Making “a team” into “the team”. Seems like a simple task that can be solved with a few team building activities, conducted by a team leader or a Delivery Manager. But, in reality it is much more complicated. There are several stages of team forming and team developing that must never be overlooked if you want your team to be successful and efficient.
SupportYourApp success in delivering outstanding customer support is built on a strong team management and personal development. So we pride ourselves on a very cool set of team developing techniques that we have established over almost a decade of expertise in customer support services.
Tuckman five stages of team development and SupportYourApp
Dr Bruce Tuckman famously published his Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing model of team development in 1965. A fifth stage, Adjourning was added in the 1970s. In order to understand what we are talking about, it is better to first describe what these stages mean for us:
Forming — the members of the newly formed team are getting to know each other through social interactions. This stage is filled with questions such as “❓ Will I be a good fit to the team?”, “❓ What is my role here?” and many others, although our consultants do not have to ask these question for long, as each of them are assigned to the team, they are best fitted for (according to their set of soft and hard skills).
Storming — the members of the team begin to clash. This stage is usually marked with various conflicts as different personality traits begin to emerge. At SupportYourApp all the conflicts are nipped in the bud by the team leaders and Delivery Managers, so this stage, if present, is short-lived and doesn’t have any influence on the professional life of our company.
Norming — the team gets through the storming stage (no matter how short it is) and its performance begins to improve. The goals are more or less clear at this point, which means that the team may start working on developing the strategy and the processes.
Performing — the team has settled into their new roles and is starting to function as intended. Meeting team goals and solving different issues as a team are the two crucial parts of this stage.
Adjourning — the team has met all the goals and accomplished all the tasks and may now disband in order to form back up again or for its individual members to join other teams only to repeat all the stages again. Not all the teams are going through this stage, as some of them have permanent tasks set in front of them, which means that there is no need to ever disband.
Why proper management of the teams is beneficial to our clients?
Sure, when the team is developed and when all the stages of team building are behind them, their performance is expected to be superb. But there are other benefits from having implemented Tuckman’s five stages into a team development process.
What are the benefits of the proper team developing process?
1. 🔄 There is no turnover inside the teams
It is important that all the consultants are working in a friendly environment and feel the support from both — their Delivery Manager and their teammates. This, put together with the possibility of professional development and growth ensures that there is no reason for them to leave, seeking a better working environment somewhere else.
❗ This, of course, is beneficial for our clients, as they don’t have to wait for additional hiring and teaching process while not having enough consultants to cover their support needs.
2. 👑 KPIs and reputation only get better
Diving a bit deeper into the training process. While the newcomers are discovering the product and only learning its peculiarities, the time is missing. When there is no need for training, however, and when the stages of team forming are already gone through, the KPIs are kept steady and the company and service reputation are only getting higher and better.
3. 📈 No management resources are wasted
This point is especially crucial for support teams with complicated projects that require a lot of tech knowledge and a lot of hours to learn all the way through. In such cases it is better to aim the management efforts and the time towards keeping the end users happy and not towards resolving conflicts within the team. And while this might be inescapable during the Storming Stage of team development, it is better to avoid it when all the five stages of team development are finished.
Complicated products require a lot of attention and a lot of QA, which means that resolving possible conflicts within the team might be problematic resources and time wise. Setting up a team development process just right will make sure that all the management resources are aimed in the right direction.
Are our teams effective?
There are two points with the help of which we make sure that all our teams have gone through the stages of development and are being effective for both — our clients and our customers.
- Random QA
Once a month a Delivery Manager randomly selects several tickets and looks at the way the communication with the customer was handled and the ticket was resolved. If there were any issues, or the consultant stepped away from our ground rules of communication, we talk to the consultant on the spot to show them the right way of resolving such tickets in a correct and timely manner.
We do not dwell in the past, but rather focus on the future. It is very important to show the professionals in SupportYourApp the future path and the ways that they can become better at their job.
Combining these two processes gives us a pretty good advantage: we are making sure that past mistakes are fixed and never pose an issue for us ever again, and we encourage our consultants, showing them that they have a bright future in SupportYourApp. A bright future as a part of a perfectly developed and effective team.