Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re with LeeAnne Rimel, Principal Admin Evangelist at Salesforce to discuss release prep in advance of the Summer ‘18 release.

Join us as we talk about how to keep up with what’s happening each release, the Release Readiness Trailblazer Community group, and what to do to get you and your team ready.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with LeeAnne Rimel.

How to catch up on each release.

LeeAnne is the release prep expert in the Admin Evangelist crew, so we thought we’d bring her on the pod to share her tips about getting ready for Summer ‘18. “Whether you’re a new or experienced Admin, sometimes the content changes or where you find different content, and it can be overwhelming: there’s a lot of features, there’s a lot of clouds, how do you know what impacts you?” LeeAnne’s advice is to identify the pieces that you must look at before it goes live.

The first place to start is with when the release is scheduled to drop, which you can find at trust.salesforce.com or status.salesforce.com. From there, you need to get up to speed on what’s actually in the release. “We do that primarily with the release notes, but that can be a lot of stuff,” LeeAnne says, “so a great place to go to hear about what other Admins and Developers are talking about is the Release Readiness in the Trailblazer Community.” You can find important milestones, webinars, and anything else you need to be ready to go.

Other resources to check out are the release blogs created by the community. LeeAnne recommends checking out Jen Lee’s blog series, for starters. “I read her blog every release— I go to her site and see if she’s posted something yet,” she says. There’s also the Get Ready for Summer ‘18 blog on the Salesforce Admin website.

The two things you need to do to get ready for Summer ‘18.

While reading up and doing your homework is certainly helpful, LeeAnne has found that the best way for her to learn is to get her hands dirty and actually test drive the new features. “Ideally you do two things,” she says, “get your hands on a pre-release developer environment,” which is free, “you can’t break a Dev org but you can try really hard.”

The other thing you should do is access the Sandbox preview, which is usually announced around 60 days before release. “What that means is that you should refresh your Sandbox by this date to get it on the release early,” LeeAnne says. This requires a little more planning and depends on how your company works with a Sandbox, “but the benefit there is it lets you see how some of these release updates and features are going to impact your build and customizations.”

How new features can drive adoption.

“I think of myself as an ambassador for features,” LeeAnne says, making sure to find areas to be thoughtful about how your teammates and users are using Salesforce and letting them know about new things coming their way. “Often as Admins and app builders, we focus on the customization and development changes,” she says, “but it’s super important to not let cool end-user features go unhighlighted.” Things like Lightning Productivity are undergoing massive changes from release to release and can dramatically expand what your users are able to do.

“Your users probably don’t read the release notes,” LeeAnne says, so it’s your job to figure out how to bring helpful things to their attention. Ultimately, this helps drive adoption because they remove friction and help them get more done. Maybe that’s making a short video to highlight something like drag-and-drop on your Calendar or tasks split-view. At the end of the day, this helps encourage them to use the apps that you’re building as well.

Take advantage of Release Readiness Live.

The Release Readiness Live broadcast has a bunch of important segments: the Live Admin Preview, the Live Developer Preview, and then there’s information broken down cloud by cloud and product area by product area. “Think about it like a Coffee Talk webinar talk show with demos,” LeeAnne says, which happens roughly the Friday a week or two before the release starts.

“One thing that’s so beneficial is hearing from Product Managers,” LeeAnne says, “because you get to hear about the user stories and use-cases they were designing for, and what they learned in the course of designing that with how users were engaging with Salesforce.” Not only that, but you get to ask questions for yourself. After that, there are four days of Release Readiness Live leading up directly to the release.

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