Using Bruce Tuckman's Phases of Team Development to Help Your Team Grow and Advance: 2021 Update



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How to cite: Graffius, Scott M. (2021). Phases of Team Development. Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.13140/RG.2.2.22040.42246.

2021 Update

Teams go through phases of development, and Bruce Tuckman established a popular framework on the subject. According to Tuckman, all phases—Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning—are necessary for teams to grow, tackle problems, find solutions, plan work, and deliver results. Scott M. Graffius developed a related custom illustration, Phases of Team Development, which he revises periodically. He released an updated version of the visual on January 4, 2021. This article features the new version of the Phases of Team Development illustration (shown above) along with a brief overview of the characteristics and strategies for each phase.

Five Phases of Team Development

1. Forming

Characteristics of Forming include displaying eagerness, socializing, generally polite tone, sticking to safe topics, being unclear about how one fits in, and some anxiety and questioning. Strategies for this phase include taking the ‘lead,’ being highly visible, facilitating introductions, providing the ‘big picture,’ establishing clear expectations, communicating success criteria, and ensuring that response times are quick.

2. Storming

Traits of Storming include resistance, lack of participation, conflict related to differences of feelings and opinions, competition, high emotions, and starting to move towards group norms. Strategies for this phase include requesting and encouraging feedback, identifying issues and facilitating their resolution, normalizing matters, and building trust by honoring commitments.

3. Norming

Features of Norming include an improved sense of purpose and understanding of goals, higher confidence, improved commitment, team members are engaged and supportive, relief—lowered anxiety, and starting to develop cohesion. Strategies for this phase include recognizing individual and team efforts, proving opportunities for learning and feedback, and monitoring the ‘energy’ of the team.

4. Performing

Characteristics of Performing include higher motivation, elevated trust and empathy, individuals typically deferring to the team's needs, effective production, consistent performance, and demonstrations of interdependence and self-management (also referred to as self-organization). Strategies for this phase include ‘guiding from the side’ (minimal intervention), celebrating successes, and encouraging collective decision-making and problem-solving.

5. Adjourning

Typical traits of Adjourning (also referred to as Transitioning or Mourning) include a shift to process orientation, sadness, recognition of team and individual efforts, and disbanding. Strategies for this phase include recognizing change, providing an opportunity for summative team evaluations (which may go by
lessons learned, post-project review, retrospective, or another label), providing an opportunity for individual acknowledgments, and celebrating the team's accomplishments—which may involve a party and possibly an after-party.

The illustration summarizes the above information—and it shows how performance fluctuates as teams move through each phase. This information may be helpful for looking at your team.

Downloadable High-Resolution Versions of 'Phases of Team Development' Illustration

High resolution versions of the updated Phases of Team Development image are available at the following links:
here for the JPG file and here for the PNG file. For permission requests, contact the email address noted in the image.

About Scott M. Graffius



Scott M. Graffius, PMP, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, CSM, CSPO, ITIL, LSSGB is an agile project management practitioner, consultant, award-winning author (Agile Scrum and Agile Transformation), and international speaker. Content from his books, speaking engagements, and more has been featured and used by media outlets, publications, businesses, governments, and universities including Yahoo Finance, Computer Weekly, Innovation Project Management, MobileAppDaily, Gartner, Oracle, Cisco, RSA, Ford, Liberty Mutual Group, Qantas, Atlassian, Bayer, Bosch, the National Academy of Sciences, the United States Department of Energy, the United States Army, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, James Madison University, Santa Clara University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Tech, and others. Thinkers360 named Scott a global top thought leader and influencer in three domains: Agile, Digital Transformation, and GovTech. His full-length bio is available here.


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Scott M. Graffius Speaking at Southern Nevada Chapter of Project Management Institute



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Scott M. Graffius will deliver a talk — "Navigate the Phases of Team Development with Speed and Agility" — at a virtual event of the Southern Nevada Chapter of the Project Management Institute on Thursday, March 18, 2021 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. To learn more and to register for the event, visit
https://pmi-snc.org/calendar?eventId=7109. (The short URL is: http://bit.ly/agility-1.)

About Scott M. Graffius

Scott M. Graffius, PMP, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, CSM, CSPO, ITIL, LSSGB has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of business value in aggregate for the organizations he has served. He is an agile project management practitioner, consultant, award-winning author, and international speaker. His expertise spans project, program, portfolio, and PMO leadership inclusive of agile, traditional, and hybrid approaches. Content from Scott's books, speaking engagements, and more have been featured and used by businesses, governments, and universities including Gartner, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Ford, Qantas, Atlassian, Bayer, the National Academy of Sciences, the United States Department of Energy, the United States Army, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, James Madison University, Santa Clara University, Brigham Young University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Tech, and others. Thinkers360 named Scott a global top thought leader and influencer in three domains: Agile, Digital Transformation, and GovTech. His full-length bio is available at
https://www.scottgraffius.com/bio.html.



