Working in a team can be a rewarding and challenging experience. Teams go through different stages of development as they work towards their goals, and understanding these stages can help team members navigate the ups and downs of team dynamics. In this article, we will explore the team life cycle through the lens of an imaginary case study of a Sri Lankan IT team.
Our team consists of five members: Ravi, a software engineer; Shalini, a project manager; Chaminda, a business analyst; Nisha, a quality assurance analyst; and Sanjaya, a technical writer. The team was formed to develop a new software product for a client in the financial industry. Let's see how the team members exhibited different behavioral attributes at each stage of the team life cycle.
In the beginning, the team members were polite and tentative in their interactions. Ravi was eager to showcase his technical skills, while Shalini was focused on defining the project scope and timelines. Chaminda wanted to ensure that the software requirements were clear, while Nisha was concerned about the quality of the product. Sanjaya was interested in documenting the project progress and outcomes. The team had to establish trust and rapport with each other as they were from different departments and had not worked together before. The team's goals and objectives were still unclear, and there was confusion around roles and responsibilities. Team members were more focused on their individual contributions rather than team goals.
As the team progressed, conflicts and disagreements arose. Ravi felt that his ideas were not being given enough attention, while Shalini was frustrated with delays in software development. Chaminda and Nisha had different opinions on how the software should be tested, and Sanjaya felt that the project documentation was not getting the attention it deserved. The team had to work through these differences, which were stressful but also necessary for their development. The team members had to be willing to listen to each other and find common ground. They had to communicate effectively and build trust among themselves. Team members were more competitive and protective of their ideas and work.
Once the team worked through the conflicts, they entered the norming stage. The team members started to develop trust and collaboration as they established norms and shared values. They learned to appreciate each other's strengths and weaknesses and communicate more effectively. Ravi was able to showcase his technical skills, but he also learned to listen to other team members' perspectives. Shalini was able to define the project scope and timelines more clearly, and she also learned to delegate tasks to other team members. Chaminda and Nisha were able to work together to define the software requirements and testing criteria, respectively. Sanjaya was able to document the project progress and outcomes in a way that was useful to the team. The team had a greater focus on team goals rather than individual contributions.
In the final stage, the team was fully functioning and working together at a high level to achieve their goals. They had a shared sense of purpose and commitment to the success of the project. The team members were flexible and adaptable to changes and challenges, and they were proactive in finding solutions. Ravi, Shalini, Chaminda, Nisha, and Sanjaya worked seamlessly and effectively to develop the software product. They communicated effectively, collaborated efficiently, and were able to deliver the project on time and within budget. The team members were motivated and enthusiastic, and they celebrated their success together.
Working in a team can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Teams go through different stages of development as they work towards their goals, and understanding these stages can help team members navigate the ups and downs of team dynamics. In this case study of a Sri Lankan IT team, we saw how the team members exhibited different behavioral attributes at each stage of the team life cycle. By working through conflicts and establishing trust and collaboration, the team was able to achieve high performance and deliver a successful project. Team members who are aware of the team life cycle can better understand their role in the team and contribute effectively to the team's success.