A team is first and foremost a process: It has a beginning, a middle, and almost always an end. No team springs to life full-blown, and none lives forever. Words such as conception, gestation, birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, midlife crisis, and old age all apply to team life. Powerful results accrue when any team, virtual or not, consciously works its way through a life-cycle process. Virtual teams are living systems, not machines. Everything about them is organic: They are made up of people with interdependent roles and a web of relationships aligned through shared purpose.
The “Stressed S” is a generic process model that we label in the flight metaphor: start-up, launch, perform, test, and deliver phases. There are two major points in a team life cycle where stress is predictable— near the team’s beginning and not long before its end.
See more in Time: The Virtual Pulse
Like all natural developmental and change processes, teams tend to follow a five-stage life cycle. The methodology includes a special focus on the Launch Phase of the life cycle