Unexpected outcomes of PDP planning

Mariola Romero

Jun 21 2021

Once a year at Deeson we undertake Personal Development Planning sessions, to help us reflect upon where we’ve got to over the last year, and what we want to achieve over the next few months. It’s an opportunity to reflect, a chance to map out career aspirations, and a candid opportunity to openly discuss what we want to get out of our professional experience.

It was through my Personal Development Planning session with my manager that we realised that I could make the most out of our Unlimited Training Budget by getting specific coaching around self-confidence and tips and strategies on how to ‘own the room’. This budget was a big appeal for me when applying for the job at Deeson, but I had never taken advantage of it before now as I struggled to know what to spend it on.

I always thought that the Training Budget was a perk best used by the Technical Chapter, who use it to upskill themselves to ensure we’re always knowledgeable on the latest technologies. The Creative Chapter have used it in the past to learn illustration, or to go on specific Accessibility courses. Both of these situations directly help us build the right solution for our clients, but what about us Delivery Managers…?

Thanks to the conversations that the PDP planning opened up, I felt brave enough to sign up to UPFRONT, and Deeson paid for the course fee. Upfront is a cohort-based training course aimed at women in tech. It touches on public speaking, how to talk about your achievements, and gives you practical tips to boost your confidence and calm your nerves.

Historically I have always thought I should focus on qualifications and ‘hard skills’ which would increase my ‘legitimacy’ as an “Agile Practitioner”. However, being able to understand the energy you bring into a room, how to lead a team, and how to feel confident having difficult conversations is not something you learn during your Scrum Master certification…

Without my PDP session, I wouldn’t have had the confidence and assurance to embrace these “softer” but equally important skills. Without Deeson’s support, we wouldn’t have the framework that lets us grow these as well as the more traditional “hard” technical skills the business needs. To grow both, makes us all the more rounded professionals.

If you’re also heading into a Personal Development Planning session, and are not quite sure what to expect or what you want to get out of, here’s a list of tips that worked for me. I recommend you get out your pen and paper and brainstorm the below - you’ll be surprised with what comes up!

  • What aspects of my job do I enjoy the most, and why?

  • What aspects of my job do I enjoy less, and why?

  • What do I think I’m very good at? Think about feedback you have gotten in the past, or moments where you’ve felt very confident - when did those happen?

  • What do your peers think you’re good at? Send round an email to your colleagues, and friends, asking them what they think your biggest strengths are. You’ll be surprised and encouraged at the answers.

  • What things do I want to do more of, but haven’t yet gotten round to doing? Think about hosting meetups, writing blog posts, being a line manager….

  • What do I feel unsure about? Reflect back on moments where you’ve felt like an impostor, or moments that made you feel insecure about your skills.

I still don’t know what my career is going to look like in 5-10 years, and this isn’t an area that we focused on during the PDP meeting. If you have a PDP session and are dreading this meeting, I recommend you try and find some quiet time to think and reflect about what you want to do more of, and want to do less of.

This simple exercise will help you find new opportunities, and it helped me realise that to grow in my career I needed more in my toolkit than a certificate could offer. I’m excited for what’s next!

Mariola Romero

About the author

Mariola Romero

Delivery Manager

Mariola is a Certified Scrum Master, experienced DSDM practitioner, and an accredited Agile Project Manager, who has delivered change in organisations since 2013.