Team Development Stages – Tuckman Model Explained

Adriana Girdler

Need a team development model for reference? Here’s all you need to know Do you have team issues? We’ve all been there. And let me …

Need a team development model for reference? Here’s all you need to know

Do you have team issues? We’ve all been there. And let me tell you, the most helpful thing you can do to solve those team issues is to understand the five stages of team development.

The Tuckman Model is a great way to start getting through any of those problems. Once you understand the five stages of team development, you can identify what your team needs to perform their best.

So, here they are, explained!

1) Forming

The forming stage outlines the point at which everyone has first gotten together. At this point, people are still figuring out the norms of the group and aren’t likely to openly present their new ideas. The great part about this stage is that everyone is on their best behaviour; but as a project manager, you’ve got the big responsibility of guiding everyone in the right direction. You ought to be especially mindful of this during he forming stage so you can kick off your team development on the right foot!

2) Storming

In the storming stage, people are starting to show their working styles. This might mean that you’ve got conflict popping up, hidden agendas coming to light, and team members challenging the person of authority. As the project manager, it’s your job to call out the ‘elephant in the room.’ And if you want to successfully get your team through this stage, you can’t be afraid to do so!

3) Norming

This stage is exactly what it sounds like: people have gotten past the hiccups and are becoming aware of their own activities. The clouds have parted, so to speak, and people are tackling their own tasks and responsibilities effectively. This means that team members are starting to take ownership of their responsibilities, giving the project manager an easier time with their job of managing. Norming reveals the positives of everyone working together.

4) Performing

Now, we get to the most beautiful part of the team development stages – the performing stage. This stage is great because at this point, everyone is synced. Team members stop thinking of themselves as individuals and start thinking of each other as a collective group, meaning that the team starts acting as one unit and individuals help each other out with things. This is an amazing stage to be in; and if you know how to effectively get through the previous stages, you’ll be able to get here!

The last stage in the model is called adjourning, which has to do with closing things off and departing on a positive note. There are many emotions and some complications that can come with this, and that’s why I want you to understand it in detail. There are also some ways you can be creative with it, cultivating an environment where departing the project doesn’t happen hastily.

I’d like to invite you over to the video I made about the five stages of team development that reviews all these stages in full, along with some ideas and tips based on my own experience for how to carry through each stage, including a helpful definition and suggestions on the stage of adjourning.

If you’ve come this far, I highly recommend you don’t stop here; take a few minutes to learn more about how to properly and effectively take your team through the five stages of team development. Spend a few minutes with me over on YouTube and we’ll finish the conversation!


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Adriana Girdler is a project manager, productivity specialist, entrepreneur, professional speaker, facilitator, visioning wizard, and author. As President of CornerStone Dynamics, Adriana is one of Canada’s prominent business productivity and project management specialists—helping both individuals and businesses do what they do, only better. She is a certified master black belt lean six sigma with over 20 years’ experience improving how companies work.

She also holds both PMP (project management professional) and CET (certified engineering technologist) designations. She’s a Tedx speaker, as well as a HuffPost and Thrive Global contributor. She has been interviewed on Global, CBC, CTV, CHCH, 680News Radio, Newstalk 1010, Sirius XM and published in the Globe and Mail and numerous industry magazines. WANT ADRIANA'S FREE ONLINE TRAINING? In 45 min, learn Adriana's 5 project management secrets she use on EVERY project. Sign up for the Free Webinar here: THE FAB FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

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