dark blue bungalow style home on a sunny street behind a low, wooden fence

5 Things Salesforce Admins Can Learn from Home Renovation


As we’re all home more than ever these days, maybe you’re noticing some projects that need to get done around the house. One of my projects was to go into the crawlspace underneath our house to make sure everything was okay. Suddenly, I got a distinct whiff of something… not right. I realized I was out of my depth, so I called a plumber who discovered that I had a cracked sewer pipe. This got me thinking about how home renovation and building in Salesforce are similar in a few ways.

If something looks (or smells) strange, it could be a sign of a deeper problem

In this case, the strange smell was a sign that something was off. As it turns out, there were some other plumbing issues as well, and that sewer pipe was the clue. In a Salesforce org, you can find the equivalent: Are there a LOT of custom fields on a single object and page layout? Are there 28 record types on one object? Do you have custom objects that are named something almost the same as a standard object? Do you see a bunch of randomly installed AppExchange apps and have no idea what they’re used for? Do you get emailed error logs randomly? These are all clues that something might be up and it’s time to dig deeper. I suggest using a tool like Salesforce Optimizer to start your investigation.

An old house or Salesforce org probably needs updating

Because it’s a 1927 Craftsman-style house, there was some original house infrastructure that needed replacing, like the cast iron sewer pipe I mentioned above. I bet there’s some old infrastructure in your Salesforce org that needs replacing. Do you have a bunch of old Workflow Rules kicking around? Maybe it’s time to transition those to Flow. How about some Visualforce pages, or even gasp S-Controls (#neverforget)? Time to move to Lightning Web Components and Quick Actions. With three releases per year, Salesforce’s Customer 360 Platform doesn’t stand still, and a technology decision that was made five years ago may not be the right choice for today.

rusty cast iron pipe pulled from the ground

Ask for outside help if you don’t feel comfortable

I knew that replacing a sewer pipe was way beyond my skill set (yes, I have an adjustable wrench, but no, I don’t have a good set of channel lock pliers). So I did what many people do: I asked friends for recommendations, and I went to online review sites to find highly-rated professionals. One of the great things that professionals come with is expertise — they have very likely seen something similar and know how to approach a repair or replacement. You can do the same thing for your Salesforce org. We have a terrific site called the AppExchange which has links to numerous consultants to help with your Salesforce project. Don’t hesitate to read those reviews, ask for recommendations, and call in the professionals!

Focus on your users’ experience

My house still had a lot of the original doorknobs, but they were in various states of disrepair and, frankly, didn’t work very well. You may not think about doorknobs very much in your day-to-day (I know I sure didn’t). But when you have to use a wiggly doorknob multiple times a day to get into your home office, I promise you’ll be browsing antique doorknobs online before the day is over. Do you know what your users’ “wiggly doorknobs” are? Maybe a required field is at the bottom of a page, and your users have to scroll all the way down every time they save a record. Do some SABWA/SABZA (Salesforce Administration by Walking/Zooming Around) and have your users show you exactly how they use Salesforce in their day-to-day, then ask them what could be better.

antique doorknob

Don’t start tearing things out without a larger plan

Sure, I could have just said, “Take out the sewer pipe.” But before taking it out, we needed a bigger plan to replace the old pipe, and also repair or replace anything that connected to it. This example also applies to your Salesforce org: If you just start turning things off or deleting them, you might be left with a non-working Salesforce org — and no one wants that to happen.

These are just a few of my observations about how home renovation and Salesforce projects are similar. What about you, #AwesomeAdmins? Have you found any similarities between your house projects and Salesforce? Let us know by sharing your thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag #AwesomeAdmin.

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