Arkus Blog

The official Arkus blog provides your weekly dose for all thing Salesforce. Stay on top of the latest, most relevant Salesforce features, applications, and best practices.

Lightning Strikes Spring 18

Winter is here, which means Spring is on its way. What has Salesforce brought us in the Spring 18 release?
Lightning Strikes Spring 18

Lightning Strikes Spring 18

The new year is here and with that, Spring 18 is upon us. Winter 18 marked another big jump in the platform’s progress, and Spring 18 looks to continue that momentum. There are a bunch of features to highlight, but here are some of the new additions and enhancements that stood out to me when reviewing the release notes:

Reply and Forward Case Emails

This is a key feature that has been missing from Service Cloud in Lightning. When working with a Case, users will now have the ability to Reply, Reply All, and Forward emails associated with them. Service Cloud has been limited in Lightning thus far, but this is a great feature that is moving the bar in the right direction.

Themes in Lightning Experience

Salesforce delivers on its promise to start making the platform more customizable from a branding perspective with themes. In Spring 18, administrators will be able to create themes that match their company’s branding without having to use any code. This is an enhancement to LEX that will make a lot of organizations looking for a more branded experience very happy.

The one thing to keep in mind is that only one theme can be active at a time and that the active theme applies to the entire instance of Salesforce.

Gather Feedback with Salesforce Surveys

In Spring 18, Salesforce will be delivering a native Survey tool. The tool will provide organizations the ability to easily create forms and collect feedback. The data captured via the form will integrate directly into Salesforce, which will in turn open up the opportunity to leverage Salesforce’s reporting capabilities to view analytics and provide insights on survey results.

The major thing to note with this new tool is that it is a paid feature. There are many third party tools currently available, but a survey feature native to Salesforce is going to interest a lot of people.

Personalized Navigation in Lightning Experience

Often times at an organization using Salesforce, users work with specific items over others. Some users may interact daily with a certain tab while others may bypass it and go directly to what is relevant to them. Salesforce addresses this by providing users the ability to personalize their navigation bar to suit their individual needs. Users can reorder tabs, and rename or remove items that they’ve added.

Users will have the ability to create temporary tabs. These tabs can contain things like a specific dashboard that they need to view often, a list view, or a record and can be named whatever the user wants. Temporary tabs are removed from the navigation when a user switches applications or logs out, but users will also be able to choose to permanently add those items to the navigation bar. This level of flexibility will make users who have been looking for this for a long time smile.

Stay on Top of Duplicate Records with Duplicate Jobs

Most of us are familiar with the current way of managing duplicate record entries. Salesforce takes things a step further in Spring 18 by providing the ability to run scheduled duplicate jobs. These jobs can be set up to run and leverage standard or custom matching rules to scan Salesforce Person Accounts, Contacts, or Leads.

The results of the duplicate job can be compared against other entries and merging can be accomplished from there. Pretty nifty, right? For organizations using Performance and Unlimited editions of Salesforce, this is going to take duplicate management to a new level.


What do you think of the improvements and additions in Spring 18? Want to share your thoughts? Let me know what you think on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Success Community, or to me directly via Twitter at @RyanOwensRPO.


Salesforce Spring 18 Release Notes Rapid Reaction

It sure doesn’t feel like Spring in the Northeast, but Salesforce is moving forward regardless. Here’s a quick reaction blog post, with the hopes that it brings some warmer weather along with it.
Salesforce Spring 18 Release Notes Rapid Reaction

Salesforce Spring 18 Release Notes Rapid Reaction

To start, I feel it is necessary to mention some branding changes, as opposed to an actual feature being delivered. Salesforce is officially all in on the Lightning brand. For example Force.com is now Lightning Platform, so say goodbye to the good old days of Force.com development. My formative years building out Salesforce apps were all done on Force.com, so this is a little sad for me. Now onto the features:

Streamline Lead Conversion without Opportunities

This change applies to Lightning Experience only folks, so if you like the feature and have been waiting for something like this, you’ll have to be in Lightning to utilize it. Have you ever wanted to convert a Lead without creating an Opportunity? I know I have. Lots of times. I’ve worked in many organizations that would really benefit from utilizing Leads, but the conversion process is confusing when it comes to Opportunities, especially if the reason for using Leads is not to track a potential sale, rather to track a potential person for any reason -- recruiting perhaps. With this handy new feature you, as the administrator, can set the default behavior, to either change the checkbox behavior for creation of Opportunity on conversion or choose to hide it altogether. This minor user experience modification opens up a world of new use cases, thanks to being able to control a single checkbox. Thank you for this one, Salesforce!

