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6 Examples of an Individual Development Plan

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An individual development plan, or IDP, is an action plan designed to improve the knowledge and abilities of an individual. This is mostly associated with career planning and related activities such as performance management. Individual development plans are also used in an educational context to help students plan meaningful steps on the path to long term goals. The following are illustrative examples of a individual development plan.

Software Developer

Employees aren't evaluated against their individual development plan. They are negotiated with the employee's reporting manager and mostly reflect the employee's ambitions for their career. As such, they are opportunity for an employee to push for challenging work assignments and training. An individual development plan can also be used to make it clear that the employee wants a promotion and is taking steps to get it.


In some cases, an employee is happy in their role and is not looking for a promotion but would rather preserve the status quo. For example, some employees also aren't fond of training as this disrupts their work schedule. Such employees may view individual development plans as a needless burden and seek to complete them quickly and painlessly without committing to much. This can be achieved by essentially restating your performance objectives to show how they are helping you to grow.


The wording of an individual development plan varies according to the culture of an organization or team. For example, a direct culture with no time for complexities may state goals as skill areas and omit obvious wordage such as "improve..."

Customer Service

If an employee has relatively low performance their individual development plan may still have an ambitious long term goal. However, short term goals and objectives will be oriented towards immediately correcting performance. As such, the IDP may simply rephrase the objectives found in a performance improvement plan.


Students can have broad nonspecific long term goals that are exploratory in nature. Alternatively, they may know exactly what they want to do such that each goal is concrete and objectives are direct steps to each goal.

Administrative Assistant

In some cases, an individual's goals have little to do with their current role. Most organizations and managers prefer that your individual development plan align to your current role and related future opportunities. However, if you are a valuable employee it is often possible to get an employer to support you in a career change as long as that career is available at your organization.
Overview: Individual Development Plan
An action plan designed to improve the knowledge and abilities of an individual.
Also Known As
Related Concepts
Next: Career Development Plan
More about individual development:
Action Plan
Career Change
Career Plan
Career Planning
Goal Planning
Performance Objectives
Smart Goals
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