Individual Development Plan Samples (With Definition and Steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 13 September 2022 | Published 12 October 2021

Updated 13 September 2022

Published 12 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An individual development plan (IDP) is a tool you can use to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a professional. An IDP can help you enhance your personal and career aspirations by providing a well-defined action plan to attain specific accomplishments. Knowing how to use an individual development plan can enhance your career progression and make you a more effective professional in your organisation. In this article, we define IDPs, outline their importance, how to write them and provide individual development plan samples for you to reference.

What are individual development plan samples?

Individual development plan samples are example documents you can reference to help you write your own IDP. An IDP is a document a professional can use to organise their self-development for a specific period, usually six months or a year. The plan outlines the specific areas where the individual requires improvement and the employer supervises the implementation and progress of the professional.

Your employer can use an IDP to inform you of certain skills they want you to acquire or the need to improve your overall performance by a certain time. Different jobs and responsibilities require distinct individual development plan requirements, so it's important to know the elements of the document.

Related: How To Make a Career Plan and Set Career Goals (With Benefits)

Elements of an individual development plan

These are the elements of an individual development plan:

  • Goal description: This is where you state the specific goals you want to achieve through professional development.

  • Action steps: Here, you outline the specific activities to reach your goals.

  • Measurable definition of success: You want to describe the things that show you've achieved your goals. This makes it easier for you and your employer to determine whether you're becoming a better team member by following the development plan.

  • Resources needed: In this section, mention the resources required to achieve your goals. These can be training materials, in-house coaching or mentorship, certifications and their costs.

  • Target date: This covers the start date of your plan, milestones and deadlines to track your progress and when you intend to conclude your activities.

Related: Effective Ways to Enhance Your Personal Development Skills

Importance of an individual development plan

Here are some of the benefits of an individual development plan:

  • A well-implemented IDP can help you identify areas where you can work to improve performance and efficiency.

  • It can help you leverage and improve existing talents and skills.

  • An IDP can also help you determine the roles and duties that best suit your personal and professional strengths and interests.

  • The document provides an actionable and measurable blueprint for achieving short and long-term career and personal goals.

Related: Career Planner: Definition and How To Outline Your Career

How to write an individual development plan

Follow these steps to create an IDP you can use to boost your professional development:

1. Define your professional goals

To write an effective IDP, the first step is to determine your professional goals and objectives. Find out the skills and competencies that can qualify you for higher roles or improve your performance at work. Determine if your current qualifications are sufficient to take you to the next level in your career. You also want to brainstorm on the potential opportunities for career growth and how you can leverage them to achieve your career aspirations. Lastly, determine where you want to be in the next six months to a year.

2. Identify your strengths and weaknesses

The best way to use an individual development plan is to first take a critical look at yourself to identify your strengths and weaknesses. It might be difficult to assess yourself objectively, so consider talking to co-workers or supervisors who can provide honest feedback on areas where you can use some improvement. That way, you can pinpoint the specific areas to devote your professional growth efforts to enhance development.

3. Outline development opportunities

Once you've evaluated your strengths and areas that need improvement, the next step is to outline development opportunities. Highlight the actions to take to achieve growth in your areas of weaknesses. Create an action plan that includes the course materials to learn a new skill, the price of the training and the duration.

4. Create a step-by-step guide

After outlining development opportunities and what to do to achieve them, it helps to break down your plan into specific steps that are measurable and achievable. Having a detailed plan of action makes it easy to stay accountable and track your progress. You can tie each step to a tangible deliverable. For example, an objective may be to improve your presentation skills in five weeks through online resources so you can confidently present your research findings at the company's next general meeting.

5. Execute your plan

The next step is to implement your plan. Have a copy of the plan on your phone or other easily accessible places to monitor your progress and hold yourself accountable. It helps if an external person, such as your manager or supervisor, follows your progress. An IDP is time-sensitive, so remember the career-boosting benefits you're going to enjoy when you need the motivation to work towards your goals.

