Scott M. Graffius’ Phases of Team Development: 2024 Update


Scott M Graffius - Phases of Team Development - 2024 Update - v24010507 - JPG LwRes

A PDF of this article is here.



Informed by the research of Bruce W. Tuckman and Mary Ann C. Jensen, over 100 subsequent studies, and Scott M. Graffius’ first-hand professional experience with, and analysis of, team leadership and performance, Graffius created his ‘Phases of Team Development’ as a unique perspective and visual conveying the five phases of team development — Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning — inclusive of a graph showing how performance varies by phase, as well as the characteristics and strategies for each phase.

Project Managers, Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, DevOps Leads, and other leaders can apply the information to help handle challenges or issues experienced by teams. By doing so, they’ll advance the teams’ (and their own) happiness, productivity, and success.

Graffius initially developed his unique material in 2008, and he periodically refreshes it. This article (including the accompanying visual) provides the 2024 update to his ‘Phases of Team Development’ work.

work has “team development” in the title. Alternative terms — which may be interchangeable in the context of this article — include group development, group dynamics, team agility, team building, team coaching, team collaboration, teamcraft, team dynamics, team leadership, team optimization, team performance, team tradecraft, and teamwork.


Five Phases of Team Development

1. Forming

Characteristics of the Forming phase include displaying eagerness, socializing, generally polite tone, sticking to safe topics, unclear about how one fits in, and some anxiety and questioning.

Strategies for Forming include taking the ‘lead,’ being highly visible, facilitating introductions, providing the ‘big picture,’ establishing clear expectations, communicating success criteria, and ensuring response times are quick.

2. Storming

Traits of the Storming phase include some resistance, lack of participation, conflict based on differences of opinions, competition, and high emotions.

Strategies for Storming include requesting and encouraging feedback, identifying issues and facilitating their resolution, normalizing matters, and building trust by honoring commitments.

3. Norming

Features of the Norming phase include developing cohesion; purpose and goals are well-understood; more confident; improved commitment; members are engaged and supportive; and relief, lowered anxiety.

Strategies for Norming include delivering feedback, recognizing individual and team efforts, providing learning/upskilling opportunities, and monitoring the ‘energy’ of the team.

4. Performing

Characteristics of the Performing phase include demonstrations of interdependence and self-management; high motivation, trust, and empathy; individuals defer to team needs; producing deliverables effectively; and consistent performance.

Strategies for Performing include ‘guiding from the side’ (minimal intervention), highlighting successes, and encouraging collective decision-making and problem-solving.

5. Adjourning

Typical traits of the Adjourning phase (also referred to as the Transitioning or Mourning phase) include potential sadness, and disbanding of temporary teams.

Strategies for Adjourning include communicating change, conducting a summative team evaluation via a retrospective or lessons learned session, recognizing individual and team efforts and achievements, and celebrating the team's accomplishments (a party/after-party).



Project Managers, Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, DevOps Leads, and other leaders can apply the information in this article and the accompanying visual to help handle challenges or issues experienced by teams. By doing so, they’ll advance the teams’ (and their own) happiness, productivity, and success.

This article provided a brief overview of the five phases of team development. Scott M. Graffius presents dynamic and engaging talks and workshops on this topic and more at conferences and other events (public and private/corporate) around the world. To learn more, visit
here. For booking information, please complete a speaker engagement request form or email Scott M. Graffius.

If you're looking for additional information on this article (such as references/sources, citation details, or permission request information), read on.


Graffius’ Research is Widely Cited, Featured, and Used

Businesses, scientists, journalists, professional associations, government agencies, universities, and others around the world have featured and used prior — 2023 and earlier — editions of Scott M. Graffius’ ‘Phases of Team Development’ material. Here are a few examples:

