What Is Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Adjourning? (2023)

If you have ever been tasked with putting a team together and making it work, you’ll be well aware of the difficulties. Personalities clash, miscommunication is rife, and it can all seem like a lot of hard work for little reward. Bruce Tuckman, an American psychologist, observed in 1965 that teams go through a predictable five-stage process: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.

Once you understand this model, you’ll be far better positioned to manage and get the most out of your team. Let’s explore each stage in more detail.

Stage 1:Forming

The forming stage is the very beginning of a team’s life cycle. Foundations are being laid, but the concrete is still setting; the team is just getting organized. Members are trying to get a sense of their teammates, what the team’s goals are, and how everyone can work together most effectively.

There’s a lot of uncertainty at this stage as people try to figure out their roles and where they fit in. Anxiety levels are high, because everyone is worried about making a mistake and looking bad. The team is usually quite formal and polite, deferring to the more experienced members.

Forming stage indicators

In this stage, some of the observable behaviors include:

  • Politeness and walking on eggshells to avoid conflict
  • Trying to be helpful and agreeable at all costs
  • Extreme deference to authority figures
  • Lots of questioning and exploring ideas
  • Taking time to make decisions
  • Lots of organizing and planning

The emotions commonly felt in this stage are:

  • Optimism laced with excitement and trepidation
  • Anxiety as everyone tries to figure out their role
  • Embarrassment and shame as people make mistakes
  • Happiness when the team starts to gel
  • Frustration as decisions take longer than expected

How to successfully navigate thisstage

When teams are being led through the forming stage, there are a few things the leader should keep in mind in order to progress smoothly to the next stage.

First of all, it’s important to note that your team members will be looking for guidance and structure at this stage. They need to know what’s expected of them, and they need someone to tell them what the goal is. So be clear about your expectations and be explicit about the team’s goals.

(Video) Forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning (as told by the Fellowship of the Ring)

It’s also crucial to let team members explore and experiment during this stage. Give them time to ask questions and test out different ideas. This is how they’ll figure out their strengths and weaknesses, and how they can best work together.

And finally, be patient. This stage can take a while, so don’t expect too much progress right away. The team is just getting started, and there’s a lot of groundwork to be laid.

Stage 2:Storming

Clouds are forming, and a storm is on its way. In the second phase, conflict is beginning to brew — and team managers can be easily caught out if they aren’t monitoring the team closely.

In the storming phase, team members are testing the boundaries of their new relationships with each other. This can result in conflict as people try to figure out who is in charge, who is responsible for what, and how decisions will be made.

The storming phase can also be a time of high stress as team members try to adjust to their new roles, leading to clashes and arguments.

Storming stage indicators

When your team enters this second stage, you’ll begin to see signs like:

  • Slow, interrupted progress as team members get settled
  • Difficulty in clarifying and enforcing roles and responsibilities
  • Conflict around how decisions will be made
  • Setting goals, often unrealistic and debated
  • High stress levels as team members adjust to their new roles

Some of the emotions being thrown around at this time include:

  • Anxiety as people try to figure out the new system
  • Anger as people clash with each other over their differing opinions and agendas
  • Frustration as goals aren’t met and progress is stalled
  • Hurt feelings as team members establish who is in charge

How to manage the stormingphase

When navigating the icy waters of the storming phase, team managers need to be prepared for conflict. The key is to not let the conflict spiral out of control, and to intervene when necessary to help the team move forward.

Also keep in mind that your saving grace here will be the enforcement — and continual reinforcement — of structure. Make sure every person knows their role and what is expected of them. Have set decision-making procedures, and make sure everyone follows them. And finally, keep the team focused on achievable goals.

(Video) The 5 Stages of Team Development

If you can successfully manage the storming phase, your team will move on to the norming stage — where they’ll be productive and effective working together.

Stage 3:Norming

After a week of personality clashes and arguments, you enter the meeting room to a beautiful sight: people are sitting in small groups, chatting and laughing. You have successfully made it to the norming stage.

Norming occurs when team members have developed a mutual understanding of their roles and expectations of one another. In this stage, the team has started to gel and people are working together. The group is now able to accomplish tasks by working together cooperatively

The norming stage is often a time of creativity and productivity. The team has worked through their problems and can now focus on the task at hand. However, there may still be some tension present in the group as people work to find a balance between their individual needs and the needs of the team.