Related: How To Write a Development Plan (With Example)

Individual development plan template

You can customise an IDP format to meet your goals and objectives. Here is an example template you may use or tailor for your needs:

Name: [Your name]
Time range: [Dates for plan]
Position: [Your job title]
Development focus: [Your professional goal or objective]

Top three strengths:
1. [Skill]
2. [Skill]
3. [Skill]

Top three development requirements:
1. [Skill to improve]
2. [Skill to improve]
3. [Skill to improve]

Action step: [Step(s) you can take to meet objective]
Target completion date: [Date]
Budget: [Expected cost to complete action step]

Individual development plan examples

Here are samples of individual development plans you can use to create your own:

Example one

This example shows a mid-level manager planning their advancement:

*Name: Daniel Wang*
*Time range: 10/2020-10/2021*
*Position: Supply chain manager*
*Development focus: Improved performance in current role and training for advancement into a senior management position.*

Top three strengths:

1. Financial intelligence
2. Strategic planning
3. Advanced decision-making skills

Top three development requirements:
1. Improve leadership skills
2. Critical thinking skills
3. Multi-disciplinary management practices

*Action step: Speak to my manager about leading more team efforts to enhance managerial skills. This would leverage my advanced decision-making abilities and help me mature into a better manager at the senior level who can oversee teams and galvanise their talents and skills for improved productivity.*
*Target completion date: Next three months in time for the upcoming performance review*
*Budget: None*

*Action step: Take John Xi's Critical Thinking course and come up with creative solutions for complex problems my team faces. Ted Gardner and Jo Lee are experts in this subject and I am going to ask for their inputs on improving this skill.*
*Target: Ongoing*
*Budget: $50*

Example two

This example shows a new manager creating personalised goals:

*Name: Joe Lee*
*Position and title: Product manager*
*Time duration: 6/2021-12/2021*
*Development orientation: Newly promoted, improved performance in new position*

Top three strengths:
1. Self-motivated
2. Performance-driven
3. Excellent analytical skills

Top three development requirements:
1. Supervision and delegating skills
2. Conflict resolution
3. Short and long-term planning skills

*Action step: Talk to my manager on supervision and delegation best practices. Use improved engagement practices to build rapport with team members for better cooperation. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of each team member to ensure individuals get assigned to tasks they can do well. Patrick and Joe have had success in these aspects and I plan to discuss with them ways to grow in these areas.*
*Time duration: Five months*
*Budget: None, just my time*

*Action step: Read the three books on managing office conflict and politics recommended by management. Work on improving my emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills to enhance my ability to gauge people's emotions and see things from their perspectives.*
*Time duration: Three months*
*Budget: $60*

*Action step: Complete the in-house Junior Manager's Strategic Planning course. Apply the teachings and strategies of the course in the ongoing product development project and assess how it enhances work completion rate and team members' performance and efficiency.*
*Time duration: Six weeks*
*Budget: None*

Example three

This example shows a junior software developer creating a plan for their career:

*Name: Sandra Gupta*
*Position: Software developer*
*Long-term goals: Chief architect role*
*Short-term goals: Improve leadership and technical skills, transition into a team lead or system architecture role*

*Goal: Improve architecture skills*
*Action steps: Improve architectural and design skills. Participate in major projects and gain experience as lead architect for small and mid-level projects:*
*Resources required: Assignment to a lead architecture position*
*Measurement: Supervisor and manager feedback*
*Target date: Six months*

*Goal: Gain leadership experience*
*Action steps: Gain experience as a lead developer for small and mid-sized projects to improve my leadership and managerial skills.*
*Resources: Assignment to lead developer role. Support and mentorship from senior lead developers and my manager.*
*Measurement: Prompt project deliveries, improved quality metrics, including reduced bugs and defects and all-around success of the project team.*
*Target date: Four months*

*Goal: Improve technical skills*
*Action steps: Complete information security architecture training. Work on current software development projects to improve knowledge of the planning phase.*
*Resources required: $1,500, my time.*
*Measurement: Successful completion of training. Ability to participate at a high level in the software development life cycle.*
*Target: Six months*

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