Using Bruce Tuckman's Phases of Team Development to Help Your Team Grow and Advance: 2021 Update

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For permission requests and high resolution versions of the Phases of Team Development image, see below.


2021 Update


Teams (agile or otherwise) go through phases of development, and Dr. Bruce Tuckman established a popular and durable framework on the subject. According to Dr. Tuckman, all phases—Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning—are necessary for teams to grow, tackle problems, find solutions, plan work, and deliver results.

Agile project management thought leader, influencer, and author Scott M. Graffius developed a related custom illustration, Phases of Team Development. It highlights the performance level, characteristics, and proven strategies for each of the phases. Project Managers, Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, DevOps Leads, and other professional can apply the information to help handle challenges or issues experienced by teams. By doing so, they’ll advance the teams' happiness and productivity, as well as the teams' (and their own) success. Graffius updates the content periodically.

He released an updated version of the visual on January 4, 2021. This article features the new version of the Phases of Team Development illustration. Read on for details including information on permission requests and downloadable high-resolution versions of the visual.

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Five Phases of Team Development

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1. Forming

Characteristics of Forming include displaying eagerness, socializing, generally polite tone, sticking to safe topics, being unclear about how one fits in, and some anxiety and questioning.

Strategies for this phase include taking the ‘lead,’ being highly visible, facilitating introductions, providing the ‘big picture,’ establishing clear expectations, communicating success criteria, and ensuring that response times are quick.

2. Storming

Traits of Storming include resistance, lack of participation, conflict related to differences of feelings and opinions, competition, high emotions, and starting to move towards group norms.

Strategies for this phase include requesting and encouraging feedback, identifying issues and facilitating their resolution, normalizing matters, and building trust by honoring commitments.


3. Norming

Features of Norming include an improved sense of purpose and understanding of goals, higher confidence, improved commitment, team members are engaged and supportive, relief—lowered anxiety, and starting to develop cohesion.

Strategies for this phase include recognizing individual and team efforts, proving opportunities for learning and feedback, and monitoring the ‘energy’ of the team.


4. Performing

Characteristics of Performing include higher motivation, elevated trust and empathy, individuals typically deferring to the team's needs, effective production, consistent performance, and demonstrations of interdependence and self-management (also referred to as self-organization).

Strategies for this phase include ‘guiding from the side’ (minimal intervention), celebrating successes, and encouraging collective decision-making and problem-solving.

5. Adjourning

Typical traits of Adjourning (also referred to as Transitioning or Mourning) include a shift to process orientation, sadness, recognition of team and individual efforts, and disbanding.

Strategies for this phase include recognizing change, providing an opportunity for summative team evaluations (which may go by
lessons learned, post-project review, retrospective, or another label), providing an opportunity for individual acknowledgments, and celebrating the team's accomplishments—which may involve a party and possibly an after-party.

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The illustration summarizes the above information—and it shows how performance fluctuates as teams move through each phase. This information may be helpful for looking at your team.

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Downloadable High-Resolution Versions of 'Phases of Team Development' Illustration

For permission requests, contact the email address noted in the image.

High resolution versions of the updated Phases of Team Development image are available at the following links:
here for the JPG file and here for the PNG file.

Citation: Graffius, Scott M. (2021). Phases of Team Development. Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.13140/RG.2.2.22040.42246. DOI link: https://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.22040.42246.

