Back to School

September always reminds me of going back to school. I think about getting the kids ready for new classes and conducting annual staff appraisals since many new staff members start work on October 1—the date for new government fiscal year contracts. One of the most important parts of the annual appraisal process is the Annual Development Plan (ADP).

ADPs specify the plan and schedule for developing an employee’s skills and career. Throughout the year, I gave my staff members feedback on their performance so that I could focus on their ADPs during their annual appraisals. Table 1 lists the steps I used to create ADPs tailored to developing bid and proposal professionals. It also contains useful links to resources for improving your skill set.

Table 1: Seven steps for creating meaningful ADPs for proposal professionals

Reflect on your achievementsBegin by reviewing the past year. What were your accomplishments? What challenges did you overcome?
Identify your goalsDefine clear and achievable career objectives, whether it’s becoming a senior proposal manager, mastering a new proposal software, or earning a relevant Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) certification. Lohfeld Consulting teaches APMP certification classes and provides a free webinar on demand to help study for the Practitioner certification. Setting goals gives you a clear plan and direction.
Assess your skillsAnalyze your current skill set. What skills are vital for your goals? What skills do you need to improve?
Create a planDevelop a structured plan to bridge the skill gaps and reach your goals. Outline the steps, resources, and timelines required for each skill or competency you intend to acquire or enhance.
Identify training resourcesTake advantage of your organization’s resources, such as in-house training or mentorship programs. Consider taking Lohfeld Consulting classes on Capture Management, Proposal Writing, Strength-Based Winning®, and Proposal Management. Click here to learn more.
Stay informed on the latest industry trendsStay up to date with industry trends, best practices, and emerging technologies. Regularly read industry publications and blogs and attend industry events to broaden your knowledge. Lohfeld Consulting offers a twice-monthly email on the latest industry trends; click here to subscribe. In addition, one of the latest trends is artificial intelligence (AI). Lohfeld Consulting will begin offering an AI class for proposal professionals later this fall.
Measure and adjust your planSet up milestones and checkpoints to track your progress. Regularly assess whether you are on track and be open to adjusting your plan if necessary. Adjusting your plan as your goals or circumstances change helps keep you on track.


By investing time and effort into crafting your ADP, you take charge of your professional growth. It not only enhances your skills and knowledge but also positions you for a fulfilling and successful career in proposal management. As proposal professionals, we thrive on adaptability and continuous learning, so let your ADP be your compass in this journey.

By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow

Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals. As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $170B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at and join us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.