When teams first get together there is a level of excitement and newness and exuberance to make great things happen.  This is the FORMING stage.  After a while, the halo effect of the newness wears off and when the team realizes there’s actual work to be done, there tends to lose momentum.  There might be in-fighting and arguments and name-calling and sometimes even team members want to disassociate themselves from the team.  This is the STORMING stage.  Only after the team goes through this storming phase can a team leader even hope to get constructive actions from the team’s efforts.  The team eventually starts to settle down.  They start to normalize.  This is the NORMING stage.  After the team has normalized for a while, they progress to the most productive stage – that being the PERFORMING stage.  That’s when the constructive work really starts to exhibit itself.  Can a team go straight through to the performing phase without going through the subsequent three phases?  Yes, but more often than not, teams will go through all four of these stages.

Six Sigma Terminology