Gillian Bruce and Sarah Pilzer in a new episode of "How I Solved It.'

How I Solved It: Project Management with Sarah Pilzer

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#AwesomeAdmins, in case you haven’t heard, we’ve taken our existing “How I Solved It” series from YouTube, sprinkled some extra magic onto it, and are bringing a five-episode version of it to Salesforce+, our free streaming service.

In the fifth episode (available now on Salesforce+), we see how Sarah Pilzer uses her project management skills to help a nonprofit keep track of multiple fundraising projects. Sarah explains how to help organizations find solutions to complex projects and discusses skills from the Salesforce Admin Skills Kit—project management, data analysis, and business analysis.

We recommend you watch the episode on Salesforce+ and then read about Sarah’s solution below.

The challenge

Sarah is helping a busy nonprofit that has a lot of projects going on across multiple departments in the organization. The executives have a hard time keeping track of everything and don’t always know who to ask about where things are at and what milestones are coming up next.

The solution

After looking at the way the organization plans and runs its projects, Sarah decided to build an app in Salesforce to manage and track everything in one place that everyone in the organization can access and acts as the single source of truth.

It all starts with a custom Home page that Sarah built to show current projects by phase, upcoming milestones, and overdue tasks without having to click into anything.

Otter Appreciation Society Project Management App Home page showing logo, title, funnel chart with projects by current status, list of upcoming milestones, and list of overdue tasks.

Sarah built this solution as a console app because it maximizes the space on the page so users can open multiple records at the same time. She also created a custom object for Projects with related custom objects called Milestones and Project Tasks.

Project Management console app showing tabs with Board of Directors Annual Meeting project and Oyster Bar Gala project tabs; Board of Directors Annual Meeting project tab displays hire facilitator milestone and send facilitator contracts project task open as sub-tabs.

She created a global action so that users can create a new project from anywhere they are in Salesforce. This launches a screen flow that prompts the user to enter the required data and relate the project to any existing campaigns.

Project Management console app showing Global Actions menu with New Project selected.

 Project Management console app showing New Project screen flow asking for Project Name, Start Date, End Date, Current Phase, Campaign, Project Sponsor, Project Manager, and Requirements fields.

Sarah also built an automation so that when a user marks a task as complete, the milestone status of the project is updated to save her users from having to update multiple records.

Flow Builder showing Project Task Completed flow on canvas, starting with Record-Triggered Flow element followed by Task Completed Update Records, Open Tasks Get Records, Count of Open Tasks Assignment, and Milestone Complete Decision elements.

 

Flow Builder shows Project Completed flow continued after Milestone Complete Decision element. Decision equals Yes leads to Project Milestone Get Records, Milestone Completed Date Assignment, Project Milestone Update Records, and End element. Decision equals No leads to End element. Decision equals Default Outcome leads to End element..

Since Sarah built a solution that tracks every project, milestone, and task update, she was able to create a dashboard that displays this data in a way that helps the executives know how many projects are in which status, what’s coming soon, and even trends over time so they can plan for the future.

Project Management console app displaying Dashboards tab with Executive Director Overview dashboard; components on the dashboard are Current Projects by Phase in a funnel chart, Projects with Upcoming Milestones in a table, and Projects per Fiscal Year in a line chart.

 

Project Management console app displaying Dashboards tab with Executive Director Overview dashboard; component on bottom is Project Phases Over Time bar chart..

Admin skills

Sarah demonstrates a lot of skills from the Salesforce Admin Skills Kit in this episode, but we want to focus on project management, data analysis, and business analysis.

Here’s how she uses these admin skills (and how you can, too!):

Project management

  • Know which tools you have at your disposal—dashboards, automation, Slack, etc.—and for which scenarios each works best.
  • Use more words! There’s no such thing as too much communication when it comes to setting and meeting project expectations.
  • Connect with the Trailblazer Community! Attend a Community Group meeting, join a conversation, and follow other Trailblazers on Twitter.

Data analysis

  • Utilize customized dashboards, which keep users and executives focused on goal-oriented stats.
  • Remember that decision makers need data to help them choose strategies that will maximize resources.
  • Report on how resources are being used—this builds trust.

Business analysis

  • Build strong relationships with users to better understand their needs and identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Work closely with stakeholders to establish business requirements in a brainstorming session before you start dreaming up solutions.
  • Use data plus your own experience and knowledge to craft a proposed solution that fits the organization’s particular circumstances.

Transferable skills

But wait—don’t forget about transferable skills! Sarah talks about how her experience as a marine biologist helped her become a highly-skilled Salesforce Admin. “It doesn’t matter what your education or career background is—there are always transferable skills that you can apply to be an #AwesomeAdmin!” says Sarah.

  • Scientists are like Salesforce Admins because they are all about both the data and making interpretations based on what the data shows.
  • Experimentation is important in both science and being a Salesforce Admin because you learn something even if you don’t achieve the result you originally wanted.
  • Scientists are all about asking “Why?” and so are #AwesomeAdmins. Always ask why to get to the root of the issue.

We hope you enjoy this episode!

Want more?

Check out these great resources:

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