Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Jennifer Lee, Admin Evangelist at Salesforce.

Join us as we chat about everything in the Summer ‘22 release and what Jennifer personally does to prep for an upcoming release.

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

Summer ’22 highlights

The Summer ‘22 release is out, and we’re here to help you get caught up on all the action. To help us, we’ve brought legendary blogger and automation expert Jennifer Lee on the pod to go over all the highlights.

There are a lot of changes to picklists that are going to make them better than ever. You can bulk update several picklists at once and it finally tells you which one is a duplicate without you having to guess. Dynamic related lists have been added to App Builder beta, which gives you the ability to filter unrelated lists. Flow Trigger Explorer changes, screen flows in Slack, and automated Flow testing are other bright spots in a jampacked release.

Tips for release readiness

Jennifer’s been known for a long time in the community for her comprehensive release posts. So how does she prepare for a new release?

  • Stay motivated: There are a lot of release notes to read, and you need to stay committed to getting through everything so you’re prepared.
  • Dive into a pre-release org: “It’s one thing to just read the little blurb,” Jennifer says, “but when you actually get to see it and touch it, that’s when it really comes to life.”
  • Make what you’ve learned shareable: Jennifer uses animated GIFs to bring the changes to life in her blog, which you are free to steal or iterate on in your own release readiness prep.

Release Readiness Live

Jennifer is the host of Admin Release Readiness Live, where all the product experts at Salesforce come on the show to present their features. You also get to see a roadmap of what’s coming next and the vision of where everything is going. Or at least some forward-looking statements.

Most importantly, you can tune in and ask the experts any questions you may have, live. It’s the best way to get the admin-specific updates you want to hear.

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I’m your host, Gillian Bruce and today I am joined by my fellow Admin Evangelist, the one and only Jen Lee. Now Jen has been with us for almost a year now, which is so exciting to have her officially as part of the team and one of the things that she works on is releases. Now, I know some of you may remember Jen’s amazing release blogs that she used to put together before she was officially part of Salesforce. Well, guess what? Now that she’s part of Salesforce, she does that and more to help you get prepared for every single release. So I wanted to get Jen on the podcast to talk more about the Summer ’22 release and how she prepares for releases. So without further ado, let’s welcome Jen on the pod. Jen, welcome to the podcast.

Jen Lee: Thanks for having me, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Well, it’s been a while since we’ve had you on. In fact, I don’t think we’ve had you on since you joined the team officially, what a year ago? More than that?

Jen Lee: It’s almost a year. We’re in June, right? This month, yes.

Gillian Bruce: Well, there you go. It was about time to get you back on the podcast. So you’ve done so much since joining us officially on the admin evangelism team. One of the things that you’ve done a lot of work on is our releases and I know we just released our summer release here this year. Can you talk to us a little bit about some of your top highlights in this summer release?

Jen Lee: Yes, there are several. So was really excited about picklist getting love. So now you could bulk update several picklists, you delete, manage them, clean up old ones. Now, when you add a duplicate picklist, it actually tells you which one is a duplicate versus you having to figure it out by looking at the list.

Gillian Bruce: That’s nice, right?

Jen Lee: No more guessing. And dynamic related lists being added to app builder is pretty cool. I know it’s still in beta, so it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but I know that Nate has a pretty good roadmap for even more features to come, but being able to filter on related list is pretty cool.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, it’s a good sign of things to come, right?

Jen Lee: Yeah. And no release can go without flow enhancements. I mean, the team continues to deliver the Flow Trigger Explorer, being able to now drag and drop the trigger order versus manually doing it is huge. Being able to access the Flow Trigger Explorer from object manager, not minimizing the clicks that you have to go through, being able to run screen flows natively in slack is pretty huge.

Gillian Bruce: That is so fun, yes.

Jen Lee: And record trigger flows using flow entry conditions is big as well plus being able to test your flows in an automated way.

Gillian Bruce: woo-woo. Hooray for testing automated testing. That’s a lot Jen, but I know that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Can you share with us a little bit about how you prepare for the release? You have that incredible, I like calling it Jen’s mega release blog. You put together. I mean, you were doing that even before you joined us here at Salesforce. Can you share a little bit about how you do that, how you approach putting that together?

Jen Lee: So I have to say that when the releases come along, I’m not always motivated to do it because I know that there’s a lot of work ahead to even do it. So just being motivated to read through the 500 something pages worth of release notes is just hard to overcome, but I needed to do it just so I could keep up to date with everything that’s going on the platform. And I wanted to share that with other admins as well. So putting the motivation aside, just going through skimming the release notes for features that really matter to admins or users.
And then once you read the little release notes, then diving deep into a pre-release org and really playing around with the enhancements because it’s one thing to just read the little blurb and you’re like, “Okay, I don’t really understand it or know what it’s all about.” But when you actually get to see it and touch it, that’s when it really comes to life. So what I used to do and what I do now is I would go into my pre-release org, play around with the feature. I then do animated gifts because then it brings the feature to life for someone. And then from there, people can actually take the information from my blog post and then they could do their own mini release readiness at their own companies and feature those highlights as well.