Norming stage indicators

During this time, you’ll begin to notice a few key signs:

  • The team is in agreement over important procedures
  • Relationships feel comfortable and energized
  • The team is able to complete tasks with minimal conflict
  • Group members are supportive of one another and feel a sense of responsibility for the team’s success
  • Team routines have begun to develop organically

You’ll also see some positive emotions unfold:

  • A sense of confidence and belonging
  • Open expression of constructive criticism
  • Mutual respect for differing opinions
  • Willingness to experiment and take risks
  • Shared optimism and determination

How to navigate this stage effectively

In order to move through the norming stage to the light at the end of the tunnel, team leaders need to focus on encouragement and positive reinforcement. Offer constructive feedback, but make sure it’s framed positively.

Note that the norming stage is highly dependent on the free flow of data between group members. Provide plenty of opportunities for team members to communicate and share ideas. Make it clear that everyone is welcome to share their thoughts, even if they’re not totally confident.

Finally, resist the urge to micromanage. Let the team figure out how to best work together. This can be a challenging process, but it’s important for the team’s development.

(Video) Remember The Titans - Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Adjourning

Stage 4: Performing

Once your team has reached the height of productivity and cooperation, you’ll know you’ve hit the performing stage. This is where members are able to operate as a cohesive unit and complete tasks with little supervision. The team has also developed a mutual understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities, which allows them to work efficiently together.

Not all teams reach this stage — in fact, it’s what sets the high-performing teams apart from the rest. If you’re looking to take your team to the next level, it’s important to understand and embrace the behaviors that come with this stage.

Performing stage indicators

When your team is performing at their peak, you’ll notice the following:

  • The team can function independently and complete tasks with little supervision
  • Members have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities
  • The team is able to work together efficiently to achieve common goals
  • There is a high level of trust and cooperation among team members
  • The team is able to handle conflicts in a constructive manner

In terms of emotions, you’re likely to see:

  • Heightened empathy for one another
  • A sense of cohesion and camaraderie
  • Pride in team accomplishments
  • Fun, excitement, satisfaction in work

How to move through the performing stage

If your team is developed enough to reach the performing stage, well done! But don’t rest on your laurels — there’s still work to be done. The goal now is to maintain the team’s high level of productivity and cooperation.

Ideally, you’ll keep your team in this phase until they’ve completed all their assigned tasks. You can help facilitate this by stepping back and allowing them to work autonomously. However, you should still be available to provide guidance and support when needed.

It’s also important to continue fostering a sense of trust and cooperation among team members. This can be done by celebrating team successes, and addressing conflicts in a constructive manner.

Stage 5: Adjourning

Congratulations! You’ve successfully developed your team from its shaky beginnings to a high-functioning, productive unit. But even the best things must come to an end. The final stage in Tuckman’s model is adjourning, which marks the end of a team’s existence.

During this stage, team members may feel reluctant to let go of the camaraderie and productivity they’ve worked so hard to achieve. However, it’s important for team members to remember that the end of a team’s existence doesn’t have to mean the end of their relationships with one another.

(Video) Phasen der Teamentwicklung nach Tuckman: Alles Wichtige zur Teamuhr

In fact, many team members may find that they stay in touch long after their team has disbanded and continue to collaborate on future projects. The adjourning stage is a time for reflection and appreciation, as team members look back on all they’ve accomplished together and say goodbye to the team they’ve grown to love.

Closing out your teamjourney

One of the most important things to remember is that every group project should end with closure. This means taking the time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished as a team, and what you could have done better.

It also means thanking everyone who made contributions — both big and small — to the success of your project. You want your team members to feel appreciated, and closure is a great way to show them how much you appreciate their hard work.

Finally, don’t forget to document your team’s journey! Keeping a team journal can be a great way to reminisce on past projects and reflect on the lessons learned along the way.


If you are forming or leading a group, feel free to use this guide of Tuckman’s Model as a reference. Remember that every group project is different, so feel free to adapt these stages to fit the specific needs of your team. And most importantly, have fun and enjoy the journey!


What are the 5 stages of group development? ›

These stages are commonly known as: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning.

