Project Planning Research Paper
Fredrick L. Harris Professor Greg Wilson Project Planning BBA 4126 21 May 2009 FIVE STAGE TEAM DEVELOPMENT MODEL LIFE CYCLES Introduction The purpose of this paper is to discuss the life cycle of team development. How the stages of a project team works towards an end conclusion. The benefits of a project team and the risks of allowing the project team to exist beyond its original goals. The five stage team development consists of five stages; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.
This is the Tuckman Model introduced in 1965, by Bruce Tuckman.This model explains the basic progress and growth of a team. The first stage, forming, is the members coming together as a team. At this stage the group attempts to set up the parameters and goals of the team. At this stage either a leader is assigned or selected by the group. The next stage is storming, this is the time the group hammers out its differences.
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According to Lencioni, in his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, he outlines five dysfunctions. These are the following; lack of trust among members, the fear of conflict, lack of commitment, the avoidance of accountability, and the inattention to results.A strong team leader is needed to act as a facilitator to steer the group to the next stage. The norming stage is the group forms group identity and trust among members. It will review and finalize its set goals and objectives. This is followed by the group truly developing into a working team, called the performing stage.
It is at this point the group is ready to proceed with actually accomplishing its goals. The final stage is adjourning, this is when the group has completed its set objectives and in no longer needed to provide the role as a team. What has been described is the life cycle of the team concept.It is born, has growing pains, matures, works, and ends. Edwin Lee in his article The Life Cycles of Executive Teams, points out this view that a team is a living organism.
He is of the opinion that the ending of a team is a good thing, “Death is nature’s way of making room for the new and innovative and for keeping life interesting! ” He has formed the concept that with each team success, the accomplishment of the goal, it develops a team memory. He further concludes that the team performs successfully when it understands the current problems or issues.A team that was successful will fail when it no longer stays current, but instead lives the past relying on its team memory. There is constant change in industries; companies must stay on top on these changes. They must make the necessary changes to stay competitive.
An example of a company willing to change is Black & Decker. The world’s largest producer of power tools was facing increased competition. The company looked for ways to solve this growing threat. They set out and implemented Corning’s five-stage gate process. The plan was simple; develop a universal motor for all of its products.Instead of having a whole series of motors they were able to reduce costs by using only one design.
This resulted in Black & Decker’s ability to remain the dominant force in the power tool industry. As a company established in 1910, they have shown that change, regardless of past successes, is needed when market forces demand a new way a doing business. This strategic changed has revitalized Black & Decker, but not all companies have been willing to see that changes are needed. An example of a company unable to forecast the future correctly is AT&T.During the 1980’s the National Science Foundation had wanted to turn over the role of administering the internet.
They had contacted AT&T, and offered what would have been a monopoly to the company. However, AT&T turned down the offer. The company’s technical experts advised against the move. At the time use of centrally switched technology was dominant and they incorrectly believed that it would remain. By living in the past, and not looking at the current trends or possible futures, AT&T missed a golden opportunity.
Their team of experts failed. When a team is formed it focuses on the future and once it succeeds it focuses on the past” by Edwin Lee. AT is a successful company and the largest long distance carrier in the United States. But by focusing on their past successes, they failed to look towards the future. On the contrast, Black & Decker looked for solutions that would transform their company to succeed in the future. Comparing these two companies show how the management teams of an organization can guide a company’s destiny.
Can success breed failure? That is the opinion of Edwin Lee.He cited the success of IBM with their introduction of the IBM PC, followed with a failure, the PC Jr. Apple Inc.
was successful with its Apple II and followed with a failure, Lisa. He is of the opinion that success of a product by a management team can lead to the failure of the next product. Can failure breed success? In Edwin Lee’s article he examined generals Norman Schwartzkopf and Colin Powell, whom both served during the Vietnam War. He suggests that experience earned from the failures of Vietnam, both men the wisdom and knowledge to lead to the success of Desert Storm.But even with their record success he would not want them to lead another battle.
His conclusion is that they would rely on their past success and would not be good at changing for future circumstances. He further concludes that executives and executive teams should only serve for eight years. This term limit would keep organizations fresh and focused on current and future trends. Organizations should create project teams to examine future trends. A project team would be able to come up with new innovative ideas, like Black & Decker was able to do.They would also be able to prevent the missed opportunity that AT experienced with its lack of vision in turning down the operation of the internet.
The key point with creating a project team is to understand the adjourning stage. In order to keep fresh, and focus on current issues and future trends, project teams must have a limited life span. If the project team exists too long, it will rely on its past successes and possibly fail as did IBM and Apple. When forming a new project team a company will need to look at who will be the members. A diverse group would be able to provide multiple view points.
For example having a member with technical expertise would be able to provide engineering guidance on how a product could be built or redesigned. Having a member with sales and customer service experience would be able to provide the group with needs of the consumer. A member with a marketing background could up with ideas such as promotion and brand management. Having a member with a logistic background would provide information on sourcing, procurement and delivery. These are just a few suggestions, but having members with different backgrounds and knowledge would provide a wide range of new ideas.
The next important step is to pick a team leader. This person would need to have strong leadership skills to manage a diverse group. Followed by the next stage, which is storming where ideas are formed and goals are outlined. The next stage is norming where the group forms into a working group. It is here that the ideas presented at storming stage are realized and finalized. The next stage, performing, an effective team has been formed and a company can benefit from their proposals.
The final stage is the adjourning stage. This is one of the most important parts of using project team.This is where the team has performed its function and is no longer needed. It is critical that management ensures that the team has an end. Regardless of any successes the team may have accomplished, as past success can lead to future failure.
If the organization needs to continue with a project team, it should start the entire process over again. Start with the first step of forming a project team and continue the process to the end, adjourning. The concept of ending and starting over is not new, as many companies have gone through the process of restructuring.But in order to keep a project team focus on the current, of what is going on in today’s market it needs to be viewed as a temporary phase. There is no set time for how long a project team may exist, but once it has finished its original goal it should be disbanded.
Project team do have a life cycle, and organizations need to realize each stage and never forget that ending a project team is just as important and starting one. References: Lee, E. (1996) Life Cycles of Executive Teams, Work with nature, don’t put senile teams on life support. Retrieved May 14, 2009 from http://www. elew.
com/lifecycl. htm Cooper, R. Edgett, S. and Kleinschmidt, E. (2002) Optimizing the Stage-Gate Process: What Best Practice Companies are Doing. Retrieved May 14, 2009 from http://www.
stage-gate. com Hashmi, K. (2000). Introduction and Implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM). Retrieved May 13, 2009 from http://www. isixsigma.
com/library White, A. (2008) From Comfort Zone to Performance Management; Understanding development and performance. Retrieved May 13, 2009 from http://www. pm-solutions. com/Performance_ManagementApril2008. pdf Mcelwain, G.
(2009) Creating Team Building Guidelines. Retrieved May 13, 2009 from http://ezinearticles. com