Are you a relatively new Salesforce admin and find that your manager is not giving you opportunities to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and expertise? That’s our focus on Episode 16 of The Brainiate Show.
Announcer: Welcome to the Brainiate Show where we talk about all things Salesforce, sharing the coolest features, solutions and best practices to turn you into a Salesforce rockstar. Here’s your host, former attorney turned Salesforce consultant, trainer and MVP, David Giller.
Today, we’re going to talk about how to handle a common situation for new Salesforce admins. You’re new to Salesforce. You’ve learned quite a bit on Trailhead and maybe even gotten certified yet your manager won’t let you actually do anything in production, right? This can be insanely frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be. What can we do about it? I’m going to share with you my best practices on how to take control of the situation, get yourself some opportunities to demonstrate your skills and spread your wings. If you haven’t already done so, make sure to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Spotify. Also, check out my Brainiate YouTube channel for even more insightful videos related to Salesforce.
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I’ve been getting a lot of really cool questions from people coming my way, and it’s all good. Bring it on to the extent that I’m able to, that I have time to. I’m happy to take it on and answer whatever questions I can. I’m going to read to you a question that just came in a couple of hours ago. I think it’s a fantastic question. I can relate to it tremendously, which is why I thought this is one that I want to bring to the top.
“I’m in my first admin role. I find myself really frustrated sometimes. My senior admin just doesn’t seem to be able to let go of her duties. I know she likes me, but she’s very selective on what she allows me to do. She won’t even let me use data loader. I just want to do all the fun things I’ve been learning to do on Trailhead. Granted, it’s not like I try to tell her what to do or like 10 things that I want to change, but every time something comes up that sounds like a fun project, she takes it. She never shares the workload and then tells our senior manager that things can’t be done in a certain time period, or it’s not possible. I know a lot of things could be done if she delegated appropriately and let me have some freedom. I know admin work requires trust over time, but how am I going to learn if all I’m able to do is run reports and set up new users?”
Again, I think this is a fantastic question. The primary reason why I can relate to it and why I thought this really should come to the top is not only because I can relate to it. I can feel here pain. I’ve seen many scenarios where this exists, and it can make people feel handcuffed, let alone insanely frustrated. They are trying to build their own skillset. They’re trying to build advance their career, but at the same time, it’s really challenging for them at work for various reasons. You know what? It’s understandable if the senior admin has maybe self-confidence issues. Maybe there are other things having nothing to do with self-confidence whatsoever from a compliance, a regulatory perspective. I understand it. I understand the senior admin’s perspective. I also understand her perspective.
Let me give you guys a little bit of insight on how and why I can relate to it. Let’s rewind the clock approximately 10 years ago. I was at GE Capital. I was first, all of us, at GE Capital who are on the Salesforce team. We were all introduced to Salesforce. We were all new to Salesforce. At the time, I was actually in a marketing role. I was not an IT. I had just come from IT, so I was a member of the IT team where I was responsible for … We used Siebel CRM at the time. I was actually responsible for rolling out Siebel marketing and Siebel analytics within GE Capital. After I was done with that, I inherited some other responsibilities with regard to Siebel sales in general.
Long story short, my manager moved from IT into marketing. She took me along with her, so I went from IT into marketing. I basically became my own customer, working with my former colleagues who are in IT, still working with them, but now I was working as the person representing the business. It was in that role where we were first introduced to Salesforce. At GE, GE has a lot of rules. Many large companies have a lot of rules, a lot of compliance, a lot of policies that we need to abide by, especially when we’re talking about production systems and databases. Even though I sat in the same class with my colleagues from IT learning how to be a Salesforce admin all at the same time, and because I just completely loved it, I immersed myself in it, I embraced it with everything that I had, I learned how to do it. I was just as competent as a Salesforce admin, as my colleagues in IT. At the same time, from a company policy perspective, it was not permissible for me to have system admin, Salesforce admin permissions in our production instance.
I didn’t necessarily have the same level of … I think there’s a little bit of, what’s the word I’m looking for, a dynamics factor, a personality factor that might be going on with the person who asked the question and her manager. There might be a little bit of that. I will tell you that I did not experience that component, but the end result was exactly the same. I knew how to build formula fields and how to create custom fields and objects and, what’s the word I’m looking for, validation rules and permission sets and roles and profiles. I knew how to do all of that stuff. I had just learned how to do all of that, but I was not permitted to do any of it in production. How did we work around this? I’ll tell you. It’s actually very simple.
What we did was I understood, and I wasn’t about to change the rules or try to change anything in terms of getting myself permission to change anything in production. Instead, I got my own Sandbox. I negotiated with my colleagues in IT that I should have my own David Giller Sandbox that we would refresh periodically. My role, I was not expected to roll up my sleeves and to do any configuration in Salesforce whatsoever, but I was hungry to do it. I was happy to do it, and by giving me … Instead of simply documenting, “Here’s what the business needs,” and handing it over to my colleagues in IT, and they were receiving requests like this from everyone within the organization. They would have to prioritize it.
When handing it over to IT, I would turn to my colleagues in IT and say, “Listen. You know I’m capable of doing this. I know how to do this. Give me an org where I can go ahead and do it,” so I did the documentation like I’m supposed to. “Now that we’ve reviewed it, I’m complying with all of our rules. Now that we know exactly what needs to be done, it can either sit on the list waiting for you guys until you have the bandwidth to be able to do it, or if I get my own Sandbox, I can go ahead and do it in the Sandbox. You can confirm that what I’m doing in the Sandbox complies with everything that you need to make sure you can go ahead and bless it. You want to change it? You can go ahead and change it, but let me at least go ahead and set it up and confirm with the end-users who requested,” let’s say, new custom fields or custom visibility rules or whatever it was.
“Let me get the confirmation from them that this is exactly what they want so that this way, once it’s done from the business perspective, you do whatever magic you need to, to move it from my Sandbox into production.” Granted, by the way, even if things were done in my Sandbox, getting it moved to production, considering that there are many different Sandboxes, there were many different requests, we managed from a change of management perspective. We managed those releases with a somewhat rigorous process and schedule, so it could very well be that it still had to wait a couple weeks until whatever it was that I did in my Sandbox and was approved by my end-users who requested it, until that was actually released into production.
Anyway, that’s how I handled it. In a nutshell, if I were you, I would turn to my manager and say, “Okay. You don’t let me do it in production, that’s fine. Give me a Sandbox, and I will go ahead and do it in my Sandbox. I will go ahead and implement all of these changes that are being requested. There is no risk because even if I screw it up in the Sandbox, it’s not going into production, so there is no risk whatsoever from my doing it in the Sandbox. Once you can confirm with the people who needed that request that, ‘Yes, this actually works.'” Then, you can confirm with the manager, the senior admin that what was done in the Sandbox actually works. She can go ahead and bless it. Then, you had it back to her. Let her deal with the changed set of actually moving it from the Sandbox to production. You don’t have to deal with that. Let her go ahead and do that.
This way, you are actually taking the knowledge that you have accumulated through Trailhead or any other training that you’ve done as a Salesforce admin. It gives you the ability to actually roll up your sleeves and go ahead and do it to exercise the new knowledge that you’ve attained, to prove … At the same time, to go head and improve to the senior Salesforce admin that you do in fact have the skillset and the ability to do it and to relieve some of that pressure and for yourself to get some of that excitement to go ahead and build something in Salesforce. You can address all of those things while at the same time, proving to the organization as a whole, proving to the people who are requesting these changes that you have the skillset to be able to do it.
That’s fine. You’re not looking to step on anyone’s toes. It still needs the blessing of the senior Salesforce admin to go ahead and bless it and to move it into production, but at least, you’re doing your part as the newer Salesforce admin. Anyway, that’s how I would handle it.
For those of you who are watching this, I would love to hear your thoughts on my approach and whether or not you’ve tried this approach. Go ahead and let me know. Give me some feedback. If you have any questions that you’d like me to answer, go ahead and drop me a note, e-mail, LinkedIn, Twitter, whatever you want, smoke signals, drop me a note and to the extent that I am capable of answering it, I’m happy to do it. Anyway, ciao for now, and I’m looking forward to seeing you in the next video.
I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Brainiate Show. If you’ve found this content helpful, feel free to share it with your colleagues at work and on social media. If you have additional thoughts on the topic, go ahead and drop me a note as I would love to hear from you. If you haven’t already done so, make sure to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Spotify. Also, you might want to check out my Brainiate YouTube channel for videos, demos and other wacky Salesforce-related content with corresponding visual elements to help you become a Salesforce rockstar. Also, don’t forget to check out the show notes for links to any resources that I mentioned today. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.