If you use Agile methodology within your team, then you are probably familiar with the concept of just how transformative this can be for development. Agile may be a great way of developing solutions to help with fast deployment but it isn’t a management tool. Teams often work to their own schedules within Agile, but this can sometimes be less efficient even in cases where Agile methodologies are being used. One way in which project managers can move towards higher performance is through the use of team models.
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages that you will find with different team models. Additionally, we discuss how you might find the right model for your team.
There are many examples of teams that are made up of the best and brightest individuals and yet still do not work as effectively as they should do. This situation owes little to the capabilities of the individuals who make up the teams. Rather, it is down to how well the team itself is actually structured.
There are many examples of teams that are made up of the best and brightest individuals and yet still do not work as effectively as they should do.
One of the keys to providing the necessary structure that can help a team to work well together is the team performance model.
The downside is that, unfortunately, a high-performance team model isn’t always prescriptive. There is a good chance that you will need to look for a model that you believe is the best fit for your team and tailor it as you go along. Alternatively, you might even change to another model later on. It is important to think of high performance not as a destination but rather a journey.
It is important to think of high performance not as a destination but rather a journey.
On the plus side, however, performance models can generate ideas and output whilst also increasing the effectiveness of a team. Let’s take a look at some of the models.
Published in 1965 this model includes four stages of group development in its original form, a fifth was added later making it the FSNPA model (forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning).
- Moves with the natural progression of human nature and this permits leadership styles to change as the team matures
- Familiarises the group with tension and allows them to work better as a team
- Each stage can include conflict which may be highly uncomfortable for some and may hamper the group’s ability to progress to the next stage.
- No instant way to solve the tension at any stage, and no way of knowing when “storming” ends.
This is a simple team performance model describing what a team needs in order to be effective. Developed in 1977, GRPI stands for:
- Roles and responsibilities
- Processes and procedures
- Interactions / interpersonal relationships
- Good for team formation
- Good for solving issues in teamwork
- A static model that only shows how a team is doing at any particular point rather than during the full lifecycle of the project
- The model relies on a team being well structured rather than being more emotional and prone to development over time
The Katzenbach and Smith model
Developed in 1993, this is a triangular framework that looks at the main aspects of teamwork: personal growth, accountability and collective work products.
- Development focus can assist in increasing engagement and ownership
- The model encourages a team to find a purpose and communicate that purpose with stakeholders across the organisation.
- Provides a strong sense of individual and collective accountability
- The team must be quite small and needs to meet regularly
- When the group gets stuck in the initial conflict, it can make becoming a cohesive team almost impossible.
The T7 Model of Team Effectiveness
Developed in 1995, this model includes five internal factors that impact how effective a team can be : thrust, trust, talent, teaming skills and task skills. It also considers two external factors that can impact a team: team leader fit and team support from within the organisation.
- Gives priority to the positive intent of all team members
- A good way to understand those factors that contribute to team effectiveness
- With no support from stakeholders outside the team, the team can’t be as effective.
- Needs a leader who is highly collaborative
The LaFasto and Larson model
A newer team performance model developed in 2001, following a large study of teams across a range of organisations. The study discovered that effective teams consisted of five primary elements: team members, team relationships, team problem-solving, leadership of the team and organisation environment.
- Good for those who want to understand teamwork dynamics and collaboration
- Gives priority to collective thinking
- Whilst good for investigating group dynamics, this model is not prescriptive and doesn’t offer guidance on how those dimensions most critical for a successful team can be achieved
The Lencioni model
A team performance model developed in 2005, this model develops on the deficiencies of a team that has inefficiencies rather than on those beneficial assets of a team that has efficiencies.
- Assists teams to be aware of dysfunctional elements so they can avoid them
- Discusses mistakes openly
- Prioritises trust between team members
- Focuses on results
- Relies on team members being vulnerable in order to progress the project toward trust
The Drexler-Sibbet model
This model was developed after 10 years of refinement. In this model, team development has seven stages: four for building a team and three for keeping that team performing. The idea is that a team should begin with a good amount of freedom so they can ideate and create. Then they should progress to stricter parameters as the project gets closer to implementation. The seven steps of this model are:
- Trust building
- Clarification of goals
- High performance
- Good for building up high efficiency in teams
- Linear process not needed – individuals in a team can go back and forth between steps and choose their own path
- Can be used as a diagnostic tool when a team comes across a barrier
- Can take time to implement and then develop
- If a team skip a step in their progress, the progression will end up being slower
Hopefully you’ll now have more of an insight into different team models and will now be able to consider which could be best for your team.