Gillian Bruce: I love you talked about getting hands on. I know for me when I read the release blurbs, right? Like, “Okay, that sounds really great.” But I don’t really know why that’s important.

Jen Lee: Mm-hmm.

Gillian Bruce: And so I think for me too, once you actually do it in the org, you’re like, “Oh, so this is going to help me do this better, or my users are going to notice this change. So I think that’s a really, really good point.” Now, you also mentioned a little something called release readiness live. I know that’s something that you have been not only appearing on, but hosting and doing all of the things about. Jen, can you explain release readiness live for maybe a listener who has never heard about it?

Jen Lee: Yes. So release readiness live is where product experts go on and present their features for a given release. So we first kick off release readiness live week with the developer and admin preview. So the developer gets to showcase, the developers features and the admins, the admin ones. And then the following week, we have release readiness live sessions focus on each individual cloud. So you’ll have Sales Cloud service, cloud experience, cloud’s commerce cloud. So that’s a whole week’s worth of release readiness. And they’re pretty much done in a similar fashion where you basically take the best of the best features in that release. And you give a presentation. So there’s a couple of slides on highlights, but then there’s the demo piece that I love because again, it’s bringing those features to life. I also like the component of the roadmap, right? I love it when product managers share the roadmap to get a sneak peek into what’s coming down the pike as well.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And, and it’s a stink peak of what’s coming down the pipe, but also kind of a, they’re letting you in on the vision of where this is going and maybe why this is a beta feature or why this feature isn’t getting any love because we’re going this direction. I know, I agree. That’s always the best. And that’s always we have to remind everyone a forward looking statement because… Don’t hold us to anything we’re saying at this moment.

Jen Lee: Right. And another big thing about really release readiness live is it’s live. So you can ask the PMs questions live, right? Whether it’s through Twitter or the trailblazer release readiness community. And it’s pretty cool. Like when I was a customer and I was watching those RLS and I would submit questions and getting my question asked on the air was really cool.

Gillian Bruce: I remember asking several of your questions on the air. Too bad [inaudible] question.

Jen Lee: It’s me again.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. No, that’s the best. And I think that’s one of the things… We create a lot of content here at Salesforce, especially for admins, but there’s only a few opportunities to get that direct access to product experts on the product team. So I think it’s really great to have focus like, “Hey, this is a chance to really get your questions answered and you can stick it to them a little bit. It’s good.” It’s not quite true to the core, but it’s true to the release kind of thing, right? So Jen, you’ve now been inside of Salesforce for about a year now, what has changed for you in terms of how you think about our releases now that you’re no longer a customer, but now you’re part of Salesforce? Has the thinking about them shifted for you or? Tell us a little bit about how that transition has gone?

Jen Lee: ………… Well, before when I did my release notes, I really took more of a lens from what I really wanted to know based on being in financial services and insurance. So I had that focus and now it’s more globally, what do admins care about? And shifting that focus a little bit.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And I think what’s really interesting, one thing that I find that differentiates what we do is admin evangelists versus maybe some of the other product teams and what they do in release readiness live is, there may be some features that aren’t like, “Oh, this is a super exciting feature. And it’s really going to make customers super happy.” Ad we’re like, “No. Actually the fact that you gave pick list some love that maybe no one else is going to talk about, that’s really important for admins.” We’re going to care about that. It may not be the sexiest thing in terms of product leadership, but it makes a really big difference. That’s why I always appreciate that, because it’s like, “Oh no, we were going to find the nerdy things that maybe no one else is talking about.” And be like, “No, no, this is really important. This is great.”

Jen Lee: Nerd out and set up, and any type of little Chinese changes that make our admin lives easier.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. Exactly. Because-

Jen Lee: Like the formula compile size tripling, that is huge.

Gillian Bruce: See? And no other team is going to talk about that.

Jen Lee: Right.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, I love it. All right. So we had the summer release. It is out, it’s exciting. People are getting to get hands on with it. You said there were some roadmap, things that were shared. I know that you live in the land of flow. What are some exciting things coming in flow land that make you really excited about the next few releases? Forward looking statement.

Jen Lee: Yes. So I know there’s a lot of angst out in the community, especially those who have yet to touch flow. Given the news that workflow rules and process builders are going away, and how do I learn flow? And all of that, so I know that the Diana Jaffey and team are really focused on making it even easier to do flows, if you could imagine that. I mean, when I first started working on flows in the old UI, this new UI is light years away from what that used to be and all the things that you needed to do to even create a flow. So some of the things that Diana’s team is working on is they’ve been conducting user research and listening to customers on their struggles. And a couple of things that they’re focusing on in improving is people who’ve tried to learn flow know that loops can be complicated. And that’s one of the things that they’re looking at improving to even potentially do away with the need of loops, and assignments, and things like that.

