How project manager can be important in team development?

Team Development

Team development is surely a critical mechanism and role of project manager in such demanding moment is still not clear to the most practitioners. Before explaining the importance of project manager in team development process along with recommended actions, let’s review the brief background of process “Team Development”.

Team development is an art in itself and Bruce Tuckman is an artist who formed a spectacular model, so leaders can ensure the high performance from their team. He came up with the following stages in 1965 and later added another one in year 1977.

Let’s look at each stage in more detail including some suggested activities that can be taken by project manager.


In this stage, team members can be positive, concerned, and simply motivated as they normally have lesser information about each other, tasks and expectations. They look to the project manager for clarity and track.

Project manager can:

  • Communicate goals of the project and team to all team members with clear direction as Project Manager is the only person who must be very central about goals, tasks and strategy.
  • Ensure establishment of team norms for working together by spending some quality time with them. It can lasts for some longer time as they make an effort to know & respect each other.


Here team fellows start moving against the limitations developed in previous stage. In this stage, differences of opinion and conflicts between each other are common may be due to the different working styles, natures, cultures, and anything.

Project manager can:

  • Help the team by ensuring that they listen, understand and respect each other’s point of view. It can be done by involving in team meetings as facilitator where usually opinions or conflicts occurs.
  • Develop supportive environment that enable team members to create strong relationship with each other by arranging informal gatherings.


Differences in judgment or clashes start getting resolved in this stage. Team members know each other and ready to provide constructive feedbacks and help each other when needed. Most of the time duration between Storming and Norming continues bit stretched and can revert situations along with new tasks.

Project manager can:

  • Allow team to use their relationship in decision making or problem solving exercises as they know how well they can perform together.
  • Monitor team’s discussion and efforts to ensure the quick resolutions on conflicts and working effective in collaboration. Might jump in, if team is losing the right direction.


Team is near to achieve the project goals by giving high and consistent performance. Individual is not valued in this stage and only concept of team works perfectly. They do not need project manager for day to day operations and can work independently.

Project manager can:

  • Now invest your time to bring commitments into the deliverables and supporting team members to achieve get decisions approved from steering committee.
  • Enhance team members and overall process for more high level performances.
  • Put efforts into other areas of project management such as risks, costs, etc.


This stage comes in the end of each project where team members are disengaged or disassembled from the project. Depending upon the nature of organization, some team members will not be working together or might face uncertain future and that might create an emotional situation for everyone in the team.

Project manager can:

  • Arrange a formal / informal project success celebrations where hard work by team members can be appreciated. Especially in projectized organization where project manager and team members keep working together repetitively on different projects, in this case celebration / appreciation of efforts will help in next targets.
  • Lessons learned can be shared with each other to refer in future initiatives.

Process of team progress is well known to almost each project manager, but being a leader, role is not clear to everyone. Bruce Tuckman’s famous model can be good enough to ensure putting people together for achieving project success with extraordinary level performance. If you are using any other approach to keep your team organized, let us know in comments or you can share your valuable thoughts at

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