About the Southern Nevada Chapter of the Project Management Institute

The Project Management Institute Southern Nevada Chapter's vision is to be the professional organization of choice for the project management community of Southern Nevada. Its mission is to Provide premier networking, education and presentations to support the needs of the project management community. And holds seven core values: Create an environment and opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and professionalism in the application of project management; foster and enabling corporate, community and educational networking opportunities; partner with business and academia to unleash the power of project management; attract, developing and retaining leadership to ensure the future of the organization; offer professional development unit (PDU) opportunities to members; offer programs to enhance members’ project management skills; and have nationally known speakers make presentations at monthly meetings at least twice a year. To learn more, visit the Chapter's website at https://pmi-snc.org.


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Scott M. Graffius Speaking at California Institute of Advanced Management (CIAM)



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Scott M. Graffius will be a guest speaker at the California Institute of Advanced Management, where he will deliver a talk on team development and leadership to an audience of MBA students and professors on March 13, 2021.

About Scott M. Graffius

Scott M. Graffius, PMP, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, CSM, CSPO, ITIL, LSSGB has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of business value in aggregate for the organizations he has served. He is an agile project management practitioner, consultant, award-winning author, and international speaker. His expertise spans project, program, portfolio, and PMO leadership inclusive of agile, traditional, and hybrid approaches. Content from Scott's books, speaking engagements, and more have been featured and used by businesses, governments, and universities including Gartner, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Ford, Qantas, Atlassian, Bayer, the National Academy of Sciences, the United States Department of Energy, the United States Army, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, James Madison University, Santa Clara University, Brigham Young University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Tech, and others. Thinkers360 named Scott a global top thought leader and influencer in three domains: Agile, Digital Transformation, and GovTech. His full-length bio is available at
https://www.scottgraffius.com/bio.html.



About the California Institute of Advanced Management (CIAM)

The California Institute of Advanced Management (CIAM) is a non-profit, boutique university specializing in one single, revolutionary MBA program, designed to provide its students with "battle ready" business skills for today's ever-changing business world. Whether a student wants to be an entrepreneur, enhance their value to their existing employer, or transition to a new career, the CIAM's MBA program will help get them where they want to go. To learn more, visit CIAM's website at https://www.ciam.edu.


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Scott M. Graffius Speaking at Southwest Virginia Chapter of Project Management Institute



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Scott M. Graffius will deliver a talk on navigating the phases of team development — Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning — at a virtual event of the Southwest Virginia Chapter of the Project Management Institute on May 11, 2021, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. To learn more and to register for the event, visit
https://pmi-swva.org.

About Scott M. Graffius

Scott M. Graffius, PMP, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, CSM, CSPO, ITIL, LSSGB has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of business value in aggregate for the organizations he has served. He is an agile project management practitioner, consultant, award-winning author, and international speaker. His expertise spans project, program, portfolio, and PMO leadership inclusive of agile, traditional, and hybrid approaches. Content from Scott's books, speaking engagements, and more have been featured and used by businesses, governments, and universities including Gartner, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Ford, Qantas, Atlassian, Bayer, the National Academy of Sciences, the United States Department of Energy, the United States Army, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, James Madison University, Santa Clara University, Brigham Young University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Tech, and others. Thinkers360 named Scott a global top thought leader and influencer in three domains: Agile, Digital Transformation, and GovTech. His full-length bio is available at
https://www.scottgraffius.com/bio.html.



About the Southwest Virginia Chapter of the Project Management Institute

The Southwest Virginia Chapter of the Project Management Institute was founded in 2003 to serve the southwestern part of Virginia including the metro areas of Roanoke, Lynchburg, Blacksburg, Lexington, Martinsville, Danville, and Bristol. The Chapter's mission is to foster a community of project management excellence in Southwest Virginia. To learn more, visit https://pmi-swva.org.


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Scott M. Graffius Speaking at ConFoo Developer Conference 2021



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Scott M. Graffius will be speaking at the ConFoo Developer Conference 2021. The annual event is normally conducted in-person in Montreal, Québec, Canada. This year, ConFoo will be online. Scott will present “But First, the Team!” on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, from 3:15-4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.


About Scott M. Graffius

Scott M. Graffius, PMP, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, CSM, CSPO, ITIL, LSSGB has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of business value in aggregate for the organizations he has served. He is an agile project management practitioner, consultant, award-winning author, and international speaker. His expertise spans project, program, portfolio, and PMO leadership inclusive of agile, traditional, and hybrid approaches. Content from Scott's books, speaking engagements, and more have been featured and used by businesses, governments, and universities including Gartner, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Ford, Qantas, Atlassian, Bayer, the National Academy of Sciences, the United States Department of Energy, the United States Army, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, James Madison University, Santa Clara University, Brigham Young University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Tech, and others. Thinkers360 named Scott a global top thought leader and influencer in three domains: Agile, Digital Transformation, and GovTech. His full-length bio is available at
https://www.scottgraffius.com/bio.html.



About the ConFoo Developer Conference

ConFoo is a multi-technology conference for development professionals. It features a stellar lineup of renown international speakers, new, innovative and surprising topics, and networking opportunities. The annual event is normally conducted in-person in Montreal, Québec, Canada. In 2021, ConFoo will be entirely online. To learn more and register for the conference, visit https://confoo.ca/en.


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Connect with Scott on
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.




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