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Gap analysis frameworks: Build successful products (2024)

From SWOT analysis to Ansoff metrics, these gap analysis tools provide valuable insights to identify and bridge the gaps in your business strategy.

January 28, 2024
Team Blitzllama

Many product teams face the challenge of developing successful products that meet customer needs. 

Identifying gaps between current product offerings and customer expectations is a common struggle. 

Understanding the pain points of users becomes crucial in crafting solutions that resonate. 

This article dives into practical gap analysis frameworks, providing a clear roadmap for product teams to bridge the divide between what they offer and what customers desire. 

By simplifying the process and focusing on actionable steps, teams can navigate the complexities of product development, ensuring their efforts align with user needs. 

Explore these frameworks to build products that not only survive but thrive in the market.

What is gap analysis?

Gap analysis is a tool used to compare where a product is and where it should be. It identifies the gaps between current performance and desired goals. 

The process involves assessing strengths and weaknesses to bridge the difference. It helps teams understand what needs improvement. By focusing on what's lacking, teams can make informed decisions to reach their objectives. 

This analysis is practical for product teams to enhance efficiency. It provides a clear roadmap, allowing teams to prioritize tasks effectively. 

By addressing existing shortcomings and achieving desired outcomes, gap analysis helps product teams reach their full potential.

As you gain a better understanding of gap analysis, let's explore why it's so important for product teams.

Why is gap analysis important?

For product teams, comprehending the significance of gap analysis is pivotal. Gain insights into how this proactive approach can lead to improved decision-making and streamlined workflows:

Why is gap analysis important

1) Identifies user pain points and unmet needs

Gap analysis plays a pivotal role in product development by pinpointing user pain points and unmet needs. 

By scrutinizing the existing product against user expectations, it reveals areas where the product falls short or misses the mark. 

This process helps product teams understand the frustrations and challenges users face, fostering empathy and guiding enhancements. 

Addressing these gaps ensures that the product aligns closely with user expectations, enhancing overall user satisfaction and engagement.

2) Prioritizes resources and avoids wasted effort

Efficient resource allocation is crucial for any product team. Gap analysis serves as a compass, guiding teams to invest time and resources where they matter most. 

By highlighting the disparities between the current state and desired outcomes, it enables teams to prioritize tasks effectively. 

This strategic focus ensures that efforts are directed toward addressing the most critical gaps, minimizing wasted resources on non-essential aspects. 

Essentially, gap analysis guides teams to invest their efforts where they will have the greatest impact.

3) Informs strategic decision-making

Strategic decision-making relies on a comprehensive understanding of a product's strengths and weaknesses. 

Gap analysis provides this clarity, serving as a foundation for informed decisions. 

Armed with insights into where the product falls short, product teams can craft strategies to bridge those gaps systematically. 

Whether it involves feature enhancements, user experience improvements, or other adjustments, these decisions are grounded in real data, enhancing the likelihood of success. 

In essence, gap analysis is a cornerstone for making well-informed and strategic choices that drive the product towards its goals.

4) Boosts user satisfaction and loyalty

User satisfaction is the lifeblood of any successful product. Gap analysis ensures that the product continually evolves to meet and exceed user expectations. 

By addressing identified gaps, product teams enhance the overall user experience, fostering satisfaction and loyalty. 

Users are more likely to remain engaged and committed to a product that consistently aligns with their needs. 

In this way, gap analysis becomes a catalyst for building a dedicated user base, crucial for the sustained success of any product.

5) Fuels competitive advantage

In a competitive landscape, staying ahead is paramount. Gap analysis empowers product teams to not only meet but surpass market expectations. 

By continuously assessing and improving the product based on user feedback and changing market dynamics, teams can position their product as a leader in the field. 

The ability to identify and address gaps swiftly provides a competitive edge, ensuring that the product remains relevant, innovative, and desirable in the eyes of users. 

Essentially, gap analysis becomes a strategic tool for achieving and maintaining competitive advantage.

With the understanding of its importance established, let's move on to the practical aspect — how to perform gap analysis effectively.

How to perform gap analysis?

Executing gap analysis requires a systematic approach. In this section, discover a step-by-step guide on how software product teams can effectively perform gap analysis:

How to perform gap analysis

1) Selecting an area to focus on

To begin the gap analysis process, identify a specific area within your product that requires attention. Look for aspects that impact overall performance, customer satisfaction, or key business objectives. Consider customer feedback, market trends, or internal data to pinpoint the focus area. Once determined, communicate this choice clearly to the product team.

Data-driven selection: Use metrics and user feedback to identify areas with the most significant impact on user experience or business goals.

Cross-functional input: Involve various teams, such as customer support, development, and marketing, to gain a comprehensive understanding of potential areas for improvement.

