Yesterday i tried a new retrospective technique with the team i am scrum mastering. The inspiration came from here (thanks guys at Fun Retrospectives).

Its called the Hot Air Balloon and encourages the team to look back as well as forward. It also gives me a chance to try and improve my dreadful drawing skills (yes that picture has been drawn by a 31 year old man and not a child!)

How it works (or at least how I did it!)

  1. Draw a hot air ballon in the middle of a whiteboard or sheet of easel paper.
  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 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 a group
  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. Vote on the most important actions that are within the teams control to take forward as actions

I really liked this technique as not only did it mean the team were able to reflect on the current sprint but also a chance to look forward all in one exercise.

Here is the finished output