The four stages of group development are:
Forming is when a team is initially brought together. Team members are becoming acquainted with the project work as well as each other and generally remain polite and avoid conflict.
Storming is (to borrow a phrase from MTV’s Real World) when people “… stop being polite and start getting real.” Team members challenge one another’s ideas and conflicts ensue.
Norming is when tempers cool and people look past the different personality types & ideas and become more interested in solving problems and doing the work. The team may be slow to restart having just exited the contentious Storming stage but will gradually pick up speed.
Performing is the final stage when the group is really working cohesively and executing at a higher degree of skill & coordination then seen in any of the other stages.
Some teams skip the Storming stage - some never leave it. The team of architects on the Lincoln Center project may never have reached the Performing stage. No team is guaranteed to make it to the Performing stage. Similarly, new project work or personnel changes may set a team back at any time.
We all work with other people on projects. Conflict is a difficult but normal component of a group dynamic. Knowing the stages of how a group comes together doesn’t mean you will be able to avoid conflict. In order to achieve a goal, you need to know that you must work through the conflict. Try to resolve conflict as quickly as possible. Knowing that productivity is on the other side of Storming should motivate you to get up and startrunning as soon as possible. Only after overcoming the storm can you be a part of a productive & high-performing team.