Bruce Tuckman’ s 4 stage model is used to describe and analyze team behavior. Within the model there are 4 stages: forming, storming, norming, and performing.
In the forming stage this is when the team is being formed and the dependence for a leader is mandatory because the leader will start to shape the team to complete the scope or objective of why the team is together. This stage is the most demanding for a leader as the leader will be tested the most here. An example of this would be from the movie Miracle and the 1980 US Men’s Hockey Team when coach Herb Brooks was tested by his players for his unique management style as Brooks went against traditional methods for creating his hockey team.
In the storming stage this is where the team’s subculture forms. People will be searching or fighting for position while subgroups may form within the team. An example of this could be carried over from the example above. Even though there was 22 men on the team and 6 men on the ice at all times, there were small units or teams that worked together. The 1980’s US Men’s Hockey Team was famous for putting out their “Conehead Line” which only consisted of 3 members of the team, but they played very well together. It is was a subgroup of the team, and still worked very well with the rest of the team, but this team performed better together.
In the norming stage this is when the team excepts everything the way it is. Each member understands their role and their part on the team. This is where the team figures out how work is going to be done. If you want to use the case of the US Men’s Hockey Team, at this point everyone knows what position they are playing in and they can practice plays to be executed for a game.
In the performing stage, this is when the work gets done. This is when the team as acting like a cohesive unit, each member knows their part, and they all come together to do what needs to be done to accomplish the team objective. For the US Men’s Hockey Team, the first objective was to beat the Russian Men’s Hockey Team. The second objective was to win the gold medal.
In Tuckman’s model in his later work, he added a 5th stage which is called adjourning. This is when the team ends or dissipates as the objective is completed or no longer able to achieve. With the US Men’s Hockey team, this is what happened after they got their gold medals, each individual went their own separate way. In regards to project management this is the life cycle of the project team as they each come together for a specific purpose and dissipate when all deliverables and objectives of the project have been met.
Based on Donald Clark’s questionnaire for Tuckman’s Assessment, that brings me up to some concerns about this team on this project. After filling out the questionnaire, these are the scores I have:
- Forming – 22
- Storming – 24
- Norming – 30
- Performing – 28
In the last week, everyone came together pretty quickly, and work was performed pretty well. At times I felt left out, and at times I sat out on purpose not to interrupt the learning of others combined with the fact that there are still two virtual team members who have yet to perform or work with the team weighed against my actual scoring. For the people at the face to face session, we are in the performing stage. According to Donald Clark, on his questionnaire he stated that if Norming and Performing are close then you are in the performing stage. However, the most shocking statement is if 3 or 4 of the scores are close, which I think is the case here, then Clark stated that you have no idea how your team is operating. I find that to be true, because we don’t how everyone will react until probably week 2 to 3 when the virtual team members had a chance to perform. The good part about this questionnaire and about the model is, if used by management and team members alike it would be indicator of how the team is performing and coming together. It would give management the opportunity to find ways to build the team or make corrective changes within the team, especially if done early enough in a project.
Tuckman, B. (1965). Bruce Tuckman forming storming norming performing team development model. Retrieved from Web site: http://www.businessballs.com/tuckmanformingstormingnormingperforming.htm
Clark, D. (2007). Donald Clark’s Tuckman’s Questionnaire. pdf. Retrieved from Web site: http://www.lx.nhs.uk/kms/Trafford/Trafford%202006%20-%202007/PPI%20Forum%20South%20Manchester%20University%20Hospital/Donald%20Clark%27s%20Tuckman%20Questionnaire.pdf
Ciardi, M. (Producer), & O’Connor, G. (Director). (2004). Miracle [Motion Picture]. United States: Walt Disney Motion Pictures.