What is the SDT?

The Staged Development Tool (SDT) is a process and toolkit to help NPHIs function at a higher level. The results of SDT planning is a roadmap to building capacity and increasing impact in areas the NPHI considers a priority.  

The SDT involves three steps:

STEP ONE: Assess

28 Discussion Guides have been developed to help NPHIs determine their maturity in priority areas and identify areas for improvement. By providing examples of what these maturity stages look like, Discussion Guides facilitate conversations that help participants clarify their NPHI’s current state, desired state, and major gaps that need to be addressed to move to their ideal state. NPHIs can reapply the SDT assessment at different time intervals to determine if the steps taken to address gaps led to significant improvements in capacity.

STEP TWO: Prioritize

The next step is to decide the highest priorities for planning. Prioritization can be done using the SDT forms as the basis for discussion and/or using structured approaches, like multi-voting or criteria matrices. Careful definition of the priorities – ensuring they address the most important issues and are actionable – provides a good basis for Step Three: Plan.


Once the NPHI has identified its gaps and decided on its highest priorities for planning, work-planning can begin. The Work‐Planning form helps NPHIs organize the plans into activities and milestones, and get agreement on who is responsible and when the work should be done.