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Forming, Storming, Performing and Norming – Project Management and Leadership

There are 4 main stages relating to a Project team’s development and as a Project Manager it is important to know and appreciate each one to assist with and ensure that a project progresses to successful completion. These stages are strongly associated with PMP.

Let us go through each stage in sequential order and outline what they are about.

  1. Forming – This is the first or the ‘initiation’ phase. This is the getting to know you phase and is about project team members getting to know one another, establishing a hierarchy or where they fit in with respect to the project team. Team members will look for guidance and direction and it is important that the Project or Program Manager provides this guidance and ensures that everyone understand that the are the de facto leader of the Project.
  2. Storming – With this stage the project team members identify the hurdles, problems and challenges they need to tackle and resolve to successfully deliver the project. As solutions are proposed and agreed the project manager will manage this process and again assume the leadership role in this process. There will be conflicts during this process as different ideas are exchanged and at meetings before agreement is reached.
  3. Norming – By this stage the project team gets to know each other. There is less conflict and decisions and work becomes easier for the project manager to control and assist with. Effectively ‘esprit de corps’ is in place and the team is well on the way to being an effective group.
  4. Performing – The project team is now a well-oiled fighting machine and is making major inroads into the project as they progress towards completion. More and more the project manager is taking a secondary role in the project process.

There is sometimes an additional phase discussing which is ‘Adjourning’. This is effectively the stage where the project is complete, signed off by all stakeholders and the project is effectively productionised.

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