Team formation

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Most newly formed teams go through these predictable stages in their life cycle:

  • Form
  • Storm
  • Norm
  • Perform

In the Form phase, people come together, new people are added to an existing team, and/or leadership changes take place. This is usually the fun, exciting, and honeymoon phase. Enjoy it.

In the Storm stage, the honeymoon has worn off. Misunderstandings and missteps happen. Assumptions are proving false. Perhaps people jockey for position. Often, there is chaos. This is normal. Expect it. Stay professional, committed, and keep the end-goal in mind.

In the Norm stage, people have started to figure things out and their place in the team. Collaboration is happening better and team members are becoming in sync. Breath a sigh of relief. You have crossed the chasm and made it over the hump.

In the Perform stage, people are at their best, working in harmony, reading each other's thoughts and facial expressions, finishing each others' sentences. Velocity is reaching its peak. This is when the real productivity happens. We want to get to this stage as quickly as possible.

Once in a while, missteps happen and teams fall back a phase. That's okay. Have a retrospective, maintain a positive spirit and can-do attitude. Get back to the Perform stage.

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