The forming storming norming and performing model was first proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965.He suggested that this was four stage process was normal and necessary if the team was to work well together.
Critically, the process is not one-way. If the team experiences major change, or a significant threat, it can go back to the Storming or Norming stages again.
If you’ve ever been a team that suddenly stopped working – or never got going – this may help you understand what’s going on.
The first stage of the forming storming norming and performing process the team are beginning to get to know each other and no-one wishes to get into any serious conflict or issues. At the same time the team members are assessing each other and the possible issues ahead.
Overall the team is a group of individuals and the work of the leader tends to be telling them what to do.
This is the part when the team begin to challenge each other, and challenge the leader. Conflicts are common and potentially unpleasant. The team are testing the boundaries, and exploring the ways that the team could work together. The leader has to manage this and may start selling compromises and potential solutions.
Sadly, some teams may never make it past this stage – I’ve been there and it is no fun! The team that fails to get through this stage will often disintegrate; if it survives it will perform only poorly.
Team that reach the third stage of the forming storming norming and performing have now started to adjust their behaviour to take account of the other members. Team members know where they fit into the team, and are likely to reasonably happy about it.
They are also working on who does what and why. These are the key procedures and processes for decision making and working generally that make them a team rather than a collection of individuals.
They all know what they are doing. The leader is now able to delegate extensively as the team are confident and comfortable in taking more responsibility for their own work.