“What and why: Individual Development Plan (IDP)”

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By Stephanie Watson

Acquisition Career Manager

As discussed in our ongoing “Back to the Basics” column in the May DACM newsletter, where we dove into the “what and why” of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA), the Individual Development Plan (IDP) helps you track and plan your training and update your acquisition career objectives. This all helps you plan ahead and successfully meet the requirements for your acquisition position certification. Today we will continue to explore the IDP to show the benefits of this tool.

Think of the IDP as a formal yet flexible agreement between you and your supervisor detailing where you want to go and who you want to be. Schedule time with your supervisor to discuss your objectives and plans at least twice a year, in conjunction with your midterm and annual performance reviews. The IDP is a one-stop tool for monitoring training, goals, acquisition position certification and the status of continuous learning points (CLP) to ensure you remain relevant. For supervisors, the IDP is where you manage your acquisition employees’ desire for career progression and approve training requests.

Step one in creating a useful IDP is to ensure your supervisor has added you as their employee in the IDP module located within the Career Acquisition Management Portal/Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System (CAMP/CAPPMIS). This linkage is critical in allowing you to move forward on the IDP. Important: If you don’t have a supervisor listed in your IDP, you cannot do ANYTHING in the IDP.

Step two is to add short- and long-term objectives for your career. The point of these objectives is to start a dialogue between you and your supervisor about your goals and aspirations. YOU are the best advocate for your career, but this is a way to get your supervisor in your corner. Key: If you do not update your objectives and have them approved by your supervisor, you cannot do ANYTHING in the IDP. (Noticing a trend here?!) We recommend you write SMART goals for your objectives: They should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Where do you see your career heading—both in the immediate future (one to three years) and in the distant future (five-plus years)? Then write how you plan on achieving your goals and what your ideal timeline is. Writing these goals down in a place you can see them often can make them that much more obtainable! These goals can vary from furthering your education, completing specialized training, taking a more challenging position, and broadening your acquisition experience though developmental assignments. If you’re still looking for inspiration, take a look at the acquisition career models (or the article later in the newsletter, “The Civilian Acquisition Career Model”) for your acquisition career field (ACF), as they provide suggested training and assignments by grade in your ACF, or can help you plan a different path in another ACF if that is a goal.

After you get your objectives approved by your supervisor in the IDP module, it’s time to plan training to help you obtain DAWIA certification within the 24-month grace period. There are three types of training you can add: Defense Acquisition University (DAU) training, non-DAU training, and other training (free text). DAU training is self-explanatory (I hope). Non-DAU training is for primary training courses like Civilian Education System courses, the Army Acquisition Basic Course, Naval Postgraduate School courses, and other acquisition education training and leader development opportunities offered centrally through the Army Director for Career Management (DACM) Office. The “Other Training” category is a catch-all and allows free-text entries. This category can include professional activities such as training, conferences, symposiums and seminars where the acquisition professional can earn the mandatory CLPs. Workforce members should track training, including CLPs, in the CAPPMIS IDP. It holds you and your supervisor accountable in tracking your progress toward obtaining your acquisition career development goals.

Once you set up the basics, the IDP isn’t something you must log in to daily. You do, however, need to update it at least once every six months with a review of your objectives and goals every three years. The IDP is one of the premier tools in CAPPMIS because of its versatility, and it is vital as the initial road map for AAW members to get to where they want to go in their acquisition career. Learn more about the IDP and other tools in CAPPMIS by attending the New Hire Workforce Brief (either in person or online). To register for the New Hire Brief (even if you just want it as refresher training) submit a Help Ticket in CAPPMIS and select the “New Hire Brief” subject line with the dates you are interested in attending, and the Army DACM Office will ensure you are enrolled.

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