Project Planning Research Paper

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Fredrick L. Harris
Professor Greg Wilson
Project Planning BBA 4126
21 May 2009



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. 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...
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