What is the forming, storming, norming, performing model known as? ›

Key Points. Psychologist Bruce Tuckman described how teams move through stages known as forming, storming, norming, and performing, and adjourning (or mourning). You can use Tuckman's model to help your team to perform better. First, identify the stage your team is at, then use our tips to move them through the stages.

What does Tuckman's theory explain? ›

What Is Tuckman's Theory? Tuckman's theory was first proposed by psychologist Bruce Tuckman in 1965. It stated that teams would go through 5 stages of development: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. These stages supposedly start when the group first meets and last until the project ends.

What are the 4 stages of team forming? ›

The most commonly used framework for a team's stages of development was developed in the mid-1960s by Bruce W. Tuckman. Although many authors have written variations and enhancements to Tuckman's work, his descriptions of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing provide a useful framework for looking at your own team.

Who gave 5 stage group development? ›

Psychologist Bruce Tuckman developed his group development model in 1965 to explain how healthy teams cohere over time. Tuckman's model identifies the five stages through which groups progress: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.

Why are the 5 stages of group development important? ›

It is essential to determine whether each individual has the right fit. Understanding Tuckman's stages can increase the likelihood of developing a high-performing team. The five stages of group development are critical because it ensures that all the team members are working together to achieve the project's goal.

What is an example of performing stage? ›

Performing Stage Example

Every member of the team is focused and set on the team objective. There is a sense of trust and confidence within the team. For any team that has reached this stage, there is no possible way to miss the goal or the objective. It's now just a matter of delivering.

What is adjourning stage of group development? ›

Developed by Bruce Tuckman in 1977, the adjourning stage is the fifth, and final, stage of group development that occurs when a group wraps up its work and then dissolves. At this time, it is important for members of the team to get appropriate closure as well as recognition for the work they accomplished.

What is storming stage also called as? ›

In other words, the energy levels reach their ultimate low in the Storming Stage because the struggle to find the leader and build some structure creates frustration and mood fluctuations. That's why this stage is often called The Power Struggle Stage.

What is the meaning of norming? ›

Norming occurs when team members have developed a mutual understanding of their roles and expectations of one another. In this stage, the team has started to gel and people are working together. The group is now able to accomplish tasks by working together cooperatively.

What happens in storming stage? ›

In the storming stage of group development, team members become more comfortable and begin to share dissenting opinions or ideas with the group. During this stage, true personalities become clear and conflicts might arise.

What stage of group development is most important? ›

Stage two of five is considered the most critical but also the most difficult to go through. It can be riddled with conflict as the individual personalities and work styles clash within the team.

What is the norming stage? ›

The Norming Stage

During this stage, conflicts and issues from the storming stage are resolved and a sense of harmony develops within the group. The members now share a common interest in working together as a team rather than as individuals.

What are the 4 elements of a team? ›

Communication, collaboration, conflict, and decision-making are all crucial elements to the success of high-performing teams.

Why are the four stages of team development important? ›

Bruce Tuckman's four stages of team building are vital to establish the relationships, trust, understanding and coordination of roles and tasks required for successful performance.

How are groups formed? ›

A group is formed through collective efforts of forming, norming, storming and performing.

What is stage theory in psychology? ›

Stage theory describes human development as a fixed sequence of capabilities resulting in qualitatively different ways of responding to the world. Piaget describes cognitive development as the continual modification (i.e., accommodation ) of schemas based on the incorporation (i.e., assimilation ) of new knowledge.

What is the conflict stage of a group? ›

Storming. This stage is aptly named, as it is here that tensions first arise. The storming stage is marked by competition and conflict. Here, team members are starting to speak their minds and solidifying their places within the group, which means that power struggles may arise and cliques may form within the group.

How to use the 5 stages of team development indeed? ›

The 5 stages of group development with examples
  1. Forming. The forming stage of group development occurs when a project begins or when a new team member is introduced into the workplace. ...
  2. Storming. ...
  3. Norming. ...
  4. Performing. ...
  5. Adjourning.

What is the importance of stages? ›

Stages provide more space (in the cases of performers) to move around much easily without having to worry about making unnecessary contact with the spectators.

Why are all stages of life important? ›

The growth and change we experience throughout our lives go beyond the physical realm. We have self-conscious, self-reflective, and social capabilities that we can develop. By understanding the stages of life and what each phase entails, you can develop your self-awareness.

