Tuckman’s first stage of team development is called the forming stage. In this stage, team

members introduce themselves and are in the getting-to-know-you stage. Typically – in the

forming stage – minimal if any work is completed. In addition to spending time socializing,

individuals start gathering information as to which role or roles they will play and what will be

expected of them. Team members are concerned with whom will be leading the team and

what the team leader has to offer. This stage is one in which there is significant uncertainty

among the individual team members. If team goals are clearly defined, and trust is built in the

forming stage, the team’s foundation will be solid. Also, as more information becomes

Available and individuals settle into their respective roles – and begin to get comfortable

with one another – the team can begin to move to the next stage of the process.


In the second stage of team development – the storming stage – individuals begin to disagree

and push other members’ boundaries. Individuals may become less polite and have

disagreements, and hostilities can arise. Additionally, team members may form subgroups or

cliques, and jockey for position, and dysfunction can ensue. Conflicts need to be resolved and

team members need to respect individual differences so that the team can progress to the

Next stage. It can be helpful – while in the storming stage – to restate the teams’ objectives so

that individuals refocus their energies for the greater good. It is essential to effectively work

through this stage or the team will not likely become a high performing, high functioning



Once the team reduces most conflict, they enter the next stage of team development, the

Norming stage. In this stage, conflicts are further resolved, and individuals demonstrate

Respect for their teammates. Teams begin to work together, support each other, and make






progress toward their mutual goals. Team members ask for help, offer assistance and may find

themselves enjoying “being a part of the team.” As the team becomes more cohesive, more

work is accomplished. Also, the team may engage in new, team-specific behaviors such as

creating their own language, inside jokes, or having a team mascot. However, if the team re-

engages in additional unresolvable conflict, they will return to the storming stage. If the team

cycles through the storming and norming stages repeatedly, it will cause undo tension and

Their work product will likely suffer. If they bond and become effective in the norming stage,

the team will enter the next stage of team development.

Stage 4: Performing

In the performing stage of team development, agreement and cooperation have been well-established. The team is mature, organized, and well-functioning. Team members are confident, motivated, and familiar with their project and feel satisfied with the team’s progress. They are aware of their own and other member’s strengths and weaknesses. Members feel attached to the team and feel confident in their abilities.

Team members are able to recognize, prevent and solve the problems. They become more flexible and take on various roles and responsibilities as needed in the team to achieve the team goal. Everyone is on the same page and committed to team’s mission. They are willing to deepen their knowledge and skills and work on their weaknesses by appreciating the team feedback.

Tuckman’s model Is not one-way street. Teams may go back and forth between the stages. Performing stage is not the end of the process. While working on the high performing team may be a pleasurable and great experience, it is not the end of the team development. There is still a need for team to focus on the process and product and setting new goals etc. Changes like new members coming to the team or members leaving the team can lead a team to cycle back to an earlier stage.

The mind tools content team, from Mind Tools, says of this stage, “Get the team to bond with face-to-face or virtual team bonding exercises. These social connections are especially important right now, as more of us work from home. So, keep them up through the norming period and beyond. Use regular one on ones to encourage members to step back, review their goals, and take responsibility for them. When team has settled into the performing stage, they can then focus on the other goals and new areas to benefit the business. [1]

Stage 5: Adjourning:

In 1977, Tuckman added a fifth stage called adjourning. Once a project ends, the team disbands. This is also known as mourning because members have grown close and feel a loss now that the experience is over. Many teams reach to this stage naturally. For example, projects come to an end or permanent large teams are split to smaller teams etc. People who like the routine, or who have developed close relationship with colleagues, may find this difficult.

The emphasis is on wrapping up final tasks and documenting the efforts and results. The members may be reassigned to the new teams. There may be regret as the team ends, so a ceremonial acknowledgement of the work and success of the team may be helpful. Team members often find it difficult to separate from members they have formed close bond with. They may be feeling some anxiety because of uncertainty about their individual role or future responsibilities. They may feel a sadness or a sense of loss about the change coming to their team relationships. But at the same time, they may also feel a sense of satisfaction at the accomplishments of the team.

On the other side, during the ending stage, some team members may become less focused on the team’s tasks and their productivity may drop. The team should acknowledge the upcoming transition and the ways the team members may be feeling about the change. During this this the team should really focus on completion of all the deliverables and remaining work, evaluate teams work and identify lessons-learned for future use, celebrating the team achievements and contributions.

In article Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing, at Venture team buildingDavid Priestley talks about Helping an Adjourning team. “Team leaders and members should be sensitive to handling these endings respectfully and empathetically. The best method of closing of a project group is to set aside time to allow for a proper debrief and a celebration of their success.” [2]






[1] The mind tools content team, from Mind Tools.

[2] Priestley DavidForming, Storming, Norming and Performing, at Venture team building