Team management refers to techniques, processes and tools for organizing and coordinating a group of individuals working towards a common goal or task; i.e. a team.
Several well-known approaches to team management have come out of academic work. Examples include the Belbin Team Inventory by Meredith Belbin, a method to identify the different types of personalities within teams, and Ken Blanchard's description of "High Performing Teams".
The 'Team Development Model', identified by Bruce Tuckman, offers a foundational definition of the stages teams go through during their life cycle. Those stages are labeled Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Forming is a stage in which team members come together, but may not know each other. Gathering and sharing information occur in this stage and strengths and weaknesses are gauged to determine where a person may fit in with the project. Storming is the stage where conflicts, rules, and expectations get discussed. A leader is also chosen here. Norming occurs when bonds are created and alliances and trust start to flourish. The members will learn how they fit into the collective goal. Performing is the first time when work begins towards the goal. It is generally the longest stage and all responsibilities have been handed down. Finally, in adjourning, the loose ends get tied up and final completion tasks are finished.
While the activities of team management are not new, many of the tools used by team managers are. The more Organizational Development-oriented practitioners often use interview-based analysis and provide reportage and insights that team leaders and their management may use to adapt team practices for higher performance. Teams can also be developed through team building activities - which can also be used simply to build relationships where team members lack cohesion due to organizational structure or physical distance. Project managers may approach team management with a focus on structure, communications and standardized practices.
With the growing need to integrate the efforts of teams composed of members from different companies and geographies, organizations are increasingly turning to a new class of Internet software for team management. These tools combine planning and collaboration with features that provide a structure for team relationships and behaviors. In addition, there are tools that facilitate the forming of highly productive teams through analysis of personality and skills profiles.
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