“Can you spend an hour or two getting so-and-so up to speed on Salesforce”? I would have to say that sentence is my number two pet peeve next to “Can you dump this in Salesforce?”. But that aside, what do you do when you need to swap out Admins or bring a new Salesforce Admin onboard? These are all very good questions and I want to share with you some of the expectations, best practices, and tips for how to do a Salesforce knowledge transfer.
It’s very important to plan your knowledge transfer process. A knowledge transfer isn’t a meeting for an hour or two, it’s the process of transferring information, history, reasoning, contacts, and dates from one individual to another. Depending on the complexity and amount of work that has been put into your Salesforce instance this could take a while. Taking our lead from the wikipedia entry on knowledge transfer gives us a good starting point.
Identify the knowledge holders within the organization
I know this step sounds easy- find the Salesforce Admin, but it’s so much more than that. The knowledge holders in addition to the Salesforce Admin are also the subject matter experts (SMEs) for each process that Salesforce supports. Your knowledge holders can be the Sales Manager, Service manager, Contracts Manager, etc. Anyone that is a stakeholder in a process should be someone that your new Salesforce Admin meets as part of the knowledge transfer.
Motivate them to share
This sounds silly- “well of course they will share, that’s their job”. But the whole organization has to motivate the stakeholders to foster a culture of sharing. If one Admin is leaving it’s easy for them to simply wait for the right people to come to them. Conversely it’s easy to de-prioritize the meetings and changing the schedule. So it’s up to you to make sure that stakeholders, admins, and those involved with Salesforce are motivated to share their knowledge.
Design a sharing mechanism to facilitate the transfer
This is really the meat of this post, you probably skipped most of the post and went here first. So let me reward you. First, if you don’t have a Salesforce Admin library or private Chatter group- create one now! For me as an Admin this is the go to place that I stored everything- powerpoints, notes about processes, diagrams, build notes, data dictionaries, etc. You name it, it’s in there. Chatter is a great mechanism to use to facilitate the knowledge transfer.
Execute the transfer plan
It’s wise to start thinking about what a knowledge transfer plan would look like. Start a list of stake holders to meet with, along with a timeline for all the activities that need to be accomplished. Make sure you include in that list any key contacts and numbers for all of the AppExchange apps you use- especially the ones with renewals. Your timeline should include adequate time to review how your org is setup, what integrations you have, what connected apps are authorized as well as your security policy. Leave no stone unturned and not topic left uncovered.
Measuring to ensure the transfer
It’s easy to get caught up on the actual transfer, but it’s very important to set check points and make sure you measure your progress. As soon as you are done reading this post start writing your plan and for each topic area start writing a ‘review’ sheet. The review sheet should contain questions that check to make sure the right information is being covered and retained. So include questions like “What’s our policy on login attempts?” “Who is our Salesforce Contact?”. A good review sheet will not only check to make sure the person who should be learning about your Salesforce instance is retaining the information, but also serves as a check to make sure the trainer- or current Admin- is covering all the right topics.
Applying the knowledge transferred
Don’t wait until the Admin left before you start applying the knowledge transfer, start early and apply often. For example after an Admin has the security policy setup have them create a few users in a sandbox applying what they know. Not only does this work as a good review, but you can coach them immediately based on what they did or did not do correctly.
I know that knowledge transfers aren’t all that exciting of a subject, but they are critical. Having a plan for how you are going to do a knowledge transfer is key to your company’s success as well as the seamless transfer of ownership of your Salesforce plan. Think of it like having a fire drill- when the real emergency or situation comes up you already know the steps needed and how to execute.