What is an example of adjourning stage? ›

Adjourning: The adjourning stage is when the team comes to an end. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as the team completing its task or disbanding due to conflict. Regardless of the reason, this is the stage where the team officially ends.

What is an example of end stage? ›

End stage: The last phase in the course of a progressive disease. As in end-stage liver disease, end-stage lung disease, end-stage renal disease, end-stage cancer, etc.

What are the activities during the performing stage? ›

In the performing stage, it's time for the group to get things done. Members are motivated to work together as a cohesive group and they find ways to solve lingering or new disagreements. In this stage, group morale and loyalty are high, and the group is characterized by trust, experience, intimacy, and competence.

Why is the adjourning stage important? ›

The main goals of the Adjourning stage are to achieve closure and end on a positive note. Group members need time to reflect on their individual participation and growth. It is also important to recognize the growth, progress, and achievements of the group as a whole.

What do you know by adjourning? ›

adjourn. / (əˈdʒɜːn) / verb. (intr) (of a court, etc) to close at the end of a session. to postpone or be postponed, esp temporarily or to another place.

What to do during the adjourning stage? ›

During the adjourning stage, the leader should take time to ensure that the group celebrates the work they have done. The members put forth the effort to reach the goals of the workgroup, and it is important that they are recognized for that effort.

What is an example of storming? ›

Other examples of storming behavior include team members challenging your authority, or jockeying for position, as their roles are clarified. If you haven't defined clearly how the team will work, team members may feel overwhelmed by their workload, or they could be uncomfortable with the approach that you're using.

Why is storming stage important? ›

Storming: At this stage, team members openly share ideas and use this as an opportunity to stand out and be accepted by their peers. Team leaders help teams in this stage by having a plan in place to manage competition among team members, make communication easier, and make sure projects stay on track.

What is storming and norming? ›

If teams get through the storming stage, conflict is resolved and some degree of unity emerges. In the norming stage, consensus develops around who the leader or leaders are, and individual member's roles. Interpersonal differences begin to be resolved, and a sense of cohesion and unity emerges.

What is a performing group? ›

Performing group means a vocal or instrumental group that performs live music for a paying audience.

What do you mean forming? ›

Definition of 'forming'

Forming is a process in which the shape of a partly finished product, for example sheet metal, is changed using plastic deformation. During forming, force is applied to a piece of sheet metal to change its shape rather than remove any material.

What is a norming group? ›

You usually hear the term normative group, or norm group, in discussions of tests and measures. It refers to the sample of test-takers who are representative of the population for whom the test is intended.

How do you go from norming to performing? ›

Conclusion: How to move from norming to performing

Use empathy, emotional intelligence and active listening to know when to strive for more and when to give your team room to breathe and recover. Reaching the performance stage requires a fine balance and you may not get it right every time.

How do I get out of storming stage? ›

Here are 5 tips leaders can use to successfully navigate their teams through the Storming phase of group development.
  1. Develop Communication Skills. ...
  2. Let Them Storm. ...
  3. Do One-On-One Check-Ins. ...
  4. Review Established Norms. ...
  5. Ask To Alter Behaviors Not Personalities.
Mar 16, 2015

How do you solve storming stage? ›

How do I get through the storming phase?
  1. Focus on building trust. How you build trust will depend on the team. ...
  2. Get to know your team members (and help them get to know each other) ...
  3. Create a team culture of honesty and transparency. ...
  4. Continually work on better collaboration.
Apr 27, 2021

What is the most important stage? ›

The most important phase of life is the first few years when you are a child. That's when the brain grows really fast – faster than any other time in our life. The brain makes [more than 1 million] new connections every second!

Why do we need group development? ›

Team development ensures that the team can thrive in the long term. Engaging team development benefits the team in a number of ways. Individual members of a team learn more about their personal potential, duties, and work dynamically within the team.

What is norming results? ›

The norming of psychometric tests can thus be defined as setting up population-based reference scores in order to be able to assess the exceptionality of an individual test result.

What are the 4 C's of teamwork? ›

If you want to establish a team identity, you have to give your team an opportunity to openly discuss the 4 C's of a Team Identity: clarity, commitment, contribution, and concerns.

