The Hot Air Balloon Retrospective: A Powerful Method for Continuous Improvement

Welcome to Scrum Master #1, a haven for Scrum Masters and agility enthusiasts. Today, we embark on a journey to explore a highly engaging and visually stimulating retrospective model: The Hot Air Balloon.

This model, perfect for users of Miro or Klaxoon, is designed to navigate the complex dynamics of your project seamlessly. It helps in pinpointing both the uplifting forces and the obstacles that your team encounters. So, strap in and get ready for an enlightening ascent towards continuous improvement.

retrospective scrum agile exemple template hot air balloon The Hot Air Balloon Retrospective: A Powerful Method for Continuous Improvement

The Hot Air Balloon retrospective employs the metaphor of navigating a balloon to provide a comprehensive framework for analyzing the elements that drive your Scrum team forward and those that hold it back. It also looks ahead to identify forthcoming challenges (the storm) and potential solutions (the sunlight), making it a holistic tool for reflection and planning.

The retrospective is divided into four distinct segments, each designed to facilitate a thorough analysis of past performances and future strategies:

Step 1: Reflection on the Past Sprint

  • Hot Air: This segment focuses on capturing the positive aspects of the previous sprint, essentially the factors that enabled the team to “soar higher.” It’s about acknowledging what propelled the team forward, celebrating successes, and recognizing moments of achievement.

  • Sandbags: Conversely, this part is dedicated to pinpointing the obstacles or challenges encountered. It’s about understanding what weighed the team down or hindered their progress, providing crucial insights into areas of potential improvement.

Step 2: Looking Ahead to Future Sprints

  • The Storm: This proactive step encourages participants to contemplate potential future challenges that could disrupt the team’s journey. It’s about anticipating problems and identifying what could potentially destabilize the team, allowing for early strategizing and problem-solving.

  • The Sun: Dedicated to optimism and solutions, this segment is where the team collaborates to find ways to overcome anticipated challenges and enhance the overall team experience. It’s about brainstorming actionable strategies that ensure smoother operations in the face of potential storms.

Step 3: Formulating Continuous Improvement Actions

The culmination of the retrospective focuses on converting the challenges identified and the forecasts into a concrete plan of action. This crucial stage involves assigning responsibility for each identified improvement action to specific team members, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment to driving positive change.

Leveraging Online Tools for Your Retrospective

To support the efficient execution of the Hot Air Balloon retrospective, we’ve curated templates for both Miro and Klaxoon. These platforms offer interactive and collaborative environments for teams to engage with this retrospective model, irrespective of their physical locations.

Template Miro

Enhance your retrospective experience with this Hot Air Balloon template on Miro:

Klaxoon template (exclusive) for your hot Air Balloon retrospective

Access this unique Hot Air Balloon retrospective template at no cost and seamlessly integrate it into Klaxoon. While the template is originally in French, it’s designed for straightforward translation into any language of your choice:

To find out more about importing “.klx” files into Klaxoon: Documentation

Wrapping Up

The Hot Air Balloon retrospective template stands out as a dynamic and interactive approach to dissecting team dynamics, celebrating achievements, and strategizing for the future. It’s an invitation to elevate your team’s agile practices and foster a culture of continuous improvement. We encourage you to incorporate this model into your next Agile sprint retrospectives and share your insights and outcomes with our community.

Embarking on this retrospective is more than a routine exercise; it’s a strategic journey towards deeper team insights and proactive improvement planning. Let’s set the course for higher achievements and smoother journeys ahead, navigating the winds of project dynamics with confidence and creativity.

Cette publication est également disponible en : French

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Picture of Ahmed BEN SALEM


Strongly involved in Agile methodologies, I have held the roles of Scrum Master, Product Owner and Release Train Engineer for SAFe, Scrum and DevOps projects. My approach focuses on people and stakeholder collaboration, creating environments conducive to innovation and performance.

Since 2016, I have successfully led several Agile software development projects for companies of all sizes, including Odigo, Orange and PSA. My solid experience in Agile methodologies, in particular Scrum and SAFe, has enabled me to work with multicultural teams from countries such as the USA, India, Vietnam and Morocco.

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