Personal development page

In 15 months working at Sky I built a list of things that in my opinion needed to be improved, some of them I have addressed in my team during the day-to-day, some in our retros, another ones I had to think outside the box to be able to make a difference, and I will talk about one of them here on this blog post.

The PDP

At Sky, we’ve all got Performance and Development Plans so we know where we are heading and what we are trying to achieve. It’s all about setting clear direction and motivating people though regular feedback and conversations. PDPs help Sky too, by improving business performance and getting things done efficiently and effectively. The performance cycle runs for a year at Sky, although there’s lots of activity towards the end/start of the financial year, it’s regular conversations that will make the biggest difference.

Sounds great, but at least for me, on my first year, my PDP document was something that I used to review every 3-6 months, that was definitely not something accurate. I could only add very little information on it as I didn’t have a logged history of everything I did on that year. In the end I had a document that was not even close to what my work had really progressed over that period and that of course could have led to lower scores. It worked more as a final feedback rather than something useful.

Some months ago when I became a Line Manager, I started building a model, a page, on our wiki that could help me and the people I manage to keep track of the PDP on a much better and organic way. Confluence, our wiki, lets you create private pages so you can keep private information there as well. What in the beginning was a checklist of objectives, became my own personal development page, something like this:

My achievements

Everything I would like to remember, that I consider worth registering to be added to the PDP document by the end of the year: prizes, successful projects and deployments, a new skill goes on this section. In my page I have things like the day I won the Hackathon and when I started interviewing, things I will for sure be proud of in the future.

Things I need to improve

Things my manager, my team and I think I should improve, the intention is to add honest, constructive things that need to be addressed.

Things I want to learn

I am a developer so there are a billion of things out there in the market to be learnt, some of them are already being used here at Sky, some not. The more new things I learn the better professional I will be because then I will be able to define what new things we can use here at Sky and what is not worth trying. Also, learning new things give you new abilities, new ways of seeing things, approaching to problems. And also, we have corporate Pluralsight accounts here at Sky, which is perfect to learn new stuff.

My objectives

This is the most important section in the page, this reflects what it is in my PDP document and is divided into:

  • Score: from 1 to 5, how I think the objective is going so far in the year, so I can focus on the lower scores and maintain the highers ones
  • Year: year that the objective was agreed to be taken into consideration, so next year I can add another objectives and keep history of the previous years
  • Objective: the objective in my PDP document
  • Evidences: I have a reminder on my calendar to every Monday morning (some people will prefer Fridays afternoons) to review this page, so I can add evidences of things I have done in the previous week that refer to that objective. If my objective says that I should do more pair programming I add evidences that I have been doing that. With that by the end of the year when I need to add this to the PDP document I will have a much stronger case proving I’m doing everything I can to improve on that specific objective, which will for sure help me to get a higher score.

This page became my home page, my own personal professional home page, it helps me a lot to keep track of what I’m doing well and what I need to improve, also helps my line manager to see my progress. The intention is that this page should be organic, as Confluence lets us add and remove sections very easily, so for one that is not a developer another tables will be more useful than these ones.

If you are interested into having one yourself or start using with your team, it’s quite easy to create your own page on a wiki like Confluence. I created a template that other people here at Sky can copy, just remember to move it to your personal space and restrict the access (and give access to the people you want to be able to see – like your Line Manager or someone else).

And please let me know your thoughts and ideas, I will be very happy to get your feedback!

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