The phrase Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing was coined in 1965 by psychologist Bruce Tuckman. He described that most teams follow a consistent path from the point when they are first assembled to the time when they become a highly proficient, highly effective group. This path leads them through four distinct stages; Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.
The “Forming” stage begins when new team members are first brought together. Initially everybody is very positive and polite to one another. Some people are anxious, some are excited. The team members are fairly unaware of the details of the work ahead (blissfully naïve perhaps) and they look for clear direction from the leader. Formal processes and project frameworks are not yet established. This stage is usually short in comparison to the others.
Next is the “Storming” stage. At this stage team members become clear about their roles and what is expected of them. Processes and project structures are put into full effect. The team may feel frustrated and overwhelmed by the work as they become more aware of the realities of the job. They may be stressed by how much there is to accomplish and they may have uncertainties about their ability to do the assigned work. Or, they may simply be uncomfortable with the approach that is laid out by the leader. Team members still don’t know each other that well as they continue to form opinions of one another. They may be jockeying for position within the team or even challenging the leader’s authority. Conflicts arise more often during this stage. A great deal of oversight is needed by the team leader to ensure the processes are followed and the work is completed to expectations.
The “Norming” stage is where the team begins to catch their stride. The pecking order of the team is established and team processes and workflow are beginning to solidify. Each team member understands the strength of the other members and they all begin to work more as a team. They help each other and provide peer reviews and constructive criticism. At this point, the team is following the processes and project framework but may not be working as efficiently as they could be. They still need oversight but significantly less than in the storming stage.
Finally, the “Performing” stage is reached. The team has a solid understanding of the processes and project framework that have been put into place and follow them efficiently. The team has become efficient and productive and it reaches its goals with regularity. At this stage if a team member joins or leaves it will have little impact on the rest of the team’s performance. The team leader can delegate to team members with confidence and provide minimal oversight.
posted @ Friday, February 11, 2011 9:16 PM by Chris Adams