5 Stages of Team Development – What PM Should Do In Each Stage?

Eventually stages of team development will describe the process of transitioning the project team from starting on to the project to performing and delivering.

Do you think that the project team start performing from Day 1.

Indeed it is not feasible.

As soon as the project on-board the project, it will take time for them to understand the project, cope with other members of the team and start to think about what and how to work on the project.

5 Stages of team development

Stages of team development

Stages of team development

So there are five stages of team development which would transition the project team from the team of strangers to a group of members delivering the project.

A researcher named Bruce Tuckman came up with these 5 stages of team development.

These stages typically applicable to any team in the organization.

They stages are

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing
  5. Adjourning

Let us look into these stages in detail.


The project team just on boarded. This is the first in the stages of team development mentioned above.

In this stage, the project members are still do not know how they fit into the project and how other members will collaborate with them, whether their current skill is enough to get working on the project, etc.

Team still trying to understand their roles and responsibilities and the about the project.

As a project manager you need to clarify, underline the goals of the project and provide direction to the team on how the team should work together to successfully achieve the goal.


As team knows more about the project and the team members, they start forming opinions on how the work should happen and the working environment.

This is the stage where team members express their opinions. Hence there are potential chances for conflicts in this stage, when people disagree on the opinions.

As  project manager you need help the team to get through this stage and ensure that the team listens, helps and respects each other’s opinions.

At this stage project manager should encourage the conversation within the team to understand potential strengths of each team member.


As the team understands the project, other team members and the environment, the team tries to adjust their behaviors towards other members and figure out the ways to work together and help each other in the team.

Here is the place where team started building trust with each other.

Eventually as the team is started working collaboratively, as a project manager your involvement may be reduced to a great extent.

However being a project manager monitors and pitch in if there is any conflicts with in the team. Otherwise let the team start working with each other and make decisions as a team.


At this stage the team is working as a well-oiled machine. Team members knows capabilities of each other, understand and resolve their problems independently without project manager’s involvement.

Hence in this stage, the project manager’s involvement reduced drastically, he may not need to involve in project day to day activities.

At this stage project manager work as SPOC (Single point of contact) for other stakeholder to make project related decisions.


When the work is about the complete, the team starting thinking of the fact that the project is closing soon.

Since the project team is together for some time, they need to digest the fact that once the project completes they need to move on to other projects.

As a project manager, celebrate the success of the document lessons learned and update the organizational process assets with all the updated project artifacts, so that they can be used for future project purposes.


We have seen the 5 stages of team development.

As a matter of fact, project manager needs to help the team get through the initial stages of team development in order for them to start working as a team to achieve the project goals.

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