Most influential people in Agile. Lyssa Adkins


Elevate Your Agile Coaching: Insights from Lyssa Adkins’ Seminal Work


In the ever-evolving world of Agile, continuous learning and adaptation are key. One of the most influential voices in this sphere is Lyssa Adkins, whose seminal book on coaching Agile teams has profoundly shaped the way we approach human interactions in Agile. Her contributions have not only raised awareness about the importance of human conversations but have also provided invaluable tools for fostering high-performance teams.

The Impact of Lyssa Adkins

A Pioneer in Agile Coaching

Lyssa Adkins’ work has been a beacon of knowledge for many in the Agile community. Her emphasis on human conversations has shifted the focus from merely following processes to genuinely understanding and nurturing team dynamics. This approach has resonated with countless Agile practitioners, including myself.

High-Performance Coaching Tree

One of Adkins’ most notable contributions is her high-performance coaching tree. This model has been widely adopted and adapted by Agile coaches around the globe. Inspired by her work, I have integrated the Scrum values, placing trust at the center and empiricism at the top. This adaptation has become a cornerstone of my teaching and communication about empiricism.

Key Takeaways from Lyssa Adkins’ Work

Emphasis on Human Conversations

Adkins’ work underscores the significance of human conversations in Agile. Here are some key points:

  • Empathy and Understanding: Encouraging team members to understand each other’s perspectives.
  • Active Listening: Fostering an environment where everyone feels heard.
  • Open Communication: Promoting transparency and honesty within the team.

Integrating Scrum Values

The integration of Scrum values into coaching practices enhances the effectiveness of Agile teams. By placing trust at the center and emphasizing empiricism, teams can:

  • Build Stronger Relationships: Trust fosters collaboration and reduces conflict.
  • Embrace Continuous Improvement: Empiricism encourages teams to learn from their experiences and continuously improve.

Personal Experience: Implementing Adkins’ Model

Adapting the High-Performance Coaching Tree

In my journey as an Agile coach, I have found Lyssa Adkins’ high-performance coaching tree to be incredibly valuable. By incorporating the Scrum values into this model, I have seen significant improvements in team dynamics and performance. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Centering Trust: Making trust the foundation of all team interactions.
  2. Emphasizing Empiricism: Encouraging teams to make decisions based on evidence and experience.

Real-World Example

In a recent project, I worked with a team struggling with low morale and poor communication. By applying Adkins’ principles, we focused on rebuilding trust and fostering open conversations. The results were remarkable:

  • Improved Communication: Team members began to openly share their ideas and concerns.
  • Increased Collaboration: Trust led to better collaboration and more innovative solutions.
  • Higher Morale: The team’s overall morale and satisfaction improved significantly.

Recommendations for Agile Coaches

Embrace Human Conversations

To truly excel as an Agile coach, prioritize human conversations. Here are some tips:

  • Facilitate Open Dialogue: Create safe spaces for team members to express themselves.
  • Practice Active Listening: Show that you value each person’s input.
  • Encourage Empathy: Help team members understand and respect each other’s perspectives.

Integrate Scrum Values

Incorporate the core Scrum values into your coaching practices:

  • Commitment: Encourage teams to commit to their goals and to each other.
  • Focus: Help teams stay focused on their objectives.
  • Openness: Promote transparency and honesty.
  • Respect: Foster mutual respect among team members.
  • Courage: Encourage teams to take risks and embrace challenges.

Leverage Empiricism

Use empiricism to drive continuous improvement:

  • Inspect and Adapt: Regularly review team processes and outcomes.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Base decisions on evidence and experience.
  • Experimentation: Encourage teams to try new approaches and learn from their experiences.


Lyssa Adkins’ contributions to the Agile community have been transformative. By emphasizing the importance of human conversations and providing tools like the high-performance coaching tree, she has equipped Agile coaches with the means to foster high-performing teams. Drawing from her work and integrating Scrum values into your coaching practice can lead to significant improvements in team dynamics and performance.

As Agile coaches, we have the opportunity to inspire and empower our teams. By following the principles and practices highlighted by Lyssa Adkins, we can create environments where teams thrive, innovate, and continuously improve.

Connect with Advanced Product Delivery.

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Whether you are looking to become a #scrummaster or #agilecoach, we have a range of internationally certified and recognised #agiletraining courses that are perfect for you. Visit Professional Scrum Training courses for more information.

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If you have identified Lean Agile Procurement as a great opportunity to enhance #agility within your organization, visit the Lean Agile Procurement Training course or Lean Agile Procurement coaching page.

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