[IAEP] Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing

David Farning dfarning at sugarlabs.org
Sat Jan 17 14:00:36 EST 2009

In survey after survey, when schools ask employers what skills their
graduates are lacking 'working in groups' is always near the top of
the list.

It has always struck me as odd that, after more than 20 years of
individual student work, a three credit class in group dynamics is
expected to fill that role.

One on the most prevalent models for studying group dynamics is
Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing.  While the model is not able
to  perfectly represent Sugar Labs, it is still worth studying.

Forming - The group comes together.  Members have different
expectations.  Goals are not yet clearly defined.  In open source
terminology, participants are trying to figure out how to scratch
their itch. Some people may find that contributing to Sugar Labs
scratches their personal itch.  Some may not.

Storming - Because of the differing expectations and poorly defined
goals, conflict arises.  This conflict was present at the November
SugarCamp.  Rather than Rub salt in old wounds, I will ask you to
reexamine the events leading up to, the discussions at, and the blame
following SugarCamp.  We must acknowledge that the storming is
uncomfortable for many people.

Norming - As XOCamp wraps up, we are transitioning into the norming
phase.  We have established some high level goals and have set some
expectations for behavior within the project.  The most important of
these behaviors will be the notion of 'Show me the code', or 'Patches

Performing -  Once we have firmly established a respect for working
code, which we can then improve, rather then grand ideas, we will be
well along the way towards being a productive community.


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