Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing

Like collaboration, teamwork doesn't happen on its own. The forming, storming, norming, performing model (bit long but there you go) was proposed by Bruce Tuckman to describe the stages of a team going from strangers to effective co-workers.

1. Forming

  • Unsure of team's purpose and each other.
  • Unsure of where you fit in.
  • Looking for direction.

Tips for progressing

  • Help team members get to know each other and the project.
  • Establish clear goals and roles.
  • Work to establish personal goals which contribute to overall objective.

2. Storming

  • Make or break.
  • Conflict/friction may creep in as team member's characters and preferred ways of working surface and clash.
  • Push against boundaries and challenge authority and/or purpose.
  • Feeling overwhelmed if roles and responsibilities are not clear.
  • Frustration at process or perceived lack of progress.

Tips for progressing

  • Work on building strong team trust, asking for feedback and collaborating.
  • Embrace and encourage healthy conflict but be aware of friction. Look for points of conflict that indicate inefficiencies and larger issues the group can address.
  • Make sure everyone can have their say and one voice doesn't dominate others in group meetings.
  • Refocus on goals and break down vision into smaller, achievable steps if necessary.

3. Norming

  • Differences start to be resolved and individuals various strengths appreciated.
  • Team begins to align and respect direction + leadership.
  • More comfortable asking for help and feedback.

Tips for progressing

  • Work to keep strengthening team trust.
  • Encourage regular goal reviews and taking responsibility for achieving objectives.

4. Performing

  • Team starts performing at its full potential.

5. Adjourning

  • The project ends, teams break apart, people move on.
  • Depending on relationships formed and success/failure of project, people may find this stage difficult.

Tips for progressing

  • Celebrate achievements.
  • Use the time to reflect and review what worked well, what didn't, and what to do differently.

How is this helpful?

  • Identify the stage your team is in so you can consider what to do to move on to the next stage.
  • Review your conclusions regularly and adjust approach accordingly to facilitate better teamwork and performance as well as anticipate potential difficulties.