think of your projects, you do (or should do) the same there. Best practices advice having a lessons learned session at the end of a project. The goal of a lesson learned session is capturing the knowledge or understanding gained by experience, and making that knowledge available for future projects. It is a reflection on the life of your project. Consciously standing still and thinking about the positives or lessons learned in your life will give you information on what to do or not to do in the future.
So take a minute, look back on 2008 or even further and answer the five questions above. In the words of the ancient Aristotle:
“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.“
Tomorrow we will look at how to bridge the gap between where you are today and where you want to be.