The Stages of Project Team Development

Posted by Brad Egeland

project team development The Stages of Project Team DevelopmentI caught the following information while reading a book from 1995 by James Lewis.  The book is entitled, “Fundamentals of Project Management.”  In this section Mr. Lewis describes one model of team development that is comprised of four general formation stages that teams go through on projects: forming, storming, norming, and performing.  Below, each stage is described and some detail by Mr. Lewis.  I realize that this text is at least 15 years old, but it does seem interesting and relevant still.  I’d also like to hear your thoughts and feedback on this topic.

The four stages

There are a number of models that describe the stages through which teams or groups pass on the way to maturity. One of the more popular ones has self-explanatory titles for the stages: forming, storming, norming, and performing.

Forming stage

In the forming stage, people are concerned with how they will fit in, who calls the shots and makes decisions, and so on. During this stage they look to the leader (or someone else) to give them some structure—that is, to give them a sense of direction and to help them get started. Failure of the leader to do this may result in losing the team to some member who exercises what we call informal leadership.

Storming stage

In the storming stage, people begin to question their goals. Are they on the right track? Is the leader really leading them? They sometimes play shoot-the-leader during this stage. The storming stage is frustrating for most people.

Norming stage

In the norming stage team members begin to resolve their conflicts and to settle down to work. They have developed norms (unwritten rules) about how they will work together, and they feel more comfortable with each other. Each individual has found his place in the team and knows what to expect of the others.

Performing stage

When the team members reach the performing stage, the leader’s job is easier. Team members generally work well together now, enjoy doing so, and tend to produce high-quality results. They can really be called a team at this point.

Information for this article was derived, in part, from a section of James Lewis’ book entitled, “Fundamentals of Project Management.”

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Related posts:

  1. Taking a Project Team Through the Four Stages of Team Development
  2. Five Stages of High-Performance Teams – Part 1
  3. Five Stages of High-Performance Teams – Part 2
  4. Seven Steps to Project Success – Part 3
  5. Understanding Project Team Roles and Responsibilities

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