  • Academic Cooperation Association
  • Adobe
  • American Management Association
  • Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute
  • Bayer
  • Boston University
  • CodeMonk
  • Dagen
  • Deimos Aerospace
  • Erste Bank
  • FSU College of Medicine
  • Hasso Plattner Institute (Hasso-Plattner-Institut für Digital Engineering GmbH)
  • IEEE
  • Innovify
  • Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network (LTEN)
  • London South Bank University
  • New Zealand Government
  • Prima Resource
  • Singapore University of Social Sciences
  • Technical University of Munich
  • Torrens University Australia
  • UK Sports Institute
  • University of Galway Ireland
  • University of Graz Austria
  • University of Waterloo
  • US National Park Service
  • Virginia Tech
  • Warsaw University of Technology
  • Yale University
  • Zittau/Gorlitz University of Applied Sciences
  • And many more



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  3. Alford, J. (2019, April 11). Our Co-Production Journey: From Sandpits to Bird Boxes. London, United Kingdom: Imperial College London.
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  31. Graffius, Scott M. (2023, April 26). The Science of High-Performance Teams [Presentation]. Talk delivered at the DevOps Institute’s SKILup Day 2023 Conference. Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.13140/RG.2.2.15888.28169. DOI link:
  32. Graffius, Scott M. (2023, January 9). Use the Phases of Team Development (Based on Bruce W. Tuckman's Model of Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning) to Help Teams Grow and Advance: 2023 Update. Available at: Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.13140/RG.2.2.10720.35846. DOI link:
  33. Graffius, Scott M. (2023, June 29). What Successful AI Teams Have in Common [Presentation]. Talk delivered at Conf42 Quantum Computing 2023 Conference. Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.13140/RG.2.2.29382.45120. DOI link:
  34. Graffius, Scott M. (2023, May 1). Fueling the Development of Innovative and Life-Changing AI Solutions [Presentation]. Talk delivered to an audience of Technology professionals (including Data Scientists, Machine Learning Engineers, Data Engineers, AI Researchers, Project Managers, Business Analysts, UX Designers, Software Developers, Cloud Architects, Data Privacy and Security Specialists, and others involved or interested in AI) at a private event in Mountain View, California, United States. Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.13140/RG.2.2.27956.73601. DOI link:
  35. Graffius, Scott M. (2022, February 4). Team Development Tradecraft: A Source of Competitive Advantage [Workshop]. Session at private event in Adelaide, Australia. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.14092.80002.
  36. Graffius, Scott M. (2022, May 13). Want Happier and More Productive DevOps Teams? [Presentation]. Talk delivered at DevOpsDays Geneva, Switzerland 2022 Conference. Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.13140/RG.2.2.22252.85127. DOI link:
  37. Graffius, Scott M. (2021, February 20). But First, the Team! [Presentation]. Talk delivered at the Brno, Czech Republic DevConf.CZ 2021 Conference. Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.13140/RG.2.2.29016.72964. DOI link:
  38. Graffius, Scott M. (2021, June 21). DevOps and Team Leadership [Workshop]. Session at private event in Las Vegas, NV. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.15380.22401.
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How to Cite This Article

Graffius, Scott M. (2024, January 8). Scott M. Graffius
Phases of Team Development: 2024 Update. Available at: DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.28629.40168.


Permission Request Information

To request permission to use the
‘Phases of Team Development’ visual shown at the top of this article or any other material from this publication, email Scott M. Graffius. If your request is approved, Graffius will give you an authorization/license and, if applicable, high-resolution files of the visual.




About Scott M. Graffius


Scott M. Graffius, PMP, SA, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, CSM, CSPO, SFE, ITIL, LSSGB is an agile project management practitioner, consultant, thinker, creator, multi-award-winning author, and international public speaker. Founder and CEO of Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions™ and subsidiary Exceptional Agility™, he has generated over $1.9 billion for Global Fortune 500 businesses and other organizations he has served. Graffius and content from his books, talks, workshops, and more have been featured and used by Microsoft, Oracle, Broadcom, Cisco, Gartner, Project Management Institute, IEEE, National Academy of Sciences, United States Department of Energy, Yale University, Tufts University, and others. He delights audiences with dynamic and engaging talks and workshops on agile project management, AI, Tech leadership, video game development, strategic alignment, the science of high performance teams, and more. To date, he's presented sessions at 89 conferences and other events across 25 countries.

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About Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions


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