What is the Tuckman Ladder Model? 5 Stages of Team Development

The Tuckman Ladder Model is a popular framework for understanding team dynamics. The model describes four distinct stages that teams go through as they work together: forming, storming, norming, and performing. This allows a team development process very important in project management, as it empowers individuals and teams to work together to achieve a common goal.

In project management, team development is the process of creating and managing a team of individuals who work together to achieve a common goal. This process includes activities such as team building, team member selection, team training, and team performance management.

In 1965, Bruce Tuckman proposed what is now known as the Tuckman Ladder Model, which is a four-stage model of team development. This model is widely used in businesses and organizations as it provides a framework for understanding how teams form and develop over time.

An effective team development process is essential for any project manager who wants to build a high-performing team. By taking the time to develop your team, you can improve communication, increase collaboration, and boost overall team performance.

According to the model, groups go through four main stages when forming: forming, storming, norming, and performing.

What is Team Development?

Project management is the process of organizing and executing a project from start to finish. It involves planning, setting deadlines, assigning tasks, and tracking progress. 

Team development involves bringing together a team of people with different skills and knowledge to work on a project. The team members need to be able to work together efficiently and effectively in order to achieve the project goals.

There are a few key elements to team development:

Defining roles and responsibilities

Each team member should have a clear role and responsibility within the team.

Establishing communication channels

The team needs to have a clear way to communicate with each other, whether that is through email, instant messaging, or regular meetings.

Setting goals and deadlines

Once the goals and objectives are identified, the team leader must then identify the individual skills and knowledge that each team member will need to achieve these goals.

The 5 stages of the Tuckman Ladder Model

The model describes four distinct stages that teams go through as they work together: forming, storming, norming, and performing. Each stage has its own challenges and opportunities, and teams must overcome these challenges in order to reach the next stage of a project by working together more effectively.


In the forming stage, team members are getting to know each other and establish ground rules. This is typically a period of low conflict as team members are still getting to know each other. Establish ground rules and make sure team members understand their roles and duties. For example, this can happen during a kickoff meeting.


The storming stage is when team members start to disagree with each other and conflict begins to arise. This is a normal and necessary moment as members are still trying to figure out their roles. Through promoting leadership, open communication between team members, and keep continual team communication.


The Norming stage is when the group starts to work together and gel as a unit. Team building exercises and honest feedback will encourage your team to bond properly


The performing stage is when the group is functioning at its best. Give honest and helpful comments when you know it is necessary. Try to engage in little intervention but only assist the team so it can become self-organizing.


The adjourning stage is sometimes added to the model to describe the team’s disbandment or completion of a project. Here happens where the completion of the project must be celebrated. It is important to provide support and recognition to your team so they would feel rewarded. 

Tuckman Ladder
Tuckman Ladder: Image source

The Importance of the Tuckman Ladder Model in Project Management

The Model is a well-known framework for understanding team development.  This tool will encourage you to understand how groups develop and change over time.  Understanding the model can help you to more effectively manage your team and help them to reach their potential.

Benefits of using the Tuckman ladder model in team development

It helps teams identify their stage of development.

It can help you to manage your team more effectively

It can help you to identify team strengths and weaknesses this will allow you to future improvements

It emphasizes the importance of team cohesiveness.

It can help team members understand and respect each other’s roles, this will highlight the importance of effective communication.

COG’S Ladder Vs Tuckman Ladder 

There are many different models for team development, but two of the most commonly used are Tuckman’s Ladder model and the COGs Ladder model. Both of these models have a similar goal: to help teams grow and develop over time. However, there are some key differences between the two models.

So which model is better?

Team Development stages according to COG’s and Tuckman’s
COG’s LadderTuckman’s Theory 
Why we are here Storming
Bid For PowerNorming
Esprit *Adjourning

COG’s Ladder is more simplistic and easy to understand. 

Tuckman’s Ladder is more detailed and includes a fifth stage (adjourning). 

Some experts believe that the fifth stage is essential for teams that need to disband after completing a project.

Tuckman’s ladder model is more focused on the team’s progress through the four stages, while the COG’s ladder model emphasizes the importance of the team’s goals and objectives.

Tuckman’s Ladder model is focused on the stages of team development, from forming to storming to norming to performing. The COG’s Ladder model is focused on the different roles that team members can play, from leader to follower to contributor.

It is important to mention that understanding the five COG’s Ladder stages can help you to better understand your team, just like the Tuckman’s Ladder. 

Both can also help you to identify when your team is stuck in a certain stage and how to help them move forward.

Both models have their merits, so it’s a matter of finding the one that works best for your team’s needs.


What are the stages of the Tuckman ladder model?

The Tuckman Ladder model is based on the idea that teams go through four distinct stages of development: forming, storming, norming, and performing. Each stage has its own challenges and benefits.

Why is it important to understand the Tuckman approach to your team?

Understanding the model can help you to more effectively manage your team and help them to reach their potential.

Who created the Tuckman Ladder Model?

It was first proposed by Dr. Bruce Tuckman in 1965 and has since been used by organizations all over the world to help improve team performance.

What are the stages of the COGS Ladder model?

The COG’s Ladder model is a 5 stage- model of team development that consists of the Polite stage, Why we’re here stage, power stage, cooperation stage, and esprit stage.

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