The Hot Air Balloon retrospective in 9 steps | Template with examples

Hot air balloon retrospective

Retrospectives are traditionally designed to reflect on past events upon completion of a project. However, the Hot Air Balloon retrospective takes a different approach.  It’s a combined retrospective and futurespective, so you can use it in middle of a project to assess the current state of play.

Its metaphor design asks teams to imagine they are cruising the skies in a hot air balloon. They should consider which elements drive them forward or hold them down, as well as the potential positive and negative events on the horizon.

Let’s take a look at how it works.

Why should you use the Hot Air Balloon retrospective?

If you haven’t tried using a metaphor in your retrospectives, it’s time to give it a try. Framing the problem as a metaphor can help you to understand an object, or action from a different perspective, and open up new ways of thinking. We’ve also rounded up 11 alternative retrospective ideas and templates you could use with your team today.

If you to take stock in the middle of an Agile sprint or a project, a Hot Air Balloon retrospective is a good option. You can use it to for forward planning, while keeping an eye on the past. This allows you to simultaneously uncover risks and build upon learnings from the last sprint.

It is a great way to get teams to think of their recent work as a part of the whole project, not as an isolated task.

How to use the Hot Air Balloon retrospective template?

Hot air balloon retrospective free template

Use template

Regardless of where your team is located, you can use Conceptboard’s collaborative online template to complete your retrospective. If this is the first time your team has used this template, introduce the retrospective and set the scene:

“Imagine it’s a nice sunny day and as a team we’re taking a leisurely ride in a hot air balloon. Now consider, what will happen if there is too many heavy sand bags attached to the basket? What about the hot air, how much do we need to ensure we fly along easily? What affect might the weather have on us? All these factors influence the hot air balloon ride in the same way they can affect our team project work.”

Now you’re ready to start on the template.

  1. Invite your team to collaborate the Hot Air Balloon template loaded on a Conceptboard board.
  2. Focusing on the current sprint, ask everyone to identify the sandbags holding the team back and add them as Sticky Notes on the template.
  3. Next, identify the Hot Air: the elements that were driving the team forward so far.
  4. Move onto the Storm Clouds, what problems or obstacles are coming up, or do you need to be aware of?
  5. Finally, think about the positive things that you have to look forward to and put them in the Sunny Skies.
  6. Group common ideas, find affinities within the past and future sections and discuss further.
  7. Ask everyone to vote on the three most important themes by adding a dot or tick next to three sticky notes.
  8. Turn the discussion to finding solutions for the three most important themes. Assign actions and due dates to ensure implementation.

Explore the best retrospective templates for sprint and project retrospectives in our vast template library or try another metaphor retrospective: the Sailboat retrospective.

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The Hot Air Balloon retrospective in 9 steps | Template with examples

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