Forming, storming, norming, performing - why Tuckmans team model is still relevant
In 1965, the American psychologist Bruce Tuckman published a theory of group dynamics, in which he described phases most groups go through from a group is formed till the group works together as a high performing team.
Tuckman named four phases: Norming, Storming, Norming and Performing
as well as descibing common team and individual behaviour in each phase. The purpose of this blog post is not to give a detailed description of the model, but more to motivate why knowledge of Tuckmans model is still relevant today.
First of all, the model puts words on feelings group members have when being put together in a new group. It can be comforting to know that the arguments or difference of opinons in the Storming phase are quite normal and is a necessary part on the way to become a well-functioning team.
Secondly, the model also describes when in the life of a group we can expect team behaviour. The group transforms into a team somewhere between the Norming and Performing phases. As a team manager, you can (and should) not expect team behaviour from the beginning of the life of the group.
Third, when introduced to the group in the forming phase, the group is offered a glimpse into a future, a future where the group has been transformed into a high-performing team, where members are competent, can work autonomously and are able to take decisions without supervision.
Read more about the details of the model here:
The original paper
Developmental sequence in small groups, Tuckman, Bruce W. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 63(6), Jun 1965, 384-399
is in my opinion not worth downloading and reading (the wikipedia article has a link to it).