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Its really useful firstly if you read my post on skills gap analysis as this helps provide the basis for a development in terms of gaps against current and or future roles.

You may already have a plan (Ill refer to it throughout as a PDP) but for this post I will be taking you through the process from scratch.

What is a PDP?

PDP’s are action plans that help you consider your goals, objectives and targets both short term and long term. It should be live document that you update regularly as you achieve an objective or create a new one. Some of your goals may be personal in relation to where you want to be in the future and some professional relating to your current / future career.

There are a lot of templates out there you can download for free and Ive added my preferred format here and also a simpler template. The advanced version has been pre-populated to give an example of how it could be used.

Its really down to taste when it comes to how you want your plan to look but there are some main points to take note of that really need to be included in your plan

Objectives should be SMART. Specific / Measurable / Achievable / Realistic / Time-bound.


Clearly define what your objective is whether its to complete a particular qualification or improve on a particular skill make sure you know what it is you are going to do and why.


You need to be able to measure the success of your achievements so this could be benchmarks you set yourself to reach certain standards or be able to see how much you have improved on something. Maybe you want to increase your knowledge on a subject and set yourself targets to learn x amount of new items per week.


Your goals should be on things you are capable of achieving. Setting yourself a goal you cannot reach is demotivating. Its good to be ambitious of course but at the end of your review date on the PDP you want to be able to congratulate yourself on your achievements.


Along with achievable you need to be practical about what you can do. This would take into account cost, time, resources available.


Having a goal that never gets met is a little pointless on a PDP. Set yourself deadlines to make sure you do complete them in good time. This does fit into all the above points in that you also need to be specific about the timeframe, measure progress throughout to make sure you will meet the deadline date and of course the timing does need to be achievable and realistic. I have had students  I have had students in the past who have set incredible goals achieving their Diploma in 2 months rather than the expected 12-18 months. Theres nothing wrong with this but its not a good way to learn. Theres no time to soak in the information, process it and consider its application.

Within all of the above you will want to consider what is best for you but also what does the business need? If you are looking to improve your position or secure it then you must of course make sure you fit into what the role needs now and in the future. Marry your own objectives with that of the business and you’ve cracked it.

Learners undertaking a Level 3 of 4 Diploma in Management will find this post assists with the following criteria:

ML9 300 2.4 Agree a personal and professional development plan that is consistent with business needs and personal objectives