Image of Justice Sikakane next to text that says "Skills for Success: Product Management."

Sharpen Your Product Management Skills as a Salesforce Admin

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Being a Salesforce Administrator means being a subject matter expert (SME) in managing Salesforce as a product within your organization. As a Salesforce Admin, you need to be up to speed on Salesforce’s major feature releases every year as well as the product roadmap for how the platform will continue to evolve. It’s your professional responsibility to understand the importance of translating business requirements and objectives into solutions in Salesforce. This means that you also need to be a product manager for your organization.

During my years as a Certified Salesforce Admin working as a trained professional, I was responsible for many instances of Salesforce ranging from several hundred to 1,000+ users, encompassing dozens of AppExchange installed packages. It was imperative that I could deliver a strategic product roadmap for the organizations I worked for based on objective knowledge I gathered from learning the product through work experience, maintenance exams via Trailhead learning, and successful deployments involving custom add-on capabilities. Being a successful Salesforce Admin requires a commitment to learning the evolving landscape as it continues to grow. In this blog, I’ll share how you can hone your product management skills, which are critical to your success as an admin.

What is product management?

The practice of product management within an organization is to objectively define the business objectives enabled by the product. You need to be able to strategically plan through the various stages of the product lifecycle and explain that vision to your stakeholders. A great product manager is able to identify the use case surrounding the “why” for the product as well as understand the product development and product launch strategy within the organization.

Why is product management important for Salesforce Admins?

As a Salesforce Admin, you’re a key stakeholder and influencer in managing the Salesforce CRM product in your organization. When your organization has enhancement-related requests for their Salesforce product, you’ll be equipped to ask the necessary questions to ensure you offer sustainable and scalable solutions. Your goal is to understand the importance of using out-of-the-box standard functionality versus custom functionality. There may be one instance where it makes sense to use a standard object because of all the metadata that comes with it, like fields, validation rules, dependencies, etc., and another instance where it makes more sense to create your own custom object and define your own metadata. It’s up to you, as the admin, to develop the best product strategy!

During my tenure as a Lead Salesforce Admin for a Salesforce Enterprise Customer, we worked on developing a governance strategy and process that became a good model for managing Salesforce as a product—which might help you design your own.

After we implemented Salesforce, we discovered significant opportunities to improve how we managed the product. We needed to firm up our deployment strategy so that all parts of the organization were on the same page and knew what was happening when and why. So, we developed a Plan, Build, Test, and Deploy model to manage all functional changes. We also enforced design standards so that everything looked and functioned similarly. To manage all this, we created a Center of Excellence (COE) as a governing body for key stakeholders across the organization. As a result, we streamlined product development, increased communication between key stakeholders, and were able to successfully manage an enterprise-level Salesforce org.

The key takeaways from this example:

  • Establish a deployment strategy.
  • Enforce design standards.
  • Create a COE for key stakeholders.

How can I learn and develop my product management skills?

Start with Trailhead! There are many awesome resources to help you learn great product management practices, like Company-Wide Org Settings and Account & Contacts for Lightning Experience.

Developing product management skills is essential to supporting your organization as a skilled and perceived SME who can help reach your organization’s business objectives. Remember that businesses are constantly growing and scaling—and as a result, what the business needs evolves too. Salesforce is also growing constantly, releasing major feature updates three times a year. As a Salesforce Admin, it’s your responsibility to stay abreast of these product changes and updates. How you support your organization’s product management strategy will unlock not only the power of Salesforce but also the possibilities of your career as a Salesforce Admin. In this essential role, you get to determine how business objectives are met and shape the future of your organization!

I look forward to seeing you on the trails working toward being the best Salesforce Admin you can be!

Take these three steps to build your success:

  1. Explore the new Salesforce Admin Skills Kit to learn how to represent your skills when applying for admin jobs or preparing for performance reviews.
  2. Share these skills on social media using #AwesomeAdmin, and tell other admins three skills you’re going to commit to developing this year.
  3. Revisit admin.salesforce.com next Tuesday for the next blog post in this series!

Resources

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