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Learning Experience from Managing Project Teams: Reflection Report

Learning Experience from Managing Project Teams: Reflection Report


The society where we live has become more complex than ever before mainly due to globalization and technological advancements and this has result in the increased need for people to work in groups and teams to address the concerns and the problems in the world (Elm and Radin 2012, p. 313). In fact, it is no longer plausible to think that learning one skill or two is enough for an employee to contribute effectively to the success of an organization without interacting with colleagues. As such, the ability of people to work together as a team is increasingly becoming a necessity for successful career and for the meaningful contribution to the society. Teams are particularly important in undertaking a project since it bring synergy and different people with different expertise and ideas, which ensures effectiveness, efficiency and success of projects (Turk 2007, p. 38). However, making teams has never been an easy undertaking considering that teams comprises of people from different cultural backgrounds and generations. This means that at one time or the other, members of the team can clash over certain issues. In this paper, I will describe my learning experience from managing project team with the help of Tuckman and Jensen’s stage model.

Turk (2007, p. 26) argues that the ability of the team to work together on a project is critical to the success of a project. In fact, studies have shown that most projects fail because of the inability of the project manager to effectively manage teams. However, based on the experience, I have come to learn that, to effectively manage a project team, it is important for a project manager to understand Tuckman and Jensen’s stage model and the issues that are involved at each stage and how to deal with them; otherwise the team might not succeed in accomplishing the goals for which it is formed. Tuckman and Jensen’s stage model groups go through five major stages, namely forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning (Levi 2007, p. 11).

Forming is the first stage of group formation and involves team members trying to know one another and trying to understand how they are going to work together (Levi 2007, p. 14). This stage is associated with a lot of discomfort since the members are still unfamiliar with each other coupled with the confusion that exists considering that the members of the team are no aware of how the team will work together. Tuckman and Jensen advice that it is critical at this stage for the project team to develop a clear purpose define objectives/goals and plan how the team will function to achieve their objectives (Levi 2007, p. 14). Certainly, during the early stages of project team, I noted that there was a lot of confusion and discomfort among the members of the team that I was managing. I think that the discomfort and confusion was caused by the fact that we were still not familiar with each other well and the fact that we had not yet set clear goals and understood how the project team would function together as a team.

However, because most group developments models suggests that performance stage is preceded by social relations (Levi 2007, p. 16), I realized that, as project manager, it was important that I focus of developing social relations among the members of the team early in the team existence. In particularly, I noted that it was important for me to form social ‘icebreaker’ activities to enables the project team to familiarize with each other first. In response, I formed a team meeting that provided the team members with the opportunity to share something about their lives. By hearing about the personal life stories about team members, this proved helpful as it enabled the team to develop a sense of connection and relationship with each other. Therefore, this served as an important starting point in project team development towards cohesiveness.

The team then passed through the storming and the norming stage. According to Tuckman and Jensen stage model, the storming stage is characterized by conflicts among members of the team (Levi 2007, p. 18). The conflicts that arose among the members of the team were triggered by a number of factors. Firstly, I noted that differences in perceptions among the members of the team were a major factor that caused conflicts in the team. This is attributed to the fact that the project team was made of people from different cultural backgrounds that had different perception on how they felt the group should work (Turk 2007, p. 40). Secondly, differences in values were also a major factor that caused disagreement in the storming stage. The differences in values were caused by the fact that the project brought together workers from different generations, including baby boomers and generation X and generation Y that had different views and values with regards to how they felt the team should function and managed. Other issues that caused conflicts included confusion on project requirements, and roles, cross-cultural issues, and personality clash (Eisenhardt, Kahwajy and Bourgeois 1997, p. 78). In fact, at times one member or another had interest in a given way of solving problems that some members did not agree with and this created tension in the team for sometimes. However, as a leader, I was able to provide direction and guidance as well as address the differences between the conflicting members to the ensure cohesiveness in the team. In fact, I had to use different conflict resolution methods that depended on the nature of the conflict in question. Among the conflict resolutions I used included win-win, compromise, and ignorance among others (Elm and Radin 2012, p. 314). The storming stage eventually passed and we were finally able to come up with decisions that every project team members was able to support.

The project team proceeded to the norming stage which is characterized by team cohesiveness, limited conflict, team confidences and good social relations (Levi 2007, p. 21). At this stage, the members of the team were now able to work together without much problems since there was understanding among members of the team and the fact that each member now new the roles they were to play. This was followed by performing stage as the team enjoyed working together under my guidance as the project leader, thereby ensuring successful accomplishment of the project goals.


This reflection report indicates that, for a team to successfully accomplish their mandate, good management is important. This is because groups go through a number of stages before they can understand each other and their roles and be able to work cohesively. Therefore, wring this reflective report will make me a better manager because it has helped me understand the different stages that groups go through and the management/leadership approaches that are needed at each stage to ensure that members of a team work cohesively and pursue common project goals.


Eisenhardt, K. M., Kahwajy, J. L., & Bourgeois I, L. J 1997, ‘How management teams can have a good fight,’ Harvard Business Review, vol. 75, no. 4, pp. 77-85.

Elm, D. R., & Radin, T. J 2012, ‘Ethical decision making: Special or no different?’ Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 107, no. 3, pp. 313-329.

Levi, D 2007, Group dynamics for teams (2nd ed.). Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA.

Turk, W 2007, Black, white, and shades of gray ethics in project management. Defense AT&L, pp. 38-40.