I am a student currently attending the Shidler College of business at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Being in the business school is great because as a child I always knew I wanted to study business. One thing I did not expect was the amount of time spent working on group projects. I have been in many group projects or group activities before, but nothing like the group projects I have been a part of in the business school. I say this because the projects I am a part of now are very time consuming. In addition to that, the projects require a lot of interaction with other group members which can sometimes be very troublesome. For every business class I have taken thus far, there has always been in assignment that required us to do a group project. I will be explaining the stages of group development from my own experience.
In my business 315 management class our group project assignment was to come up with a business plan and present it to the class. We had to present to the class as if they were a group of investors, our goal was to get them to invest in our product or service. The other part of the assignment was to hand in a business plan for our product or service.
The forming stage was when we came together as a group. In this case, my group was formed because we were all sitting in the same row in class. We then exchanged phone numbers, e-mail, and days available to get started on the project. We knew the purpose and the mission of the group. This stage of the process went real easy for my group.
The storming stage was when we actually met to decide on what we were doing our project on. In this stage we were brainstorming on what product or service we wanted to do. This was probably the hardest stage for my group. Every single one of us had a different product or service in mind. This stage required a lot of patience. There were also many conflicts during this stage. Someone wanted to sell organic beef and someone else wanted to sell geothermal energy, our ideas were all over the place. We had three months to work on the project. It took us two months to finally pick a topic. We decided on starting a rental company because it was the easiest one to do at that point. This was the longest stage for my group.
The third stage norming went much smoother than the storming stage. Once we decided on a topic we set up times and dates everything had to be done by. We met twice a week because we were really short on time. Everyone was assigned a part to present to the class and everyone had to write a portion of the business plan. Everyone was on the same page and the group had a sense of unity at this stage. At this stage, we rehearsed presenting and wrote many drafts of the business plan.
The performing stage was the actually presentation to the class and final business plan paper handed in to the professor. The norming stage really helped a lot here because that was the part of the stage where we rehearsed our presentation many times and wrote many drafts to our business plan. We did really well because we ended up getting an “A” for both the presentation and business plan.
The final stage adjourning was the disbandment of the group. For this stage the group project was officially done and we celebrated our hard work.
Understanding the stages of group development is very important to anyone involved in a group or organization. Understanding the stages can make for a healthy group because in order to perform well you need to have accomplished the prior stages before moving on. In my example, we performed well because of the hard work we put into the storming and norming stages. If your group is struggling, you can revisit a stage to see what you did wrong. In my example, we had many ideas for the business plan. We would pick one idea and move on to the norming stage, once we found out that the idea would not work we would go back to the storming stage. We did this many times and this process took over two months. I recommend to all of you reading this to understand the stages of group development because it may be beneficial to you and your group.