Managing Teams Through the Development Cycle

It is all about understanding team dynamics.

Using Bruce Tuckman's team development lifecycle which contains four development steps. It is a model that the team all go through. To get high quality results and more productivity from your team, you need to help them develop into a finely-tuned machine. Like individuals, teams grow up through several stages, before they're truly productive. Bruce Tuckman's Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing, is one model that describes the typical phases that teams go through.
The aim is to enable the members of your team to work as productively as possible on your project. Often, for some it may be working with each other for the first time. As work progresses your team mates learn how to work together.
Let's take a closer look to understand what they are.
Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash

1. Forming

Forming: on best behaviour. Develop goals and expectations. Create team chatter to manage conflict and how you communicate.
Typically, this first stage is when the team is on their best behaviour. This is because the individuals are just starting to form into a team. They aren't sure of their goal as a team and they don't know who does what. During the Forming stage you have to clearly define the team's goals and give them direction. Like other youngsters, teams in the Forming stage tend to resist and challenge authority. So be prepared to answer their questions and earn their respect.

2. Storming

Storming: testing boundaries. Manage conflict and remind them of the team charter.
The second stage is called Storming, because things with teams usually get worse before they get better. As team members start to work out their relationships with each other, power struggles often occur. Storming teams have difficulty making decisions, because of the disagreements. The good news though, is that those disagreements lead to communication, which helps members grow as a team. When a team is Storming, you have to help the team members stay focused on their goals and help them make decisions.

3. Norming / Performing

Norming: manage conflict, more team norms
During this Performing stage, the work together feels natural and effortless.
Photo by Shoaib SR on Unsplash | Performing like clockwork is the ultimate nirvana.

After the storm is over, you finally have a team. Teams don't always reach the Performing stage, but if they do, it's pretty impressive. They know what they're supposed to accomplish, who's supposed to do what, and they often get things done very quickly. 

All without any help from you. You only have to step in if the team asks. Helping your people develop as a team, will help your project run smoothly and deliver quality results.

Adjourning - the extra phase

This is time to end. As the dedicated Servant Leader, you will need to manage the transition, help all of the team members move on. Another way to look at it is guiding the team through the different seasons.

Until next time, keep it agile!