Prioritization: Assess the urgency and importance of different focus areas, ensuring alignment with organizational priorities.

2) Defining goals

With the focus area selected, establish clear and measurable goals. Define what success looks like for the product in the chosen area. Ensure that these goals align with the overall vision and strategy of the product team.

SMART criteria: Set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound to provide clarity and focus.

Stakeholder alignment: Confirm that the goals resonate with the expectations and needs of stakeholders, including customers and internal teams.

Quantifiable metrics: Use specific metrics, such as conversion rates, user satisfaction scores, or time-to-market, to objectively measure progress.

3) Determining the current state of the product

Evaluate the current state of the product in the chosen area. This involves gathering data and insights to understand existing processes, features, and performance. Identify strengths and weaknesses, as this analysis forms the foundation for the subsequent steps.

Data collection: Utilize existing analytics tools, user feedback, and performance reports to gather relevant data.

User journey mapping: Understand how users interact with the product in the chosen area, identifying pain points and areas of delight.

Internal feedback: Tap into the knowledge of the product team members who are directly involved in the development and maintenance of the product.

4) Deciding on the desired state and defining parameters

Define the desired state for the product in the chosen area. Clearly articulate the improvements and enhancements that align with the established goals. Establish specific parameters that represent success and provide a benchmark for progress.

Benchmarking: Compare the current state with industry standards, competitors, or internal benchmarks to set realistic yet ambitious targets.

User-centric approach: Ensure that the desired state aligns with user needs and expectations, aiming to enhance the overall user experience.

Measurable parameters: Clearly define parameters that can be objectively measured, allowing for a straightforward assessment of progress.

5) Identifying the gaps between those two states and coming up with a plan for closing them

Now, pinpoint the gaps between the current state and the desired state. Develop a comprehensive plan outlining actionable steps to bridge these gaps. This plan should involve collaboration across different teams and incorporate both short-term and long-term initiatives.

Gap analysis matrix: Create a matrix highlighting the disparities between the current and desired states, providing a visual representation for the team.

Collaborative approach: Foster collaboration among cross-functional teams to leverage diverse skills and perspectives in developing solutions.

Iterative improvement: Implement an iterative approach, allowing for continuous feedback and adjustments to the plan based on evolving circumstances.

By following these actionable steps, product teams can perform a thorough and effective gap analysis, leading to tangible improvements in the identified areas of focus. 

Regularly reassess the progress and adjust strategies as needed to ensure continuous enhancement and alignment with overarching product objectives.

Now equipped with the know-how, let's explore various frameworks that can be applied for gap analysis in product development.

7 Gap analysis frameworks for your business

Navigate through seven practical gap analysis frameworks tailored for software product teams. From SWOT analysis to Ansoff matrix, each framework offers a unique perspective to identify and address gaps in your processes. Uncover the best-suited frameworks to enhance your product development endeavors:

1) SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that assesses a project or business's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

SWOT analysis

Why: It provides a comprehensive overview, helping product teams understand internal and external factors affecting their product's success.

When: Conduct SWOT analysis during the early stages of product development, before making critical decisions.


  • Strengths: Identify internal advantages like skilled team members or advanced technology. Example: A strong development team proficient in cutting-edge programming languages.
  • Weaknesses: Recognize internal limitations such as lack of resources or outdated technology. Example: Limited budget for marketing efforts.
  • Opportunities: Identify external factors that can positively impact the product. Example: Emerging market trends that align with the product's features.
  • Threats: Recognize external factors that may pose challenges. Example: Intense competition from similar software in the market.

2) McKinsey 7-S model

The McKinsey 7-S model focuses on seven interdependent elements essential for organizational success: Structure, Strategy, Systems, Style, Staff, Skills, and Shared values.

McKinsey 7-S model

Why: It ensures all aspects of an organization align to achieve common goals, offering a holistic approach.

When: Implement the McKinsey 7-S model when reevaluating or restructuring the product team's dynamics.


  • Structure: Examine the organizational hierarchy and how teams are arranged. Example: Adopting an agile structure to enhance flexibility.
  • Strategy: Define the product's long-term goals and plans. Example: Shifting from a cost-driven to an innovation-driven strategy.
  • Systems: Evaluate the processes and workflows in place. Example: Implementing project management tools for streamlined collaboration.
  • Style: Analyze leadership and management styles. Example: Promoting a collaborative and transparent leadership style.
  • Staff: Assess the skills and competencies of team members. Example: Providing training for employees to adapt to new technologies.
  • Skills: Identify the unique capabilities of the team. Example: Leveraging specialized skills in machine learning for enhanced product features.
  • Shared values: Emphasize common values and goals. Example: Fostering a culture of customer-centricity.

