Instructions for Completing a Development Plan

1. Identify a performance goal or competency to address. Look at your performance goals and the competencies that your supervisor has identified as being important for your job. If you aren’t sure about either of these, ask your supervisor. To identify the most important performance goals or competencies for development, ask yourself these questions:

    *What do I need to do/achieve in the next six to 12 months (or longer if applicable)?
    *What are the results or outcomes for which I will be held accountable?
    *How am I expected to behave as I work at achieving my goals?
    *What responsibilities am I expected to take on?
    *Is there a gap between what is expected from me and what I know how to do?

2. Write development goals that will assist you in achieving these target competencies. Limit your goal-setting to a maximum of three objectives so that you can focus and aren’t overwhelmed. To write your development goals, ask yourself these questions:

*Do I want the development objective to build on a natural talent, increase my knowledge, or improve my skills?
*What do I want to be able to do when I have completed my development?

Use this formula for writing development goals:

Do (verb) + What + Why (Desired Outcome)

For example:

    • Negotiate lower price with vendor to reduce expenses by 15%
    • Improve student satisfaction with XXXXX system to increase use by 20%
    • Develop and coach staff to support rollout of new program

3. Identify development activities. Write one to three development activities that will support the accomplishment of each development goal. Consider:

*What activities could I do that would be meaningful to me to accomplish the development objective?
*Can I develop this competency through an on-the-job activity?

Again, use the Do (verb) + What + Why (Desired Outcome) formula. For example:

*Improve negotiation skills to enhance service agreement.
*Monitor customer satisfaction to determine improvements needed.

4. Identify resources needed. These may include people, funding, books, training or even time.

5. Note how you will measure progress or implementation of the goal. Give yourself a deadline for the overall task as well as any activities. Be specific. Avoid putting the last day of the fiscal year; that’s a given. List a date to review progress with your supervisor. Also note the actual date completed. The deadline should be negotiable, depending on other obligations. It’s your plan, but you don’t want to keep postponing your important but not urgent development activities in lieu of urgencies. Make and honor the commitment to yourself. Figure out how you will involve your supervisor in discussing progress and implementation. It will increase the likelihood that you’ll receive support for acting on your plan even though it may mean putting aside other work for a few hours.

6. Note key learning and application. Throughout the year, update your plan with the results, even if things didn’t go the way you planned.

7. Document unplanned development. Throughout the year there will be opportunities to learn or develop that you didn’t plan for. If you know what you are trying to achieve through development, and you’ve discussed it with your supervisor, it makes it much easier to capitalize on those unplanned opportunities. Write down the competency or performance goal addressed the goal, activity and result.

Development plan quality review checklist

    • One to three development goals are identified.
    • Development goals are clearly linked to the department’s objectives.
    • Development goals are focused on development for the current job and/or future responsibilities.
    • Strengths and talents are developed as well as development needs to address gaps.
    • At least one activity is included for each development goal.
    • On-the-job development is used whenever possible.
    • Specific completion dates are identified.
    • Development activities distributed approximately 70% on-the-job development, 20% self learning, 10% training.

When completed, plans are not set in stone. Consider them living documents that will evolve with the changing demands of work. Development plans should serve as a reminder to attend to development throughout the year.