In 1965, B. W. Tuckman, who has been studying the behavior of small groups, published a model that suggests that all teams go through four distinct stages in their development:
Forming. The first stage in a team’s development is forming. During this stage, the team members are unsure about what they are doing. Their focus is on understanding the team’s goal and their role. They worry about whether the other team members will accept them. Team members frequently look for clarification from their leader.
Storming. The second stage in a team’s development is storming. During this stage, the team members try to get organized. This stage is marked by conflict among the members and between the members and the leader. Through this conflict, the team attempts to define itself.
Norming. The third stage in a team’s development is norming. This stage follows storming, after the team members have succeeded in resolving their conflicts. They now feel more secure with one another and with their leader. They effectively negotiate the structure of the team and the division of labor.
Performing. The fourth stage in a team’s development is performing. During this stage the team members behave in a mature fashion and focus on accomplishing their goals. This stage is marked by direct, two-way communication among the team members.
You are probably already familiar with this model. If not, review these brief descriptions of the four stages one more time.
Let's Play a Game
Would you like to play an online game that tests your mastery of the four stages?
When you play the game, you will see a statement about a team and its members. Quickly figure out which of the four stages is associated with this statement. Click on one of the four buttons to indicate the correct stage. The games keep track of your speed and your score. You can replay the game any number of times. Every time you play the game, you get different statements in a different sequence.
Play the game. Let’s see if you can get a perfect score.