How were the Axify graphics and approach chosen? Various concepts and frameworks on teams' performance measurement form the platform's basis, and the Tuckman model is part of it.
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Understand the team life cycle
All teams (or almost all!) agree that we need to measure ourselves. Where the question remains is when and how to measure.
- Is Day 1, the start of the project or team formation, too early?
- Is it too late if we start measuring during the project?
- What should we measure first?
First and foremost, it is essential to understand the team life cycle and the stages of its formation. Sometimes, the most straightforward measure is also the most difficult to quantify, like the level of trust of each team member towards the team as a whole... And it is pretty normal not to have this indicator on day 1!
5 stages of a team (Tuckman's model) - Illustration: teamwork.com
What is Tuckman's model? First, it identifies the five stages through which groups (teams) progress: forming, storming, normalization (norming), performance (performing), and closure (adjourning). Each of the five stages of team development represents a rung on the ladder of team building. As group members climb the ladder, they move from a random collection of unknowns to a successful team capable of working toward a common goal.
Step 1, the start of the team formation (forming stage).
Think of Day 1; team members get to know each other. They discuss goals, roles and work rules. The people are the priority at this time, not the project.
Step 2, after the calm... the storm (storming stage).
At this stage, the team is starting to get to know each other and to identify some irritants... confrontations are possible! It is quite normal to feel a decrease in trust (which confirms that this trust is starting to be established!) and an increase in stress, which can affect the team's overall performance.
Psst! We also talk about the importance of communication to survive the storm phase in this article. Read on!
Axify's Human Axis measures team morale from five perspectives: stress and motivation levels, sense of inclusion (derived from trust), sense of psychological safety, and alignment with goals. These indicators allow team leaders to overview the team's feelings and address specific points, if necessary.
- In the same spirit, the measurement of work in progress (Process Axis) and the number of comments in code reviews (Technical Axis) allow to measure the level of activity and collaboration of the team.
Step 3, slowly getting back to normal (norming stage).
The team puts aside confrontation and recognizes the value and strengths of each team member. Trust is restored, and collaboration begins. Of course, the duration of this stage can vary, and it is quite possible to return to the storming phase. The key here is to keep our eyes on the prize and focus on the team's goal.
You should notice some trends, up or down, in the various Axify metrics. For example, a decrease and stabilization in cycle time may indicate that the team has found and is maintaining its delivery momentum. The time invested per item type can also be a testament to the quality of work if fewer bugs are introduced with each delivery.
- The team should also be more open to dialogue during meetings and ceremonies. The Daily Digest becomes an excellent tool to guide the conversations to the items that need to be addressed to move them forward as a team.
Step 4, better, faster, stronger (performing stage).
The ideal stage; the team is more successful than ever! This means that all team members are sufficiently autonomous and confident in their problem-solving abilities to function without management supervision. As a result, everyone works like a well-oiled machine, without conflict and in sync with the same end goal.
- The team is now well established; the Human Axis measures are positive, the team communicates, addresses potential blockers together, and finds a solution. This can be reflected, once again, in the trends presented by various graphs.
Congratulations, you made it!
Step 5, time to say goodbye (adjourning stage).
This is the most melancholic of all the stages of team building. The adjourning stage assumes that project teams exist only for a specific period; once the team's mission is accomplished, the team itself dissolves... And eventually return to the formation phase for a future project.
So, when should we start measuring ourselves?
It is never too early or too late to start measuring yourself. The most important thing is to be aware of the importance of inspecting yourself!
By adding your projects to Axify from the very beginning, you'll be able to track your team's forming cycle from the very first day. Sure, some metrics will show a lot of variation in the first few weeks (among others, the Human Axis compiles data over two weeks before presenting you with the results), but the tool will highlight the elements that need to be addressed in order to inspire the team to have the right discussions and work together towards a common goal; delivering the project and satisfying the customers and users.