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The Key to Unlocking Employee Potential: Effective Development Planning

March 29, 2023


min read

Valentine Steph

The Key to Unlocking Employee Potential: Effective Development Planning

In this blog post, you’ll learn how to create a successful development plan for your software engineering team.

Are you struggling to help your engineers develop skills and reach their full potential?

Without clear goals and objectives, software engineers can struggle to prioritize their professional development and may not be as effective as they could be. This is a common problem for many tech companies, and it's important for engineering managers and tech leaders to address it.

Effective development planning can help employees to focus their efforts, prioritize their learning, and achieve their goals more effectively, thus contributing more to the success of the whole tech team and the company as a result.

Importance of Employee Development

Employee development is crucial for tech and engineering teams for a number of reasons. As technology continues to evolve, employees need to stay current with new tools, techniques, and best practices in order to be effective. Employee development can also help employees to expand their skill sets, take on new challenges, and grow their careers.

A study conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity found that organizations with a strong focus on employee development outperformed their peers by 47% in talent retention and had a 28% higher rate of productivity.

In addition, research from Deloitte University Press highlights the role of development planning in helping employees feel more fulfilled and satisfied in their careers, which can ultimately lead to improved retention and reduced turnover.

Benefits of employee development.

The benefits of employee development for the company and employees are numerous.

  • Improved Employee Satisfaction and Engagement: By providing opportunities for employees to develop new skills, grow in their careers, and take on new challenges, companies can create a more fulfilling and satisfying work experience for their employees. This can lead to increased engagement, motivation, and commitment to the company.
  • Increased Productivity and Performance: When employees have a clear understanding of their goals and objectives and the resources and support they need to achieve them, they are better equipped to perform at their highest level. This can result in improved productivity, higher-quality work, and a more positive impact on the bottom line.
  • Enhanced Talent Retention: Companies that invest in employee development are more likely to retain their top talent, as employees are more likely to feel satisfied and committed to the organization when they have opportunities to grow and develop in their careers.
  • Competitive Advantage: Companies that prioritize employee development can set themselves apart in the job market, attracting top talent and differentiating themselves from their competitors. This can be particularly important in the tech and engineering industries, where the demand for skilled professionals is high and the competition for top talent is fierce.

If development planning is not effective, employees may not be able to prioritize their learning or achieve their goals. They may also feel unfulfilled and disengaged from their work, which can have negative impacts on their productivity and morale. A lack of development planning can also result in a workforce that is not equipped to meet new challenges and technologies, which can hurt the competitiveness of the organization.

Steps of Effective Development Planning for Tech Teams

Step #1. Setting clear goals and objectives

The first step in effective development planning is to set OKR for every team member. This can include short-term goals for specific skills and long-term goals for career growth and development.

Ideally, OKRs of every team member should contribute to the whole team’s or a company’s big goal. Thus, everyone understands how they can help the company come to success by their everyday work or skills development. You can see how the OKR system of a tech team works in Ace:

Step #2. Identifying skill gaps and areas for improvement

The next step is to identify skill gaps and areas for improvement. This can involve evaluating employees' current skills and identifying areas where they need to grow in order to reach the OKR. This information can then be used to create a personalized development plan for each employee.

Ace allows to hold a skills review in a couple of clicks due to 100+ skills matrices integrated with the service and automatically generates a review report with the skill gaps.

Step #3. Creating a personalized development plan for each employee

Based on the OKR and the skill gaps, a manager creates a development plan with the list of focus skills for development. A development plan (or a growth plan) contains a list of tasks, learnijg materials for the development of focus skills, as well as a timeline for when the goals should be achieved.

It's important to provide resources and support for skill development. This can include access to training courses, mentorship opportunities, or access to specific tools or technologies. Providing resources and support can help employees to achieve their goals more effectively and can increase their engagement and motivation.

As an AI-powered tool, Ace will recommend you to create a personalized development plan for each team mate based on his/her review report and skill gaps.

Step #4. Regular review and adjustment of development plans during 1-on-1s

It's important to regularly review the skills and adjust development plans to ensure that they are still relevant and aligned with the goals of the team and organization.

Regular check-ins with employees during 1-on-1 meetings can also help to identify any obstacles or challenges they are facing and to adjust the development plan as needed. This can also provide opportunities for employees to give feedback on their development plans.

Clear communication is key to effective development planning. Employees should be involved in the development planning process and actively contribute to their development.

Ace will help you to track the implementation of the development plan by notifying you about the status of task completion. And recommend you to schedule a 1-on-1 meeting with an employee with a personalized agenda based on the info from integrated tools like GitHub, Jira, etc.


In conclusion, effective development planning is the key to unlocking employee potential and driving success for tech and engineering teams.

This step-by-step guide is a valuable resource for engineering managers and CTOs who are looking to improve the effectiveness of their development planning efforts. By following these best practices and incorporating the latest tools and technologies, such as Ace organizations can automate and enhance their development planning process, leading to improved employee satisfaction, enhanced performance, and a competitive advantage in the tech and engineering industries. With a focus on employee development, companies can foster a culture of growth and success and help their teams reach new heights.

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