Team effectiveness is enhanced by a team’s commitment to reflection and ongoing evaluation. In addition to evaluating accomplishments in terms of meeting specific goals, for teams to be high performing, it is essential for them to understand their development as a team. Most of us are familiar with the concept of “the terrible twos” in early childhood; understanding that developmental stage makes it easier to accept the constant stream of “No, No, No, No, No” that we might hear from a two-year-old. Teams go through stages of development. The most commonly used framework for a team’s stages of development was developed in the mid-1960s by Bruce W. Tuckman.
Although many authors have written variations and enhancements to Tuckman’s work, his descriptions of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing provide a useful framework for looking at your own team. Each stage of team development has its own recognizable feelings and behaviours; understanding why things are happening in certain ways on your team can be an important part of the self-evaluation process.