High performance tree - last versionThe high performance tree from Lyssa Adkins is one of my favorite coach tool to start in any team. By the way, I am presenting it in my first retro at every team I touch. Here is my way to introduce it.

Personally I am able to resume agile goal in one picture and put it in front of the team space to point it out every time the team need it.  Normally I start talking about our goal in agile teams. As coach, my mission is  guide the team to become one “high performance team”.

And we start our first retro as team, people start to share their ideas about “high performance” and we start to talk about agile values (Commitment, Courage, Respect, Openness, and Focus). After few minutes, we have the root ready and 5min more to compare our root with one real one.

My next step is star to draw leaves and every “high performance” traits.  At this point, I spend more time to be sure that the full team understand every trait. Some times, in more mature teams, it could be easy this task, but in beginners ones, I strongly recommend spend time here to avoid issues when you point out something in the future.

At the end and after connect the idea of root with leaves, we start to get fruits. Here, I explain every fruit with a good detail. If the team just started with agile, you could point to the first fruit to get (“Faster results”). In the case of one already working team, you need to judge what should be the next fruit.

At the end I enjoy with the team a good talk about how difficult is deploy agile in the right way and get the full benefits of this methodology. Against the think of some managers, who say agile is only few “new” meetings/roles easy to deploy and get all in one shoot, we really express with this “tree” what means agile in an full agile deployment.

Since I am using “adapt and inspect” for every retro I run, here is my first version of “high performance tree” and the last one.

First Version: Sorry, I was not able to keep in mind all, so, I got this:







Last Version: Now, I am able to keep all in my mind when I run my retro…

High performance tree - last version






I really noticed some improvements in my design capacity, right?

Now, that I am able to introduce the “high performance tree” concept in each team, my work as coach to point out issues is easier. I only need to ask what we are missing from our tree or where we are leaking. Each team I touch has their tree in the work space, so is easier to point out issues at any moment. Are you try it? what is your experience with this coach tool? I really want to list you and share our experience.

To close this post, I want to share with you the original video from Lyssa Adkins and the “high performance tree” concept (enjoy it):


Another experience with “High performance tree”:

High Performance Tree experience by Tom Reynolds

High Performance Tree experience by Jean-Francois – in French –


For your reference, here is the list of keywords for our root, leaves, and fruits


  • Commitment
  • Courage
  • Respect
  • Openness
  • Focus


  • Self organising
  • Empowered
  • Team can do anything
  • Team success
  • Trust
  • Own our decisions
  • Consensus driven
  • Constructive disagreement


  • Faster results
  • Right results
  • Astonishing results
  • Room for individual and team growth
  • A team that can do anything

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Thank you,

Omar Bermudez.

About the author

Omar is an agile practitioner and lover. Certified Scrum master. Agile Coach & Agile Leader. He believes it is important to continually be learning and growing. His dream is to be a lifelong learner; growing each day. He is also passionate about leadership development and seeing people reach their full potential. He is also a good husband & father (his wife says that time to times). He has a wonderful wife and 2 fantastic kids. In his free time, if he does not have any plan ahead, he tries to apply agile methodologies at the family level :). He enjoys a lot to travel with his family and discovers new places for them.