3) PESTLE analysis

PESTLE analysis examines the external factors affecting a project or business, including Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental aspects.

PESTLE analysis

Why: It helps product teams understand the broader external environment and make informed decisions.

When: Conduct PESTLE analysis during the initial planning stages or when significant external changes occur.


  • Political: Assess the impact of governmental policies and regulations. Example: Changes in data protection laws affecting software development practices.
  • Economic: Analyze economic trends and their influence on the market. Example: Economic downturn affecting consumer spending on products.
  • Social: Consider societal trends and cultural influences. Example: Growing preference for eco-friendly software solutions.
  • Technological: Evaluate the impact of technological advancements. Example: Integration of artificial intelligence to enhance product capabilities.
  • Legal: Examine legal frameworks and regulations. Example: Compliance with international data protection standards.
  • Environmental: Consider ecological factors. Example: Development of sustainable software solutions to reduce environmental impact.

4) Root cause analysis

Root Cause Analysis is a method to identify the underlying causes of problems or issues.

Root cause analysis

Why: It helps product teams address the source of issues rather than just treating symptoms.

When: Conduct root cause analysis when facing recurring problems or when a significant issue arises.


  • Identify the problem: Clearly define the problem or issue. Example: Frequent software crashes during peak usage.
  • Collect data: Gather relevant data to analyze the issue. Example: User reports, system logs, and error messages.
  • Identify possible causes: Brainstorm potential causes of the problem. Example: Incompatibility with specific operating systems.
  • Narrow down causes: Systematically eliminate unlikely causes until the root cause is identified. Example: Testing the software on different operating systems to pinpoint the compatibility issue.
  • Develop solutions: Once the root cause is known, devise effective solutions. Example: Releasing a patch to address the compatibility issue.

5) Kano model

The Kano Model categorizes product features into Basic Needs, Performance Needs, and Excitement Needs to prioritize development efforts.

Kano model

Why: It helps product teams understand customer satisfaction and prioritize features accordingly.

When: Implement the Kano Model during product development to optimize feature prioritization.


  • Basic needs: Identify essential features for customer satisfaction. Example: Error-free performance and reliability.
  • Performance needs: Enhance features that directly impact customer satisfaction. Example: Faster processing speeds or improved user interface.
  • Excitement needs: Introduce innovative features that exceed customer expectations. Example: Cutting-edge features that set the product apart in the market.
  • Customer feedback: Gather feedback to understand how features are perceived. Example: Conduct surveys or analyze user reviews.
  • Continuous iteration: Regularly reassess and update feature prioritization based on customer feedback and market trends.

6) MoSCoW method

The MoSCoW method prioritizes tasks into Must-haves, Should-haves, Could-haves, and Won't-haves.

MoSCoW method

Why: It ensures clarity and prioritization in software development projects, aligning with customer and stakeholder expectations.

When: Utilize the MoSCoW method during project planning and development phases.


  • Must-haves: Identify non-negotiable requirements for project success. Example: Core functionalities crucial for the software's primary purpose.
  • Should-haves: Important features that are not critical but enhance the product. Example: Additional customization options for users.
  • Could-haves: Desirable features, but not essential for project success. Example: Integrations with third-party tools for added convenience.
  • Won't-haves: Clearly define elements that won't be included in the current project. Example: Advanced features that can be considered in future updates.
  • Stakeholder Collaboration: Regularly communicate with stakeholders to ensure alignment with priorities.

7) Ansoff matrix

The Ansoff Matrix helps businesses identify growth strategies by analyzing market penetration, product development, market development, and diversification.

Ansoff matrix

Why: It guides product teams in making informed decisions about expanding their product offerings or entering new markets.

When: Apply the Ansoff Matrix when considering expansion or diversification.


  • Market penetration: Focus on selling existing products to existing markets. Example: Intensifying marketing efforts to increase market share.
  • Product development: Introduce new products to existing markets. Example: Launching a software upgrade with advanced features for the current user base.
  • Market development: Enter new markets with existing products. Example: Expanding to international markets with the current software offering.
  • Diversification: Introduce new products to new markets. Example: Creating a completely new product for a previously untapped market.
  • Risk assessment: Evaluate the risks and benefits associated with each strategy before implementation. Example: Assessing the potential challenges of entering a new market before expansion.

Moving forward, let's explore the best practices that can elevate the effectiveness of your gap analysis initiatives.

Gap analysis best practices

Enhance the impact of your gap analysis efforts by adopting best practices. This section provides actionable insights for software product teams to maximize the benefits of the gap analysis process:

Gap analysis best practices

1) Define your "North Star":

Start by clarifying your product's long-term goals and the problems it aims to solve for users. 

