5 Stages of Team Development and How to Implement Them

Have you ever wondered how successful companies build effective teams and adapt to meet their ever-changing responsibilities?

May 17, 2022
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Have you ever wondered how successful organizations build high-performing teams and adapt over time to meet their ever-changing responsibilities?

Team Development.

Team Development provides a structured framework for companies to facilitate productivity, performance, and effectiveness. It allows employees and managers to make the most of the stages of team development to boost teamwork and efficiency within the organization.

Developing a cohesive and effective team is a challenge most modern businesses face because different people make up a team, and people function differently. However, every team's ability to function effectively depends on individual contributions and interactions. 

The first step in implementing a practical team development framework is understanding what it is and why you need it. 

So, let's explore team development.

What is meant by team development?

Team development can be defined as the process of enhancing the effectiveness of a group of people working towards a common goal. It's a process that can apply to any team, from a small project team to an entire organization. So, how do you facilitate the various team development phases? By navigating Tuckman's model.

There are five stages to any team's development process: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. While these stages are sequential, they also overlap as groups form new relationships over time.

Bruce Tuckman developed this framework in 1965. Often called Tuckman's stages of group development, or the Tuckman model, this framework has, over time, been beneficial for both individuals and organizations.

At the core, team development is a process that grooms different individuals working independently to cooperate and work together to execute goals and responsibilities cohesively.  

The framework builds character, allowing team members to grow, become more effective, improve interaction and boost confidence.

What are the five stages of team development?

To build a solid and effective team, we need to understand the five stages of team development and how to implement them.

- Forming stage

- Storming stage

- Norming stage

- Performing stage

- Adjourning stage

Forming stage:

Here, there is no clear vision of what the team should be.

It is challenging for people to define their team goals and roles because they have no experience working in teams. They don't know each other well enough to depend on each other for their specific expertise or knowledge.

During this time, team members need to try and establish common ground. It's okay for your team to stay in the forming stage for a while before moving on to the next stage.

What is an example of team development in this stage?

This stage aims to get the team members acquainted. Activities include; introductions, icebreakers that foster familiarization, and sessions to understand the project.


The interns can meet the facilitators to discuss their relevant backgrounds to your organization, including why they enrolled and what they want to learn from the internship. This allows team members to start relating and thinking about possible ideas for future collaboration. You can use an onboarding checklist to keep things in check at this stage. 

Interns can also receive their first task and instructions after briefs on the project or client. And get periodic check-ins and meetings to discuss progress and challenges.

Storming stage:

In this stage, conflict may arise as people express their opinions, and differences in different ways. As the team grows, they start learning the best way to achieve their goals as a group. The key is resolving issues quickly and not letting arguments get out of hand.

What is an example of team development in this stage?

This stage aims to ease tensions and resolve conflicts. Activities include; conversations on team performance, team progress, activities that help members work together to solve problems, words of encouragement, and active conflict resolution. A SWOT analysis workflow will also be helpful in this stage to evaluate tasks clearly. 


The interns are beginning to have more meetings and spend time together. And people are getting upset from seeing each other's weaknesses. The outreach intern gets upset because the intern lead submits their lesson plans at the last minute, but they have different responsibilities. They need to communicate and find a middle ground to resolve the issue.

Norming stage:

Here, team members are beginning to settle down. They start to work through their differences and come up with solutions that benefit each other. They eventually start to understand roles and responsibilities, how each person works best and how they can support one another's efforts toward a common goal. Team members tend to be more polite during this stage since they're learning how to work together effectively. But, there's still a tendency to revert to their old behaviors when under stress or pressure.

What is an example of team development in this stage?

This stage aims for members to grow into finding their way to the performing stage by expressing expectations and finding a middle ground. Activities include; brainstorming sessions, meetings, and activities that highlight strengths and weaknesses. A helpful template in this stage is the Idea Management Portal to source ideas and prompt reflection and ideas.


The group leads meet to discuss how their group members have been struggling with some of their tasks. They decide to have meetings with group members to map out the best schedule that works for most people.

Performing stage:

Here, the team starts working together as a unit, and the group dynamic works for everyone involved. The team now gets down to doing its job by taking on responsibilities and making decisions that affect its outcomes.

In this stage, teams start focusing on specific projects or tasks that require them to do their jobs well.

What is an example of team development in this stage?

This stage aims for members to focus on specific projects that will help them achieve goals. Activities include; workshops that highlight what's working, what isn't, and what can be better. A workflow like the start, stop, continue workshop allows facilitators to get feedback from interns seamlessly. 


The interns are working together on a campaign for a client. And the team leads have delegated tasks based on team members' strengths. The team members also give periodic progress reports on their tasks as they develop. 

Adjourning stage:

This is the final stage. Here, the team members present their results to stakeholders for review or approval. As the work reduces, managers can take team members off tasks or delegate them to new ones. It's also vital that teams discuss what went well and what could be improved on for projects in the future.

What is an example of team development in this stage?

This stage aims to acknowledge accomplishments while bringing closure to the team's work. Activities include; a vision evaluation board, discussions on lessons learned, and suggestions on how to apply skills.


Interns prepare reports on their experiences, highlighting the best and worst tasks. The facilitator also reports the general overview of interns' performances, aspects they need to improve, and areas to keep up the good work.

What is the importance of team development?

If you've ever played on a sports team, you know how important it is for everyone to be on the same page — literally and figuratively.

This applies to businesses and highlights the need for team development.

A group of people working together can achieve much more than those same people could if they worked separately. The act of team building has many benefits, but its core purpose is to enable individuals to work together to produce something great.

When everyone knows what their role is and how each person contributes to the team, it makes it easier to work together and achieve their goals.

Team Development is also important because it helps us understand how teams change over time. It provides a framework for understanding how to support the development of teams, from their initial formation through to maturity.

More notably, here are three benefits of team development in organizations:

Builds Trust: Trust is the foundation of all human relationships, and it matters in every workplace. Through proper team development implementation, team members can build rapport with a foundation of hands-on experience for fostering a collaborative relationship.

Increases Productivity:Success depends on how well you work with the other players. When you create a system that fosters meaningful collaboration and gives everyone room to grow, you discover new talents. You get the chance to discover new strengths and interests—and increase productivity.

Improves Communication: One of the biggest benefits of team development is that it helps build strong communication skills within your group. The activities can help improve communication among team members by encouraging them to share ideas and opinions openly, ultimately leading to better work styles.

Team members will learn how to communicate effectively without being too aggressive or passive-aggressive. This leads to less conflict within the team and outside of it (when dealing with customers). It also reduces the amount of time spent explaining concepts or ideas, which frees up time for other tasks.

What is the difference between team building and team development?

'Team-building' and 'Team Development' are often used interchangeably. And while they both involve bringing people together, they are different in their aims, strategies, and outcomes.

Team building is a process that creates an environment in which team members can work together more effectively. Team development aims to help team members grow and develop individually to contribute more to the team. 

Team building activities focus on bringing people with different areas of expertise together and getting them to interact outside their comfort zone. On the other hand, team development looks at ways your company can help teams work more effectively by focusing on goal alignment.

How do you use Tuckman's model?

Tuckman’s model is the key to building the dream team.

Building a team with all its members functioning at their best is no simple feat, but the goal is to provide a process that any team can follow to develop themselves and their team.

Ultimately, helping your team grow and develop will be more of a process than a one-time event.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered