Project Success

  • Cutting the Clutter: Maintaining a Clean Salesforce Org

    Maintaining a clean Salesforce org, doesn’t need to be a battle. Recently, I was watching a great webinar by Kelly & Leanne entitled ‘Cut that Clutter‘. And it got me thinking about how the problems faced by a cluttered Salesforce, and how it can easily consume an Admin’s time and effort. And it not only affects us as Admins, but also our end users! So in this post I am going to recap some of the awesome tips shared in this webinar, and also see offer some additional FREE tools to tackle the problem that so many of us face!

    The War Against Clutter

    Ok, ok. I admit that this header is full of hyperbole.

    Maintaining a Clean Salsforce, shouldn't be a battle...
    Don’t raise the white flag, in the war against clutter!

    But a cluttered Salesforce creates a lot of frustration and anxiety for me. And I assume most it does for most of you reading this too! My personal vendetta against clutter drives me to ensure I am always improving the org for my end-users…

    I have previously written about how we started to tame the Technical Debt beast haunting our primary orgs and removed over 2 million records from an org (hint: very manually).

    But there is still so much to do…

    It is a seemingly never-ending fight. But as Admin’s we are always looking for tools and resources to help us in our day to day Admin Superhero duties. And to help us in maintaining a clean Salesforce org…

    Cut that Clutter! – The Recap

    Now before we get much further. If you have a spare 30mins I strongly recommend that you watch the webinar as I am only going to briefly summarise it here…

    The session covers the Three-S’s. These are the primary areas to focus on, to ensure your CRM is kept in tip-top shape.

    • Security – making sure you know who can see what in your CRM
    • Structure – does the setup of Salesforce ensure data security and meet any data governance requirements
    • Strategy – how to plan and scale while ensuring you don’t have to keep doing ‘big clean-ups’ each year

    If you want to hear more, then please check out the video.

    Cut that Clutter: Resources mentioned

    Next up, the ladies mentioned some great tools to help you in maintaining your Salesforce org.

    From Salesforce:

    • Salesforce Optimizer (aka Optimiser in non-US/Canada countries ūüôā ) – I am in LOVE with Optimizer reports. It is such an amazing tool to help you analyse and understand where the Technical Debt is likely to be hiding within your org. This should be your first port of call, in maintaining a clean Salesforce. That is how much I love it!
    • Security Health Check – helps you understand any vulnerabilities you may have within your Salesforce. This covers areas like Password Policies, Critical Updates, etc.

    From AppExchange:

    • Field Trip – this tool is one I install in every org I have managed now for a number of years!! It is a great tool to help analyse and understand just which fields are being populated and used by your end users. It is worth noting, that if you have a field that is always updated automatically by a trigger/workflow… Then it will obviously show as being used, even if that trigger/workflow update isn’t actually required. But overall it will help you understand your org in very tangible way.
    • The Permissioner – can help you when mass assigning/removing Permission Sets from your users.

    From Trailhead:

    Additionally the ladies have set up an Admin Trailmix.

    This covers a number of modules covering: Salesforce Profiles/Permission Sets, User Authentication, Data Quality, Data Management and finally Reporting & Dashboards.

    Help with maintaining a clean Salesforce org

    Extra, extra! Two more tools to add to your Salesforce Cleaning toolkit…

    Now for the bonus round.

    There are always so many tools and ideas out there helping admins when maintaining a clean Salesforce org. And I am only skimming the surface with these next two tools…

    Compare Permission Sets & Profiles

    When watching the webinar, albeit not live, I started shouting at my screen.

    During the Security section, there was a point around Profiles/Permission Sets. As an admin it is a mammoth task to compare all profiles/permission sets and what they might grant access to within your org. This can be kryptonite to Salesforce Superadmins…

    There was a recommendation to switch off Enhanced Profile View, and then compare the permissions… But why do that? Especially, when there is a secret weapon at your disposal?

    Perm Comparator by John Brock is that secret weapon!

    Seriously… More people need to know about this tool! And I am not even on commission! ūüôā

    Stop duplicates in their tracks…

    Salesforce hasn’t always been an admin’s best friend when it came to cleaning an org…And without getting all ‘back in my day’-ish…

    But there was a time Optimizer, Security Health Check and those tools simply didn’t exist.

    There was also a time Salesforce didn’t have an easy way to prevent duplicates… Admins had to either buy other tools to identify and manage duplicates, or create complex formulas and validation rules to try and prevent exact match duplicates.

    But when planning your strategy for maintaining a clean Salesforce, you should investigate the in-built duplicate management tools from Salesforce.

    After all, what good is cleaning up your security (profiles, access policies, passwords) and clearing out fields you don’t use any more – if your end users are still swimming in duplicate records?!

    The in-built feature will take care of the basics, but depending on your use case, there may still be a reason to buy a tool like Cloudingo or DemandTools (just to name a few).

    What is in your toolkit?

    De-cluttering your Salesforce can be so rewarding!
    De-cluttering can be so rewarding!

    As I mentioned I only skimmed the surface here… And this is a topic I can (and will likely) write more about in the future. I have rambled more than enough for now…

    So to wrap up the post, feel free to add any other suggestions or recommendations for your ‘Cleaning Salesforce Toolkit’ into the comments section below.

  • How to Plan Your Move to Lightning Experience

    For many businesses, now is the time to¬†move to Salesforce Lightning.¬† But moving to Lightning can feel like a daunting task.¬† Where should you start?¬† How to you make sure you don’t disrupt the business?¬† So in this first post, we will take a look at how to plan your move to Lightning Experience.

    In the next post, we look at how to implement your plan and go-live!¬† But in the meantime, if you have any tips of your own, feel free to add them in the comments section below.¬† And let’s start planning…

    Planning your move

    migrating to Lightning is all about planning

    Before we start, let’s just clear the air.

    As an #AwesomeAdmin you probably already know there is¬†planning required to make the switch over.¬† The old adage – ‘failure to plan, is planning for failure’ – is never truer than when changing how a user works within a system.

    But driving user adoption and making the transition as smooth as possible, doesn’t need to be overly¬†complicated process though.¬† And by planning your transition you set yourself up for the best possible result.

    So let’s get started.

    WIIFM?!… What’s In It For Me?

    One of the first steps to planning any change should to be understand the ‘what’s in it for me’.¬† It is the first question most users want to know about any change…

    Salesforce Lightning adoption - answer 'What's in it for me' from your end-users point of view
    Understanding ‘What’s In It For Me?’will help drive adoption…

    Sure Lightning Experience looks great.¬† You can now customise the colours to match your company identity…

    But that doesn’t really engage end-users in using the platform.¬† After all we want them to use the system once we make the change, don’t we?…

    Be honest with yourself.  Would a typical sales, customer service or partner really care about that?

    Answering this question for each type of stakeholder is one of the best ways to ensure everyone buys-in to making the move.

    A great example is dealing with a stakeholder from Sales.¬† Lightning offers many new features which benefit most sales users.¬† Here are a few…. Sales Path to guide on what to do in the system to move to the next stage.¬† Kanban board for managing your pipeline with drag-and-drop ease.¬† What about Sales Console?¬† Use of macros practically anywhere in Salesforce?

    The point here is to you need to demonstrate you understand your end-users by understanding their problems.¬† If you understand the problem, you can effectively position a feature or benefit that solves it.¬† And this helps engage these stakeholders early on…

     Why should we invest in making this change?

    The next step is to develop a business case.¬† It sounds horrible, but it can really help in convincing your senior stakeholders on why they should support the change.¬† And to drive adoption when launched, you need their support…

    Salesforce Lightning Experience across multiple devices
    Even Astro loves Lightning Experience…

    This may not be applicable for all business, but I always try to work out a rough cost/benefit to any changes my team make.  Even if it is just an estimate.  And this loops back to understanding the WIIFM within your business.

    Every business problem – and in turn the potential solution – have a potential time/cost associated with them.

    This is the gold dust in developing your business case to answer the question most senior stakeholders within business would ask,

    As an example, a simple cost-to-benefit calculation could be based on decreasing sales admin time.  By improving the time taken to process and close a contract within the system, you can quantify the potential upside to the business.

    So if an average salesperson closed an extra 2 deals a day/month/year due to improving the sales workflow in Lightning, how much is that worth to your business?  (average contract value * extra deals per day = potential upside).

    Keep in mind, this is only an estimate.  But it can be a useful way to engage the business and to capture metrics relating to the success of the project once completed.

    Mind the gap…?

    Salesforce has spent the last couple of years attempting to make Lightning match the features of Classic.  But there are still some gaps between Classic and Lightning Experience.

    The next item on our list is to check what these gaps actually mean your org.  By doing so you ensure your users can still use all key features they need.

    If there is a feature gap or limitation, the next step should be to look at the publicly available roadmap.  This outlines the upcoming features planned for release and may cover the feature that is a priority for you.

    Also each published version of the release notes now include a section on what is and what is not included in Lightning Experience.¬†¬†For the Spring ’18 section, please have a look here.

    Side note: The roadmap is scheduled to be updated after the Spring ’18 release, but a handy video to watch about the platform and upcoming features is the True to the Core video.¬† Or there is a breakdown of the expected features in the 2018 predictions post here.


    Salesforce is clearly invested in supporting all orgs to move to Lightning Experience.  Releases now introduce most new features as Lightning Experience only.  But to help, there is a wealth of content available for free to sink your teeth into.

    For starters there is a great Trailhead module specifically on getting hands-on with a Lightning Experience roll-out.  There is also a quick overview of the steps on the Admin blog.  But personally I highly recommend jumping to the Power of Us site, which has been setup to cover best practice for making the jump to Lightning.

    Each and every org now also has the Lightning Readiness Check built-in.¬† And the check gets an update every release to give you more and more insight into your org’s compatibility into making the change.

    If you want more information about how to take a business-first approach to rolling out Lightning, I found this article over on SalesforceBen.

  • Identify project risks

    As a Salesforce Admin/Consultant/Developer, you will often be involved in projects or initiatives. ¬†In this post we will take a look at identifying and managing project risks. ¬†Why? ¬†Because in a project, risks can cause major problems and lead to roadblocks that you simply can’t get around.¬†

    What is an acceptable project risk?
    What is an acceptable project risk?

    In a previous post¬†we talked about why setting a roadmap is important. ¬†It allows you to engage with your users and stakeholders while¬†involving them in defining the Salesforce strategy. ¬†(You have setup a roadmap now, haven’t you? ¬†:-))

    But once you have planned what and when things should be delivered, now we need to focus on identifying potential project risks.  How do you judge what is an acceptable project risk?  And how can you manage and then mitigate these risks?

    What is a project risk?

    Risk is an everyday occurrence in our world and it is subjective from person to person. ¬†In an extreme example, some people would take any perceived risk and jump out of a plane (hopefully with a parachute), while others wouldn’t even dream of it! ¬†The point is risk is all around us and we make decisions everyday, even if subconsciously, to say ‘I am prepared to take that risk’.

    Project risks are the same, things that you or the team can see that may potentially cause issues later on. ¬†Now I have used two key terms in that sentence. ¬†Risks and issues…¬†What is the difference?

    In its simplest form a project risk is something that may happen during the project. ¬†And if it does it occur, it may have an adverse effect on a project’s delivery. ¬†That can be either what is being delivered, the timelines for delivery, or in extreme cases can block delivering anything. ¬†Risks’s are potential/future focused. ¬†For example, a risk to a project could be that after the project has finished, end users don’t use what was delivered to them.

    An issue on the flip side is generally something that is current or happening right now. ¬†An example of an issue would be unexpected sick leave. ¬†This could disrupt timelines and what was planned today can’t happen.

    So how do you capture project risks & issues?

    project risks vs reward
    Even though there will be risks, sometimes the reward is worth it.

    Now imagine you were on ship trying to reach your arrival port, you want to arrive on time but there are a number of risks you need to consider.  What route to take?  Are there any storms/icebergs in your way?  Or would you just set sail and hope for the best?

    By identifying any risks and issues, you can then come up with a plan to mitigate it.  Allowing you to avoid extra the time and costs hitting an iceberg would cause

    It isn’t an exact science but the key is to take time, stop and think about it. ¬†Think about what you are trying to achieve. ¬†Risks¬†are¬†related to what you are trying to deliver. ¬†What could derail the project? ¬†Is it related to resources (access to certain people at a specific time in the project)? ¬†Are you at risk of other systems / integrations causing issues?

    You can keep these simply enough in an Excel/Google Sheet that the project team has access to. Everything you brainstormed,  enter down as a new line.  The key is to do it, start it early on in the project life cycle and to continue doing it throughout the project.

    Once you know what the risks are, you can then take measures to address them.   This allows you to plot a course around any risks and hopefully avoid them becoming issues.  As an example, need specific involvement from a subject-matter expert at a certain phase?  Plan for it and book them in.

    Get creative

    Draw a Treasure Map - great way to identify project risks
    Draw a Treasure Map – great way to identify project risks

    When defining risks (either good or bad) you could hold a session with your key stakeholders.  Have a project kick off and discuss the objectives of the project and what does project success look like.

    For something a little different, get creative.

    One session I have run a few times with stakeholders is to split people into smaller groups of three or four people. ¬†Then get people to draw out a treasure map with labels on it. ¬†Draw the risks as circling sharks, a skull island or a ship upon the rocks. ¬†And the treasure is the project being delivered after circumnavigating all the risks. ¬†But the aim is to think about problems creatively, I have even seen a group draw a space ship making a journey through the galaxy…

    I find it helps get people out of their comfort zone and shifts their mindset from their normal day to day work.  You can then also ask the groups what are some ideas to mitigate the risks.

    After the sessions add the risks to your spreadsheet (if you haven’t got them already). ¬†If your group came up with possible mitigations, also make note of this as you can build on it as you start your project.

  • The magic formula for project success?

    How many projects teams have you been a part of?

    Now let’s count up how many of those were projects were a successes?¬† Is your tally 100%? (If it is, congrats!)

    The more projects you play a part in, the more likely it is that you would have been part of a project that might not have been a success.  It might have missed its planned dates or not delivered on one of its core objectives.  Or even worse, it might not of set objectives to start with!

    Regardless of which project methodology (Agile, Waterfall, Prince2, etc) you subscribe to – is the magic formula that drives success?


    The ‘magic’ formula

    I am going to share the secret formula with you – but you have to promise to use it wisely!

    S = cm ( cl + de)

    Ok, ok Рso I might be joking around a bit there, but let me put it another way.  Success = communication, clarity & definition.


    Success = communication, clarity & definition


    Before you take another step this is where you should make sure the basics are in place and for me that revolves around ‘communication‘.¬† I will definitely agree that it is important throughout a project’s life-cycle, but the start of a project is when it’s the most critical, yet this is when its most overlooked!

    Have you defined who you need to communicate with?  There will be key stakeholders, subject matter experts (SMEs) and end-users.  Depending on the project, they might be the same people.  How are you going to make sure people are involved at the right time?

    What frequency will the project team communicate to the various groups of stakeholders, SMEs?  Set expectations early on and adjust accordingly.

    The key is to ensure the project team and the business are ultimately aware of what they need to be, and when they need to be to make any relevant decisions.


    Clarity & definition:

    This is the fun part for a lot of projects! And more often than not it’s because the project team is a group of people who have never worked together before.¬† Which can add additional challenges and potential set-backs on top of trying to deliver the project.

    As a team develops it goes through various stages of development (see here for the theory).¬† Generally the most painful part is the ‘storming’ stage, as this is where people in the group may start to step on the toes of others within the team.

    This is where clarity and definition play such a pivotal part within the project.  By providing as much clarity and definition, the aim here is to fast track the project team through the forming and storming stages of development as soon as possible.

    What are some key ways of doing this?  The type of things I would consider going into a project would include:

    What are the objectives and goals of the project?¬† How do you know when the project is finished?¬† Believe me some projects aren’t so clear cut as to when the finish line has been crossed!

    Can you define what success looks like at the end of the project?  It is great getting to the finish line, but how will you and the team know what success looks like?

    Does everyone in the project team know what role they will play within the project?  Having clear roles/responsibilities can help reduce future issues and help the team come together faster.

    Is everyone talking the same ‘language’?¬† I don’t just mean English/Spanish/Mandarin… But what about common jargon/terminology used within the business?¬† This tends to be a big area where a lot of assumptions are made, and then cause major issues when delivering of the project.¬† You might be all talking about a football, but what kind of football – soccer, rugby union, rugby league…¬† Don’t make assumptions!

    Key deliverables versus wish list items¬† – defining this early on will help with stakeholder management and to prevent project ‘scope creep’.

    Get the team involved…

    You might not be able to answer all of these by yourself, so what better way to get the team involved early on?


    Share your experiences.

    There are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to project management.  But the most successful projects I have been involved in have really focussed on getting the small things right early on and building on that foundation.

    So for me, the magic formula is the basics done well…¬† Success = communication, clarity & definition ūüôā

    Do you have any project success stories to share?  Or maybe some less successful ones, where you have some lessons you learned from?

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