Establish a clear vision to guide your analysis. Knowing where you want to go ensures that your gap analysis focuses on the right areas. 

Without a well-defined "North Star," your efforts may lack direction. Ensure everyone on your team understands and aligns with this vision.

2) Get user-centric:

Go beyond data analysis; engage with users directly. Conduct surveys, interviews, and usability tests to comprehend their needs, pain points, and expectations. 

Qualitative data offers a deeper understanding of the gaps between your product and the ideal user experience. 

By prioritizing user input, you'll be better equipped to address their specific needs, ultimately improving overall satisfaction and product performance.

3) Go beyond features:

Look beyond feature checklists. Consider the broader context: user experience, market trends, competitor actions, and internal resources. 

A holistic view ensures identification of gaps beyond missing features, such as usability, performance, or marketing effectiveness. 

By understanding the complete picture, your gap analysis becomes a comprehensive tool for addressing not only surface-level issues but also the underlying factors influencing your product's success.

4) Prioritize mercilessly:

Recognize that not all gaps are of equal importance. Evaluate each gap's impact on user satisfaction, business goals, and feasibility. 

Utilize a prioritization framework, like the RICE score (Reach, Impact, Confidence, Effort), to identify gaps deserving immediate attention. 

By mercilessly prioritizing, you ensure that your team focuses on the most critical areas, optimizing resources and efforts to bridge gaps that matter the most.

5) Actionable insights, not just reports:

Avoid getting lost in endless analysis. Your gap analysis should serve as a springboard for action. Develop concrete action plans for closing each identified gap. 

Clearly outline required resources, timelines, and ownership for effective implementation. Remember, the ultimate goal is not merely to measure the gap but to actively bridge it. 

Actionable insights turn your analysis into a catalyst for positive change, driving your product towards its defined "North Star."

Utilizing the right tools is crucial as you embrace best practices. Explore the best tools for effective gap analysis in the next section.

Best gap analysis tools

Efficiency in gap analysis is amplified with the right tools. This section introduces product teams to the best tools available for conducting thorough gap analysis:

1) Blitzllama (for filling in feedback gaps)


Blitzllama stands out as an effective in-product feedback software designed to bridge feedback gaps within product teams. This tool facilitates seamless communication between users and developers, ensuring that valuable insights and suggestions don't fall through the cracks. By integrating Blitzllama, teams can efficiently gather user feedback, addressing concerns promptly and enhancing product features based on real user experiences. Its user-friendly interface makes it an accessible solution for closing the loop on product feedback, contributing to a more user-centric and refined software development process.

2) Figjam (for SWOT analysis)


Figjam emerges as a practical choice for product teams seeking a straightforward approach to SWOT analysis. As a whiteboard software, Figjam provides a dedicated SWOT analysis template, simplifying the process of identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The intuitive interface allows team members to collaboratively assess the internal and external factors influencing their product's performance. Figjam's SWOT analysis capability promotes strategic decision-making by offering a visual and structured framework, enabling teams to capitalize on strengths, address weaknesses, explore opportunities, and mitigate potential threats effectively.

3) Miro (for 7S framework)


Miro serves as a versatile whiteboard software offering a specialized template for the 7S framework, making it an ideal tool for product teams aiming to align their strategies and operations. The 7S framework encompasses seven key elements – strategy, structure, systems, skills, style, staff, and shared values. Miro simplifies the application of this framework, allowing teams to visually map out and analyze these components collaboratively. By utilizing Miro for the 7S framework, product teams can enhance organizational effectiveness, foster alignment, and ensure that their strategies are seamlessly integrated with the broader context of their product development.

4) JIRA (for MoSCoW)


JIRA, recognized as a robust project tracking software, proves invaluable for product teams employing the MoSCoW method. Through JIRA, teams can efficiently manage and prioritize requirements based on the MoSCoW framework – Must-haves, Should-haves, Could-haves, and Won't-haves. This tool streamlines the process of categorizing and tracking project tasks, ensuring clear communication and prioritization. By utilizing JIRA for MoSCoW, product teams can enhance project transparency, allocate resources effectively, and deliver products that align closely with stakeholder expectations.


In conclusion, employing effective gap analysis tools & frameworks is vital for product teams to ensure successful product development. By systematically identifying and addressing gaps between current and desired states, teams can enhance product quality and meet user expectations. 

This proactive approach fosters efficient decision-making, streamlining processes and minimizing risks. Regularly revisiting the gap analysis process enables teams to adapt to changing needs and market demands. 

Ultimately, integrating these frameworks into the product development lifecycle empowers teams to deliver solutions that align closely with user requirements, fostering a competitive edge in the ever-evolving landscape of software development.