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How Blizzard’s IT Department Eliminated Multitasking and Customer Complaints Using Kanban

kanban skiing

The name Blizzard is an internationally recognized name in the world of skiing.

They have also been recognized for their rapid improvements in the IT department after implementing Kanban.  At the sixth annual CIO & IT Manager Summit in Vienna, Blizzard’s CIO, Eric-Jan, received the “CIO of the Year” award.

Anyone who is struggling with customer complaints can learn from Blizzard’s IT Department’s dramatic improvement.

Their IT department was a small team of five that were getting overwhelmed and multitasking in a vain attempt to keep up with demand from local and overseas factories. They were taking too long to start and complete requests. Worse, they frequently failed to inform people when their tasks were completed. Understandably, this state of affairs made their internal clients angry, leading to complaints and a high level of conflict among workers.

Things were rapidly approaching a crisis point. Before implementing the Kanban method, workers in the IT department were overburdened and unable to keep track, much less keep up with jobs coming through and demands from internal clients.


The IT team was working on a first-come first served basis, and not prioritizing the tasks as they came in. There was no system to prioritize requests, and internal clients began to view IT as a black hole where requests went in, but few deliverables ever emerged. They were constantly being interrupted with calls from people asking about jobs and complaining about the time it took for jobs to be completed, and they ended up multitasking and not following up when things were completed.

At first they hesitated to change the way they did things, but when they were reassured that 
the work itself wasn’t changing - they were just going to start visualizing it - they agreed.

They posted a Kanban board to keep track of those jobs. The setup was simple: the top row was reserved for project-related tasks while the row below that was designated for maintenance tasks. The bottom two rows were parking lots – one row for tickets needing internal source feedback, another for tickets needing external feedback. Internal clients could see the progress of their requests and even make new requests. This visual representation of the work helped streamline the process for tracking tasks assigned to IT while providing transparency to their internal clients.


Once the board was hung up, the IT team naturally stopped multitasking. Just the act of posting a job on the board inspired workers to finish the job at hand before starting a new one.
The IT team was surprised by the number of jobs they were able to deal with as completed jobs accumulated on the board.


Posting jobs on the board also eased the anxiety of internal customers. Rather than making repeated calls to IT to inquire about the status of a job – they could walk by and see progress for themselves. They could even add requests by posting them on the board, which also saved both time and money. Frustration levels dropped dramatically while internal conflict dissipated. 

You may be facing a situation like the one Blizzard overcame, where your IT team or another department is overworked, frustrated, and being bombarded with complaints. The frustration may be spilling over into conflict among members of your team and your sales may be plummeting.

Don’t give up. We can help. Contact IntelliPivot today.

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