What is the role of a team leader? ›

A Team Leader is a professional in charge of guiding, monitoring and leading an entire group. They are responsible for motivating their teammates as well as inspiring positive communication within them so that they can work together toward achieving goals.

What are the 4 basic roles for a team to succeed? ›

Here are four roles for a team: Leader, Facilitator, Coach or Member. All these are the components of a team, but remember that these need not be exclusive.

How do you build a successful team at work? ›

How to build a strong team
  1. Establish company culture. ...
  2. Define everyone's roles and responsibilities. ...
  3. Ensure that everyone feels respected. ...
  4. Stay as organized as you can. ...
  5. Encourage your team members. ...
  6. Communicate as much as you can. ...
  7. Be open to giving and receiving feedback. ...
  8. Celebrate people's wins.
Jul 25, 2022

What is difference between team and group? ›

A group is a collection of individuals who coordinate their efforts, while a team is a group of people who share a common goal. While similar, the two are different when it comes to decision-making and teamwork.

What is the life cycle of a team? ›

These changes are called Team Life Cycle changes. The five stages of team development are Formation, Criticism, Synthesis, Accomplishment, and Completion. Understanding these stages is critical because teams progress and regress through these stages of development and they are an indicator of performance.

What are the stages of group development by? ›

The five stages of group development, according to Bruce Tuckman's model, are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.

What is an example of the storming stage? ›

Storming Stage Example

It can be a petty clash of personalities or incompatibility in communication styles. Or it could be something more serious, such as a disagreement about the team's goals. It could even exhibit itself as one team member accusing another of not pulling their weight in the project.

What is an example of the norming stage? ›

What is an example of norming stage? An example of the norming stage would be a period, usually around six months into the research project, where the team members understand each other's preferences. The preferences include preferred working methods and personal boundaries and showing respect for them.

What are the group stage stages? ›

The 5 stages of group development
  • Forming,
  • Storming,
  • Norming,
  • Performing, and.
  • Adjourning.
Jun 7, 2023

What are the five stages of group development PDF? ›

  • Stage 1: Forming. In the Forming stage, personal relations are characterized by dependence. ...
  • Stage 2: Storming. ...
  • Stage 3: Norming. ...
  • Stage 4: Performing. ...
  • Stage 5: Adjourning.

What is group process? ›

Group process refers to how an organization's members work together to get things done. Typically, organizations spend a great deal of time and energy setting and striving to reach goals but give little consideration to what is happening between and to the group's greatest resource – it's members.

Why is the performing stage important? ›

In the performing stage, it's time for the group to get things done. Members are motivated to work together as a cohesive group and they find ways to solve lingering or new disagreements. In this stage, group morale and loyalty are high, and the group is characterized by trust, experience, intimacy, and competence.

What is the norming process? ›

Norming, or calibration, is a process that brings a group of faculty raters together to decide how to assess student work in a consistent way, so that regardless of which rater assesses the work, the rating falls within a close range.

What is the difference between storming and norming? ›

If teams get through the storming stage, conflict is resolved and some degree of unity emerges. In the norming stage, consensus develops around who the leader or leaders are, and individual member's roles. Interpersonal differences begin to be resolved, and a sense of cohesion and unity emerges.

What is an example of forming in group development? ›

The first stage is forming, which is when the members within the team first come together to meet. It can be considered the period of orientation when everyone is getting to know one another and becoming acquainted. Think of the forming stage like the first day of school or the first day at a new job.

What is the full meaning of adjourning? ›

Britannica Dictionary definition of ADJOURN. : to end something (such as a meeting or session) for a period of time. [+ object] The chairperson has adjourned the meeting. Court is adjourned until 10:00 tomorrow.

What is the purpose of adjourning? ›

Adjournment in meetings means to end the proceedings and move any remaining agenda items to be discussed at a future meeting. Contrarily, recess means pausing the current meeting until an established date and time.


1. Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing: Bruce Tuckman's Team Stages Model Explained
2. Tuckman's Team Development Stages: FORMING, STORMING, NORMING and PERFORMING
(Max Castéra)
3. Five-Stage Team Building Model (Updated)
(Josh Shook)
4. What is the Tuckman Model of Group Development? PM in Under 5
(Online PM Courses - Mike Clayton)
5. Tuckman Model: understanding the stages of team formation
(Perrine Pasleau)
6. Group development stages 1


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