Q: Each time I approach my Salesforce Admin about a new field, a new button or a new piece of automation in Salesforce, she keeps talking about “Discovery” and “Business Requirements” asking to review our “Business Process.” I’m confused and frustrated. Can’t she just do what I’m asking? Why does she keep asking for these things, and what on earth is she even talking about?
A: Although I completely understand where you are coming from, I’ll have to agree with your Salesforce Admin on this one. Let’s make believe for a moment that I’m your carpenter and we’re talking about some home improvement project for your house.
You approach me and ask me to put install a new bathroom on your first floor. As the carpenter, I would love nothing more than to run over to Home Depot, fill the back of my pickup truck with some lumber and plumbing fixtures and tiles and get started by knocking down some of your existing walls to start constructing this new bathroom.
Alternatively, it might be more prudent to have a discussion, where you can start explaining to me what you have in mind for this bathroom, how you plan on using it (is it a powder room? will it have a shower? bathtub? does it need to be handicap accessible?, how much space you want to allocate to it, what types of fixtures you want to have in it, etc.
I might also need to confirm that the appropriate plumbing and electrical sources are available in order to have outlets and running water in the spot where you want your bathroom constructed.
We might even need to start scoping out some additional details regarding the supporting walls, doors, types of flooring, proper ventilation might be needed for your new bathroom.
In project management terminology, we’re talking about “Discovery” or “Gathering Business Requirements” and “Analysis.”
These should be the first two steps done for practically any project, before anyone rolls up their sleeves to do any configuration at all.
When your Admin is asking to better understand your business processes, asking about discovery or business requirements gathering, she is trying to get a better understanding of the problem that you need to get solved. Your Salesforce Admin (if properly trained, and experienced) should be able to sit with you to discuss the business challenges that you are currently facing (for example – your team is struggling to find their key prospects in a specific geographic region, or having difficulty finding their open pipeline, or open tasks assigned by others). Once your Admin is familiar with your business challenges, she can help brainstorm on how she can be a partner in helping to solve these challenges by leveraging the technology available on the Salesforce platform to track certain information, automate specific processes or remind specific people of specific open items.
By you asking your Admin for a button or a new field…without discussing the underlying business processes you are actually robbing yourself of the opportunity to introduce transformative improvements to your organization’s operational efficiencies.
To simplify this even further, you might want to structure your requests using the following formula, which could help frame your follow up discussions regarding your business requirements and the different ways that your Salesforce Admin can solve your current challenges:
“When I am trying to ____________________, I sometimes find it difficult to ____________________, which is needed so that I can __________________________. In the perfect world, this could be solved by ___________________________.”
I hope that helps!