Plan: Individual Development Plan
"If you don't know where you are going, you'll probably end up........someplace else."
Individual Development Plans (IDPs) (PDF) provide a planning process that identifies both professional development needs and career objectives. While IDPs have been incorporated into performance review processes in many organizations, they have been used much less frequently in the mentoring of graduate students/postdoctoral fellows.
There are three desirable outcomes from creating an IDP. First, the process aids in identifying long-term career options and helping establish milestones along the way. Second, it defines short-term goals which will focus current performance and give a clearer sense of expectations. Third, the IDP can also serve as a tool for communication between graduate students/postdoctoral fellows and their faculty mentors.
Adapted from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)'s Science Policy Committee.