So they’re also working on that migration tool for a process to flow. I know people are asking about that. They’re trying to get it out in the next one or two releases. And then they’re just making incremental changes to make lives easier for that whole user adoption. So I’m looking forward to all the cool things that they’re going to introduce to make lives easier.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. Yeah. I remember the first time I tried to build a flow, it was the old UI. I think it was Mary Scott and was like, “Gillian, you can get in there and you can build it.” I’m like, “I don’t know.” And I remember opening it up and looking at it and being like, “I have no idea.” Like what is a variable? What do these symbols mean? I have no clue. I stumbled my way through it and eventually figured it out, but it was so clunky. And then when we released the new UI, I was like, “Oh.” I said, “This is a lot easier to approach now.” And again, to your point of for people who don’t come from a coding kind of background, some of those terms were just inaccessible.

Jen Lee: Yes. As object and you’re like, “What is that?” A developer would get it, but you’re like, “I don’t understand what that is. You’re not talking in words that I know.”

Gillian Bruce: Totally. Totally. So I mean, the vast improvements that have already come in that arena of like, “Oh, I now know this is what a trigger does. And this is it makes it really easy. You don’t have to store variable, and pull it, and all of this.” It’s a lot easier now. And so I’m excited too. Loops always confuse me too so I’m excited to see the future of that as well.

Jen Lee: When I think of loops, I always think about that. I love Lucy episode where she’s in the chocolate factory and the little pieces of chocolate are going, and they’re not able to assemble them in a quick enough way so she starts eating them instead. So that’s always what I think about when I think about loops.

Gillian Bruce: Well, now that’s what I’m always going to think about too. And I think everyone who’s listening is now going to think about that as well because that is an iconic, great thing to have stuck in your head.

Jen Lee: And if you haven’t watched that episode, you need to Google it and watch it.

Gillian Bruce: I think maybe we’ll put a link to it in the show notes if we can get away with that. I’m sure there’s at least a gift somewhere like, “Oh man.” So Jen, I would love to kind of, before we wrap up, what are some of your strategies to help admins get the most out of releases? We have all of these great resources, but if you’re like… I’m sure as you remember being a customer, there’s just a lot out there. So what do you recommend starting with and getting a handle on it if you’re a little lost.

Jen Lee: Yeah. For sure. So definitely when we put out the blog post regarding the milestones, pay attention to that because when your sandbox is change over to the new release and you didn’t want to, you need to figure that whole strategy out. Especially if it impacts your path to production, you want to keep them all in the same release as your production org, so you don’t have things in summer when your production org’s in spring. And you might run into deployment issues.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And that’s the sandbox refresh post that comes out before each release, yeah?

Jen Lee: Right. So really understand if you’re a big organ, you have a gazillion sandboxes. Knowing which ones are going to flip, which ones won’t. And then if you need for them to stay on a certain version, you might have to take action like refreshing or creating a net new sandbox. So there is action that you need to take. And again, I recommend maybe not reading all the release notes, but scanning it for the pieces or the clouds that are important to your company, and focusing on those things. Also always make it a habit to go into the release update section and set up and just make sure that you’re getting ahead of anything that we’re going to auto enable in the future, because those are the things that might require testing, might require you to make changes to your configuration or your code. So you don’t definitely don’t want that auto enablement to happen and things start breaking in your production org, right?
Get ahead of that, do little baby steps at a time. Also give your users a heads up when things are changing, right? Because the worst thing is they’re in their org. The thing flips over to the new release and they’re like, “Okay, I don’t understand what this is or what these changes are.” And you want to be, as the admin, the trusted advisor at your company, right? Someone that users go to and you want to be the expert in all the things Salesforce. So getting ahead of that just really puts you in a better position, establishes your credibility in the org.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, great tips from a true expert. So I love it. All right, Jen. Well, thank you so much for joining us today and thanks for all the work you do for every release. And I know that your blog is not only useful to folks like me, and totally it’s Salesforce that we’ve used for many years, but I know that the community absolutely loves it. And so we’re so thankful that you are now officially part of us and that you are helping everyone get prepared for each release. So thank you for all the great work you do.

Jen Lee: Oh, and thank you for having me on the podcast.

Gillian Bruce: Of course. We’ll have you back again soon so don’t go far.

Jen Lee: Okay. I’ll try not to.

Gillian Bruce: Huge thanks to Jen for joining me on the podcast today. Love any excuse to chat with her and share her amazing thoughts, and advice, and content with the community. Now, Jen pulled out a couple of her highlights for the summer 22 release. Now, if you want to learn anything more about anything that Jen and I talked about in regards to summer 22, guess what? We’ve got a whole blog series about that on admin.salesforce.com. Our learn more blog series on summer 22 has five posts pulling out the top highlights from admins, featuring some of the product managers who’ve actually built the technology. And we have release readiness live that happen a few weeks ago that’s recorded so that you can get up to speed.

Now, definitely check out that recording. Again, you can find everything at admin.salesforce.com in addition to other great content, blogs, podcasts, and we got some videos on there too. So make sure you check that out. Now, if you want to stay up to date with all things awesome admin, you can find us on Twitter @SalesforceAdmns, no I. Our guest today was Jen Lee. You can find her on Twitter @JenWLee. You can find me @GillianKBruce and you can find my incredible co-host, Mike Gerholdt, @MikeGerholdt. With that, I hope you have a great rest of your day. Thanks for tuning in. And I’ll catch you next time in the cloud.

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