Hot Air Balloon Retrospective

The Hot Air Balloon is a data gathering activity for Retrospectives.

Use it when you want to…
think forward , with an eye on the past. It is a mix of retrospective and futurespective, which uncovers risks.

Length of time:
Depending on the size of the team, 90 minutes should be enough.

How it works:

  1. Introduce the Retrospective by drawing a balloon or sticking up a picture you prepared earlier. It is good to use symbols like sandbags to show the balloon being held down and flames driving it up.
  2. Draw a sun and a stormy cloud in each of the top two corners.
  3. First ask the team to think back about the current sprint, what items were “sandbags” that slowed the team down and what items were “flames” which helped push the team higher.
  4. Give the team enough time (e.g. 10 minutes) to come up with ideas and position each post-it (ideally one item per post-it) in the balloon or around the basket depending on whether the item raised is a flame or a sandbag.
  5. Group any related items and discuss as one team.
  6. Repeat the exercise but this time look forward to the items that are stormy (things that will cause the team issues, problems or obstacles) and items that are sunny (the good things coming up, things that can be done to make the team better/more efficient etc).
  7. Again group the items and discuss.
  8. After a Braistorming session, define actions for improvements you want to make (use a model as a support for example S.M.A.R.T., Acceptance criteria or Definition of Done)
  9. Vote on the most important actions to take forward.

Here is the finished output of our Retrospective:

Your team may really enjoy the Hot Air Balloon Retrospective. It can break the monotony of the usual Retrospective and it can provide a good guide for developing team decisions.



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