5 Stages of a Team Development Tuckman

Dr. Bruce W. Tuckman, a psychology at the Ohio State University published a theory in 1965 called ‘Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development’.

Initially, it was a 4-stage model Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing but later in 1977 a fifth stage Adjourning was included Mary Ann Jensen and the Dr. Bruce Tuckman both jointly worked on the last stage. It is also known as Tuckman ladder model.

As you know, a project has a definite start and a definite end. It means the same will happen to every stakeholder of the project.

5 Stages of Team Development

Most of the teams follow these stages on the way to deliver high performance. These stages start from the time that a group that first meets and then separated as the project ends.

Let jump in straight to see the five stages and have a brief discussion on;

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing
  5. Adjourning

I will try to explain these 5 stages by a graph so that you can get a simple way to get into your memory.

Team Development Process

Let’s have a graphical representation of this process with time and team effectiveness point of view on any project;

5 Stages of Team Development.

You can see clearly that effectiveness is almost the same for Forming & Adjourning stage but is way down in storming. As a project manager your major task to handle this stage effectively than other stages.

Let’s see these stages one by one now;

Forming Stage

Here, in this stage team members meet for the first time.

Team members are

  • Positive
  • Polite
  • Anxious
  • Excited

In this stage, the team members are like independent entity, no bond with others and responsibilities are clear. Your role as a leader to make efforts and let them mingle and introduce with frequent meetings.

Storming Stage

As you can on the above graph that the effectiveness of any team is drastically dropped in this storming stage. The name storm is justified here. Storming is the stage where most teams fail. As a leader make sure to discuss below in meetings

  • Each Member’s skills
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Set Ground Rules

Team members are not able to understand and following factors play an important role and hence need to understand properly;

Boundaries – Members start to push against the established informing stage

Workload – Each member think the I am only the working the most

Working styles – Each member has it’s own natural style. This can cause unforeseen issues and may frustrate other members.

How to Handle Storming Stage

Set proper ground rules to follow by as soon as possible. Team members can challenge your authority – show them Project charter. Define clearly the responsibilities with proper authority for each and every one. This will reduce the chaos among all. Some members may resist taking a task that is not clearly defined in his/her domain hence make sure to define and assign to related one as soon as possible.

Norming  Stage

In the above graph, this is the stage where team effectiveness should go up exponentially if not then you are in big trouble for successful completion.

In this stage the behavior of team members completely changed;

  • They appreciate each other’s strengths
  • They socialize together
  • They ask one another for help
  • They provide constructive feedback
  • They develop a stronger commitment to the project objectives
  • As a team leader, you observe more respect in your authority. Also, you start to get good progress towards set goals.

You may often see a prolonged overlap between storming and norming, because, as new tasks come up. And the team may go back into the storming stage. Sit and help the members take responsibilities towards the goal.

Performing Stage

You will see the maximum possible effectiveness of your team in this stage. All the issues are resolved and the team is fully involved in the project goals as well as the organizational objectives.

Here, you will see the fruit of your efforts in making that structure. Work leads without friction, no resistance.

In the performing stage, you feel easy to be part of the team, and you can easily accommodate new people and makes no difference if some leave at this stage.

Now, you can start to focus on other goals and areas of work.

Adjourning Stage

This is the sad part and is the reality of project life that it ends – a definite end. The team you have developed was only for a fixed period of time. I have seen permanent teams are disbanded as per organizational structures. Most of the people here need to find new opportunities or else they need to merge on a new existing team.

You can say it is the emotional part as a bond is going to be broken. The working relationship one has developed is going to end. Hard times friends are gone and the future is uncertain.

But!

Being a leader, always take the time to appreciate and must celebrate the team’s achievements.  You can find them again or retain if possible. It is rather easy to work again with people you have already involved earlier.

Final Words

If you are still looking at how to handle the new member in existing team them you need to review that on which stage you got a member. Let say if you will get a member at the performing stage then it may affect much on an overall team but if you got in storming phase then it is the issue. Same is the case if anyone leaves the project depends on which stage you are in. Always make sure to establish processes and structures, earn trust and build relationships, resolve conflicts.


One Small Request:

I understand life is busy when you work especially in the Project Management field. We really have no time to play around the internet. I only can request you share this information to other colleagues. It will help me to grow my blog and can reach to more people. Thank you for visiting.


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2 thoughts on “5 Stages of a Team Development Tuckman”

  1. Nicely explained mate. Hope we will get more posts about PMP preparations. The graph was brilliant. I hope now I can easily crack questions about Tuckman ladder now.

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