Recently, several teams in our engineering department undertook a massive, ludicrously complex, business-critical infrastructure project. The number of risks and dependencies sent these established and cohesive dev teams into a flurry of (ultimately, unproductive and/or counter-productive) activity. If your team has ever thrashed about like this, then you know what “storming” is. This is the stage when things begin to settle down as your team finds their groove. As they grow more comfortable working together, team members are more comfortable asking for help completing a task or getting constructive feedback.

phases of team development

During these meetings, review the last weeks or months to celebrate team wins and take an honest look at what didn’t go to plan. Pinpoint where the group can advance moving forward and create a plan of action to help employees improve in the future. The performing stage offers the perfect opportunity to check in with each employee to work through roadblocks, give feedback, and discuss individual growth. At this stage, leaders should communicate regularly with each team member to ensure expectations are clear and to avoid slowing down their progress. During one-on-one meetings, determine what resources employees need to work efficiently and equip them with the necessary tools.

Lastly, reflect on the project in the adjourning stage

The end of a project is naturally a great time to reflect, collect final learning points and think about what you might improve or do differently in the future. For an adjourning team, this can be an important step in enabling further growth and supercharging future projects and ensuring everyone is well positioned for whatever they do next. Crucially, you and your team should find some way to share learning points through reflection and then document them effectively. You might start a new project and mix up your team make-up or try new things that result in some conflicts in perspective but also allow your team to grow. While it’s important to accept that remaining exclusively in the Performing stage – particularly for long-serving teams –  is unrealistic, it’s also worth remembering that this is the ideal state. As such, it’s vital you document learning points and strategies that have worked for you and your team while Performing so you can apply them again in the future.

phases of team development

As time goes on, the team continues to grow and work naturally together, creating a workflow that is acceptable for everyone. By understanding the five stages of team development, you phases of team development can be actively aware of how teams develop and become successful. You can use this understanding to set up better teams and get through challenges more smoothly.

How to use the 5 stages of team development (and build better teams!)

The role of the team leader is especially vital during Forming, as group members will look to them for guidance, direction, and leadership. Because storming can be contentious, members who are averse to conflicts may find it unpleasant or even painful. This can decrease motivation and effort by drawing attention away from tasks.

A proof of concept (POC) should hold precedence for a new product development idea as it helps check the idea’s feasibility. There is no point in zeroing in on an idea that is not technically feasible to build. The product building and launching had their ups and downs, but his conviction to have this product led to a great business idea. New product development is the process of converting an idea into a workable software product. A large part of moving from Norming to Performing is empowering the members of your team to do work that excites and engages them individually as well as a group. Even when a team is performing at a high standard, there are often opportunities for individual action and proactivity that can help maintain growth and keep everyone in a group happy.

on-1 meeting templates

It’s different for remote marketing teams because you can’t see what people are working on. To remedy this problem, put processes in place that make it easy for designers, for example, to see how content is developing so that they can anticipate when they’ll be able to complete their updates. Instead of letting team members battle it out in private messages select the best solution, be ready to invite them into a chat room to offer advice or ask some key questions.

  • Changes, such as members coming or going or large-scale changes in the external environment, can lead a team to cycle back to an earlier stage.
  • The team may need to develop both task-related skills and group process and conflict management skills.
  • In this activity from Hyper Island, group members create their own questions on post-its and trade them with other group members as they mingle and break the ice.
  • In this method, invite participants to write a few words of what they most value about their colleagues on a piece of paper before passing it along to the next person.
  • Validate your assumptions about what your customers need, then proactively decide what you’re not doing right now so you don’t get distracted.
  • In the performing stage, everyone is devoted to reaching their goal as a group, and the team members have grown closer on a personal level.

Teammates meet, discover group member strengths and weaknesses, explore the basics of the project, and form group goals. Group members designate roles and delegate responsibilities with help from team leaders. Team development is how teams come together and organize themselves to meet their goals. The five stages of team development outline how team dynamics shift as work progresses and define a path forward for leaders to support their employees.

What is the Tuckman model?

Unless the team is patient and tolerant of these differences, the team and project can’t succeed. To make things more tangible, here’s a brief overview of the behaviors, feelings, group needs, and leadership needs in the Forming Stage. Similarly, she has established that teams should use warm-up activities — like physical exercise and mind games — to ensure a smooth transition from the Forming Stage to the Norming Stage. At this initial stage, a glimpse of a future project leader may emerge. For illustration, the person with the largest knowledge about the project’s subject takes unofficial charge. In other words, any team setting that requires high performance can benefit from using this model.

phases of team development

To be effective, teams need to be explicit about the ways they will work together. Teams don’t need a lot of groundrules to work together well, but everyone on the team should agree to the groundrules and share responsibility for ensuring that they are followed. It’s particularly important in a team environment that team members know what is expected of each of them. Without these expectations, members can’t develop mutual accountability or trust in the team. When a team’s expectations are clear and members meet (or exceed) expectations, trust and an increased sense of “teamness” are natural by-products. Draw a simple four-stage diagram and ask each person to place a dot or sticky note next to the stage they think the team is at.


During this stage, teammates are excited to join the team and eager to begin new tasks and projects. At stage one, employees have high expectations for themselves and their colleagues. They are driven to succeed, which may cause some anxiety as they get to know their peers and settle into the team’s culture. Employees at this stage are curious and may outwardly showcase their enthusiasm and ask plenty of questions.

phases of team development

In the performing stage, teams are in sync and work more efficiently together than at any previous stage. Teams that have been working closely for some time have resolved enough issues to understand what success looks like for them. For example, success can be anything from higher customer acquisition to a positive shift in the metrics they’re tracking. Team learning is often necessary to execute healthy team development and providing your team with the tools they need to thrive is good for them and your organization. These tools may include team development discussions, training, or workshops. During the Norming stage, members shift their energy to the team’s goals and show an increase in productivity, in both individual and collective work.

Fourth, encourage continued growth in the performing stage

A great team will ensure your project is completed well and on time. In contrast, an ok team can mean delays, loss of quality, and a lot of additional work. Learn more about effective communication in our Communicating with Others learning topic. Commitment is demonstrated by the active backing for the decision by every team member.

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