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Bibliography

Select list of publications

  • Alford, J. (2019, April 11). Our Co-Production Journey: From Sandpits to Bird Boxes. London, United Kingdom: Imperial College London.
  • Bennett, M., Gadlin, H., & Marchand, C. (2018). Collaboration Team Science: Field Guide. Rockville, MD: National Institutes of Health.
  • Couture, N. (2016, October 27). A Note About Teams. CIO. Boston, MA: International Data Group (IDG).
  • Daly, L. (2002). Identify Your Project Management Team’s Level of Development and Facilitate It to Success. Paper presented at Project Management Institute Annual Seminars and Symposium, San Antonio, TX. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
  • Deloitte (2017). Digital Era Technology Operating Models, Volume 2. New York, NY: Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.
  • Finkelstein, S. (2017, October 29). Why Companies Should Hire Teams, Not Individuals. The Wall Street Journal. New York, NY: The Wall Street Journal.
  • Forbes (2018, April 23). How to Fast-Track Any Team to Success. Forbes. New York, NY: Forbes.
  • Forbes (2012, October 27). How the iPad Mini is Defining Tim Cook’s Apple. Forbes. New York, NY: Forbes.
  • Glover, P. (2012, March 13). Team Conflict: Why It’s a Good Thing. Fast Company. New York, NY: Mansueto Ventures.
  • Graffius, Scott M. (2021). Phases of Team Development. Los Angeles, CA: Scott M. Graffius. Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.13140/RG.2.2.22040.42246. 
  • Jovanovic, M., Mesquida, A., Radaković, N., & Mas, A. (2016). Agile Retrospective Games for Different Team Development Phases. Journal of Universal Computer Science, 22: 1489-1508.
  • Kane, G. C. (2014, October 7). Why Your Company is Probably Measuring Social Media Wrong. MIT Sloan Management Review. Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan Management Review.
  • KPMG (2017). The Digital Fund, Season 2. Amstelveen, Netherlands: KPMG International.
  • Madden, D. (2019, May 19). The Four Stages of Building a Great Team – and the One Where Things Usually Go Wrong. Inc. Magazine. New York, NY: Inc. Magazine.
  • Makar, A. (2011, July 13). Lessons Learned in Norming and Performing Team Development Phases. Louisville, KY: TechRepublic.
  • Martinuzzi, B. (2012, June 8). Six Tips Guaranteed to Reduce Workplace Frustrations. New York, NY: American Express Company.
  • Microsoft (2019, June 15). Is the Latest Technology the Key to Your Team’s Success, or is There Something Else? Microsoft Developer Support. Accessed at: https://devblogs.microsoft.com/premier-developer/is-the-latest-technology-the-key-to-your-teams-success-or-is-there-something-else. Redmond, WA: Microsoft.
  • Mocko, G., & Linnerud, B. (2016). Measuring the Effects of Goal Alignment on Innovative Engineering Design Projects. International Journal of Engineering Education, 32: 55-63.
  • Romanelli, M. (2019, September 11). Teamwork Accelerated. PM Times. Newmarket, Ontario, Canada: Macgregor Communications.
  • Riggs, A. (2020, October 15). Why I Start All My Video Meetings with Collaborative Games (Spoiler: It’s Not Boredom). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: The Next Web (TNW).
  • Rowley, D., & Lange, M. (2007). Forming to Performing: The Evolution of an Agile Team. IEEE Computer Society Proceedings. Agile 2007, 1: 408-414.
  • Scrum Alliance (2020). Learning Objectives Examples. Denver, CO: Scrum Alliance.
  • Sakpal, M. (2020, March 3. Learn How to Debunk These Five Restructuring Myths. Stamford, CT: Gartner, Inc.
  • Stern, S. (2018, September 26). Is Your Team Working the Rory Underwood Way? Financial Times. London, United Kingdom: The Financial Times, a Nikkei Company.
  • Telford, R. (2013, June 4). This is Where It Gets Interesting. Armonk, NY: International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation.
  • Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental Sequence in Small Groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63: 384-399.
  • Tuckman, B. W., & Jensen, M. A. C. (1977). Stages of Small-Group Development Revisited. Group and Organizational Studies, 2 (4): 419-427.
  • United States Army (2015). Innovative Learning: A Key to National Security. Washington, DC: Uni
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About Scott M. Graffius



Scot founder, CEO, and principal consultant at Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions™ and subsidiary Exceptional Agility™, based in Los Angeles, California. His expertise spans project, program, portfolio, and PMO leadership inclusive of agile, traditional, and hybrid approaches. Content from his books, workshops, speaking engagements, and more have been featured and used by businesses, governments, and universities including Gartner, Microsoft, Deloitte, Oracle, Cisco, Ford, Qantas, Atlassian, Bayer, the National Academy of Sciences, the United States Department of Energy, the United States Army, Project Management Institute, the IEEE, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Warsaw University of Technology, University of Waterloo, Loughborough University London, and others. Graffius has spoken at 58 conferences and other events around the world, including Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States. Thinkers360 named Graffius a global top thought leader and influencer in four domains: Agile, Change Management, Digital Transformation, and GovTech.

His full bio is available at
https://www.scottgraffius.com.

Connect with Scott on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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The short URL for this article is: bit.ly/teams-21



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© Copyright 2021 Scott M. Graffius. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written permission of Scott M. Graffius.





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Scott M. Graffius Speaking at United Arab Emirates Chapter of Project Management Institute



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Scott M. Graffius will present a talk on team development and leadership, "Navigate the Phases of Team Development with Speed and Agility for Happier and More Productive Teams," at an event of the United Arab Emirates Chapter of the Project Management Institute on Thursday, 13 January 2022, from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m. Gulf Time. Register at
https://pmiuae.org/en/event-registrations/webinar-navigate-the-phases-of-team-development-with-speed-and-agility-for-happier-and-more-productive-teams.

