Project Team Development and How to Accelerate It


By Eric Wright, PhD 

Indiana, USA


Because projects are temporary, time is of the essence in the context of any project.  Project teams need to quickly become functional, producing timely, high-quality project work without delay.  This article describes how a teaming model is applied in creating and developing academic project teams, and discusses that model’s effectiveness within the academic project management environment.  The article also addresses the use of the model within professional project teams.


Projects are temporary; they have definite start dates and end dates.  This fact suggests that effective project managers must get their project teams performing meaningful project work as soon as possible, as time is of the essence.  Project managers can use Tuckman’s Team Development Model to cause groups to develop quickly and along a “fairly predictable path” (Smith, 2005).  This model is valuable as a simple means of discussing and exploring team dynamics (Rickards & Moger, 2000), and powerful as a way to accelerate team formation.  Project teams whose members are aware of the processes involved in their group’s development become more effective, more quickly, thus meeting the project manager’s need for timely productivity (Smith, 2005).


The exercise described below (based on the Tuckman model) is designed to help groups of students rapidly develop into effective project teams at the beginning of their senior capstone courses.   These groups have only eight weeks to produce course project deliverables, including a research paper and a formal Microsoft PowerPoint presentation.  The exercise is used in undergraduate and graduate student classes on a Private sector university campus located in the Midwest.


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About the Author

flag-usaeric-wrightEric Wright, PhD, PMP, CIA 

Indianapolis, Indiana


Eric Wright, PhD, PMP, CIA, is a project management professor, practitioner, speaker, trainer, and founding consultant/CEO of The PM Doctors.  He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration, with a Concentration in Financial Management, from Northcentral University, an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies, with a Concentration in Psychology, from Excelsior College.  Additionally, he is pursuing a Master’s in Project Management from the PMI GAC-accredited Keller Graduate School of Management.  His doctoral dissertation focused on the leadership behaviors of project managers associated through LinkedIn, and examined variables that influence a project manager’s choice of leadership behavior.  Eric is also a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Project Management Professional (PMP), and Process Improvement Expert (Lean 6 Green Belt).  He has twenty-three years of experience as a project manager and facilitator, accountant, resource manager, teacher/trainer and leader at many levels of responsibility in various organizations.  He has taught and trained in the fields of healthcare, public financial and accounting services, project management, the military, and education.  His work, products, and services can be found at The PM Doctors, and he can be contacted at [email protected] or at www.linkedin.com/pub/eric-wright-phd-pmp/29/579/569/.