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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Basics of Lean and Six Sigma for the Laboratory. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Stages of Project Team Development

Six Sigma provides a quantitative framework for evaluating and improving process performance. Process improvement is not an individual effort but a team and organizational effort. Project team development may be divided into four stages: Forming, storming, norming, and performing.
  1. Forming This is a time when team members are getting to know each other. Usually, people are excited to be selected to be on the team as well as enthusiastic about solving problems. At the same time, they are uncertain about their roles on the team.
  2. Storming Once the team starts working on the problem, frustration and uncertainly may begin to set in. People may also start to disagree and argue over the project. Cliques may form within the team.
  3. Norming This is when the team begins to perform; it focuses on solving the problem for which the team was formed. Disagreements among team members diminish and there is general support for leadership. Leadership roles start to be shared among team members.
  4. Performing Finally, when team members collaborate and demonstrate willingness to assist other team members to achieve the project goal, improvement is made.
Depending on the team, the time that is spent at each stage will vary. Also, it is possible for a team to go back and forth between different stages. One important thing to keep in mind is that it is absolutely crucial that the right people are chosen for the team. Adding or removing team members in the middle of the project can move a team backwards significantly. When the project ends, the team effort should be formally recognized. While monetary compensations, such as increases in salary, bonuses, and stock options can be used, non-monetary rewards, such as recognition in newsletters, “well done” notes from executive management, and small recognition parties can also be used to reward a team. The project team is temporary and is disbanded after the problem-solving project is completed, with everyone returning to their normal job duties.