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About "Navigate the Phases of Team Development with Speed and Agility or Happier and More Productive Teams"

Description

Want happier and more productive teams? Among other things, it takes great leadership. And proven strategies can provide a real edge! Enter Bruce Tuckman's phases of team development — a model that’s stood the test of time because it remains highly relevant and beneficial. If you are a leader (or aspire to be one), a member of a team (or may be in one in the future), or are just looking to develop your skills, this talk (based on Bruce Tuckman's model, but with a fresh angle: 0% theory, 100% real-world-based) will give you a practical framework with actionable tips for working in and leading teams of all types successfully. You'll learn about the five phases — Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning — including detailed descriptions of each along with proven strategies for addressing challenges or issues which may occur along the way. You'll understand how to use the model to your advantage by effectively navigating all of the phases with speed and agility, from team set-up to the after-party! Which helps advance the teams’ happiness, productivity, and success.

The presentation draws on the speaker’s first-hand, real-world experience, with guidance supported by research, recommendations, and coverage from the Project Management Institute, Google, Microsoft, IEEE, MIT, Software Engineering Institute, Harvard Business Review, and many others.

Benefits/Key Learning Objectives

This talk will help attendees develop and enhance the contributions they make to their organizations by being able to:
  • Understand the five stages of team development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning.
  • Learn the characteristics of each phase.
  • Apply proven strategies to help handle challenges or issues experienced by teams. By doing so, they’ll advance the teams' (and their own) success.

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About Scott M. Graffius

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Scott M. Graffius, PMP, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, CSM, CSPO, SFE, LSSGB, ITIL | High resolution photo available here



Scott M. Graffius, PMP, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, CSM, CSPO, SFE, ITIL, LSSGB is an agile project management practitioner, consultant, award-winning author, and international speaker. He has generated over 1.75 billion dollars of business value in aggregate for the organizations he has served. Graffius is the founder, CEO, and principal consultant at Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions™ and subsidiary Exceptional Agility™, based in Los Angeles, California. His expertise spans project, program, portfolio, and PMO leadership inclusive of agile, traditional, and hybrid approaches. Content from his books, workshops, speaking engagements, and more have been featured and used by businesses, governments, and universities including Gartner, Microsoft, Deloitte, Oracle, Cisco, Ford, Qantas, Atlassian, Bayer, the National Academy of Sciences, the United States Department of Energy, the United States Army, Project Management Institute, the IEEE, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Warsaw University of Technology, University of Waterloo, Loughborough University London, and others. Graffius has spoken at 58 conferences and other events around the world, including Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States. Thinkers360 named Graffius a global top thought leader and influencer in four domains: Agile, Change Management, Digital Transformation, and GovTech.

His full bio is available at
https://www.scottgraffius.com.

Connect with Scott on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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About the United Arab Emirates Chapter of the Project Management Institute

The United Arab Emirates Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI UAE) is a professional project management organization, chartered by the PMI in 2014. The Chapter’s vision is: “Empower and influence individuals with the innovative Project Economy principals to turn ideas into a reality.” Its mission is: “To disrupt and create value driven to our chapter members and partners to become agile, innovative, productive in the platform for the growth of Project Economy.” And the Chapter is driven by 11 values: innovation, accountability, trust, equality, compassion, collaboration, commitment, community, determination, engagement, and learning.

To learn more about the PMI UAE, visit
https://pmiuae.org/en/.

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About the Project Management Institute

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the world's leading professional association for a growing community of millions of project professionals and change-makers worldwide. As the leading authority on project management, the PMI empowers people to make ideas a reality. Through global advocacy, networking, collaboration, research, and education, the PMI helps prepare organizations and individuals to work smarter in a dynamic and rapidly changing world.

Building on a prominent legacy dating to 1969, the PMI is a “for-purpose” organization working in nearly every country around the world to advance careers, strengthen organizational success, and enable change-makers with new skills and ways of working to maximize their impact. The PMI provides global standards, certifications, online courses, thought leadership, tools, digital publications, communities, and more.

To learn more about the PMI, visit
https://www.pmi.org/.

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The short link for this article is: https://bit.ly/blg-uae

The event covered by this article appears in the Public Speaker section of the website
here



© Copyright 2021 Scott M. Graffius. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written permission of Scott M. Graffius.




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