Do all projects go through the same phases? I think it was Bruce Tuckman way back in the mid-sixties that suggested that all teams had to go through a number of phase in order to grow. We know them well as storming, forming, norming and performing. It would seem he is proved right time and time again. It is almost invariable that any team goes through these phases in order to face up to the challenges that it is going to face. Someone has added transforming to the end but that’s just trying to be clever.
But is it the same for projects? I guess so and that is, in the main, that projects are run by teams of people. Their outcome or output is a product of working together.
I ask because once again we find ourselves in the midst of a project that is storming. The original project plan is being stretched in all directions which is leading to stressed out team members and harsh words. We’re all very nice about it in the public sector and feel bad if we dare to criticise anyone yet, according to Bruce, it is an inevitability. People who have to work closely together will come with different approaches, different ideas and different styles. They are going to rub each other up and things ill boil over when the pressure is turned up.
So is this something we should we be worried about? Personally I don’t think so. It is better to recognise that this is an inevitable consequence of what we are trying to do and to have arrived at the storming phase is an achievement in itself.
Remember, you cannot perform until you storm. Getting it all of your chest is a precursor to being able to deliver. If you haven’t got there yet you haven’t tried hard enough or your project is going to fail.
High pressure leads to storms.
The question is, ‘is it better to force the storming phase early in order to get to performing or is this something that is just going to happen naturally?’ For me the jury is out though I suspect that these things will work themselves out in good time.
They are all meeting up on Monday once the clouds have cleared.