It’s important for you to understand how your newly selected project team will behave and “gel” over time. Knowing what to expect will help you be a better project team leader.
All new teams go through stages of development (some faster or slower than others). When a team forms, they experience four stages of development. These stages of were proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965 who maintained that the stages were not only necessary for team development but inevitable. Here’s what to expect after you have selected your team and they begin to mature…
Four stages of Team Development Process
What Teams Seek at Each Stage
- Forming stage they seek inclusion
- Storming stage they seek direction and guidance
- Norming stage they seek agreement
- Performing stage they seek results
Patterns of Teams in Each Stage
In the forming stage it’s common for roles and responsibilities to be unclear and for teams to ignore process & procedures. You’ll find that scope and parameter setting is loosely attempted and discussions are vague and frustrating. In the forming stage, there is high dependence on leadership for guidance. That means you’ll be critical to the development of your team during this stage.
When teams enter the storming stages they often attempt to skip the research and jump quickly to solutions. They may show signs of impatience for other team members regarding lack of progress. Arguments about decisions and actions of the team will be observable as team member’s angle for position. Team subgroups or clicks may form and power struggles will also be evident
After the team evolves through the storming stage they begin to find agreement and consensus. Roles and responsibilities are more accepted and team member engagement increases. Social relationships begin to develop and the leader becomes more enabling while increasingly sharing authority.
Now the magic begins, the team is directionally aware and agrees on objectives. Autonomy is now characteristic of the team. Disagreements are resolved within the team and above average expectations of performance have been established in high performing teams.
Project Team Development
Well-chosen and well-structured project teams are essential components of any successful Six Sigma project. An energized project team that is properly managed through these four stages of development can be expected to be assets with regard to project success. You will have far more success executing project deliverables if you understand and embrace the four stages of team development.