What are the Stages of Team Development? Description
The Tuckman Stages of Team Development can be used for identifying factors
that are critical for building and developing small groups.
Tuckman's Stages of Team Development model seeks to explain how a team
develops over time. The five stages of development are: Forming, Storming,
Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. The Adjourning stage was added later
in 1977. According to Tuckman, all of the phases are necessary and inevitable
- in order for the team to grow, to face up to challenges, to tackle problems,
to find solutions, to plan work, and to deliver results.
Origin of the Stages of Team Development. History
Bruce Wayne Tuckman (1938- ) published in 1965 a short article "Developmental
Sequence in Small Groups". In 1977, he added the fifth stage: Adjourning (Stages
of Small Group Development Revisited). The model of group became influential
in group development theory, partly thanks to its rhyme.
Usage of Tuckman's Stages of Team Development. Applications
- Build and develop teams.
- Analyze the behavior of teams.
the Stages of Team Development. Process
- Forming. Project team initiation phase.
- Project Team is initially concerned with orientation, accomplished
primarily through testing. Such testing serves to identify the boundaries
of both interpersonal and task behaviors. Coincident with testing in the
interpersonal realm is the establishment of dependency relationships with
leaders, other group members, or pre‑existing standards.
- Team Members behave quite independently. They may be motivated
but are usually relatively uninformed of the issues and objectives of
the team. Some team members may display traits of uncertainty and anxiety.
- Project Manager must bring the team together, ensuring that
they trust each other and have the ability to develop a working relationship.
Directing or "telling" style. Sharing the concept of "Forming, Storming,
Norming, Performing" with the team can be helpful.
- Storming. Various ideas compete, often fiercely, for consideration.
- Project Team gains confidence, but there is conflict and polarization
around interpersonal issues
- Team Members are showing their own personalities as they confront
each other's ideas and perspectives. Frustration or disagreements about
goals, expectations, roles and responsibilities is being expressed openly.
- Project Manager guides the project team through this turbulent
transition phase. Coaching style. Tolerance of each team member and their
differences needs to be emphasized.
- Norming. Rules, values, behavior, methods, tools are being established.
- Project Team effectiveness increases and the team starts to
develop an identity.
- Team Members adjust their behavior to each other as they develop
agreements to make the teamwork more natural and fluid. Conscious effort
to resolve problems and to achieve group harmony. Motivation levels are
- Project Manager allows the team to become much more autonomous.
- Performing. The interpersonal structure becomes the tool of task
activities. Roles become flexible and functional, and group energy is channeled
into the task.
- Project Team is now able to function as a unit. It gets the
job done smoothly and effectively without inappropriate conflict or the
need for external supervision.
- Team Members have a clear understanding of what is required
of them at a task level. They are now competent, autonomous and able to
handle the decision-making process without supervision. A "can do" attitude
is visible. Offers to assist one another are made.
- Project Manager lets the team make most of the necessary decisions.
- Adjourning. The tasks are being completed and the team is disassembled.
- Project Team. Some authors describe stage 5 as "Deforming and
Mourning", recognizing the sense of loss felt by group members.
- Team Members' motivation levels can decline as uncertainty
about the future begins to set in.
- Project Manager: Good point to introduce new projects in order
to recommence the forming stage of team development. Detaching style.
Strengths of the Stages of Team Development model. Benefits
- Provides a level of guidance for team development.
Limitations of the Stages of Team Development framework. Disadvantages
- Note that the model was designed to describe stages in small
- In reality, group processes may not be as linear as Tuckman describes
them, but rather cyclical.
- Characteristics for each stage are not set in stone, and as the model
deals with human behavior, it is sometimes unclear when a team has moved
from one stage to another. There may be overlap between the stages.
- The model does not take account of the individual roles that team members
will have to undertake. Compare:
Belbin Team Roles
- There is no guidance on the timeframe for moving from one stage to another.
This is a subjective as opposed to an objective model.
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Compare with the Tuckman Stages of Team Development:
Profile | Belbin
Team Roles | PMBOK
| IPMA Competence Baseline
(ICB) | PAEI |
Action Learning |
| Leadership Continuum
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