It’s been six months since I made the leap from admin to consultant.
Though I’ve been absent from the Accidental Admins, I haven’t forgotten my admin roots. I often long for the days when I had a closer connection to my users, better familiarity with the business, and saw the longer-term impact of my changes.
These reflections are still easily overshadowed by the benefits my consulting experience though. In particular, I’m growing my Salesforce skills at a much more rapid pace.
I decided to use this six-month milestone as an opportunity to reflect on the most simple but important things I’ve learned along the way.
Build with scalability in mind.
Before you dive in to your endless backlog of feature requests, take a moment to plan for the long term.
- Minimize the number of profiles and permission sets (in that order). Doing so will simplify maintenance and free you up to work on more important things.
- Be preemptive with record types. If you work in an org with multiple business units, it’s likely that their needs will shift over time. Starting with one record type per object will save you time & effort when you have to implement more in the future.
- Make validation rules and automations record-type specific. Though your users might all adhere to the same business rules today, future ones might not.
Streamline your automations.
I used to play fast and loose with process builders and workflow rules, but I’ve seen the light.
- Process builder over workflow rules. Not only is process builder more powerful, but workflow rules are no longer being enhanced. If you can process build, you must.
- One process builder per object. What used to be a fringe political belief was recently made mainstream by Salesforce. A single process builder will significantly increase maintainability and convenience.
- Minimize your process builder nodes. If actions can share entry criteria, combine them into the same node. You can often capture complex field update logic with formulas.
Maintain an agile development process.
Change sets and sandboxes used to make me nauseous. I have much to learn about agile, but project management has been my biggest area of growth.
- Track requests as user stories. It can be tedious, but a properly collected, articulated, and tracked user story will go a long way toward managing user expectations.
- Document every change made in sandboxes. This is particularly essential if you work on a team of admins. Track every component that needs to be packaged in a change set so nothing is left behind.
- Validate your deployments. Work through real world test cases while logged in as users. Fill out fields, mash buttons. The extra time is worth building trust with your users.
There’s no question I would have been more effective as an admin by practicing some of these principles. Though they might add some friction to your workflow, it’s well worth it in the long run.