Keep Track of Events with Community Calendars

Internal users of Salesforce get to create calendars and share them with each other. This feature has existed for a while in Lightning Experience. There was no component for it though, so if you wanted to display data in a calendar format for a community user you, as the administrator or developer, would need to build one. With this feature a calendar can be used and shared within communities (desktop version is the preferred method of accessing it) to share data. Users can also add events to calendars. Pretty nifty stuff.


Connect Your Pardot Campaigns to Salesforce Campaigns (Beta)

This beta feature becomes Pardot’s B2B solution. Pardot literally becomes a native app inside of Salesforce -- in Lightning Edition only -- called B2B Marketing Automation. Once Campaign Alignment is turned on, users can only create campaigns in Salesforce; campaigns in Pardot become inactive and read only. Only connected campaigns work within Pardot. That oddball checkbox user field “Marketing User” is required to use the app; look at that little checkbox continuing to be relevant, even though a permission set license is also required. You can try this out in a Pardot training environment, and you should; contact Salesforce to get a training environment. Users who are familiar with Salesforce as an interface are really going to love this, and in all likelihood adoption of Pardot will see an increase amongst savvy Salesforce users.

Please feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Trailblazer Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @JustEdelstein.

 

Happy New Customers!

Maintaining happy customers is an ongoing process for every organization, but you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
Happy New Customers!

Happy New Customers!

Onboarding a new customer can be complex sometimes, with multiple steps and tasks assigned to employees in multiple departments of your organization. Some of these tasks need to be completed in a specific order before a customer is fully onboarded. Managing and maintaining these tasks can get complicated, and any hold up in the process can make for an unhappy first experience.

With a little planning and use of tools like the Process Builder or custom objects in Salesforce, you can automate these steps or create an onboarding checklist to streamline these processes and improve your customer’s first experience.  

Here are some tips to help streamline and monitor your onboarding process:


Map out the Onboarding Process

The first thing your organization should do is map out the entire onboarding process from the customers’ perspective. In this step you will want to determine all the tasks that need to be done, what stage of the process they need to be done in, what timeframe they need to be completed within, and which department or person needs to complete this task. Since the onboarding process could be different for each type of product or service offered, you should also map out a process for each one of these.

In order to do this, you may want to do something as low-tech as writing out each task on a sticky note and hanging them up on the wall. I used this technique several years ago trying to streamline the commercial lending onboarding process for a community bank, and we quickly ran out of sticky notes, as well as wall space. With the help of Salesforce, we were able to streamline and automate several steps of this process to help improve the customer onboarding experience, as well as free up some wall space.


Process Automation

After mapping out the onboarding process, you can take all of those steps and put them to action using the Process Builder (which is by far my favorite tool in Salesforce). The Process Builder offers many different actions that can be automated at specific times like assigning tasks to a user, sending email alerts to customers requesting information, updating fields on objects, or posting a message to Chatter.

Each one of those tasks can be automated and triggered off of any field change and immediate actions like tasks or email alerts, as well as scheduled future actions like follow-up reviews or sending thank you cards can be created.

For example, the criteria for this process is started based on a closed/won opportunity where the product is a deposit account.

When these particular conditions are met, multiple actions are performed. In this example, a task is assigned to the opportunity owner to perform the necessary KYC checks on the customer.

You can learn all about the magic of the Process Builder by going to Trailhead. Here is a good trail to get you starting on building your first process.

 

Onboarding Object

For more complicated onboarding processes, a separate onboarding custom object may be quite useful. With a separate custom object, you could create checklists with fields showing date completed for each step in the onboarding process. This could help with your automation by notifying the person responsible for completing the next step in the process. Stages can be added to the onboarding object, and with Salesforce Lightning, you can build a Path on your custom object to show guidance on items that need to be completed at that particular stage.

If the onboarding object contains lookup fields to an Opportunity or Account, you could use formula fields to bring in information from those objects, and use these to help generate the onboarding documents needed for your customers to sign (or esign) using tools like Conga, Drawloop, and Docusign, which can all be found on the AppExchange.


Measuring Happiness

When your initial onboarding process is complete, it is important to obtain feedback from your customer to determine their level of happiness with the process. This can be done by sending a survey with specific questions about the onboarding process. Effective surveys should be short and to the point to avoid dropout, and the responses should end up in Salesforce. These responses should be reviewed by the account manager or an individual in charge of your customer experience, and common complaints about your onboarding process should be discussed, with improvements made immediately to help make future happy customers.

Standard customer satisfaction and loyalty metrics like the Net Promoter Score should be used in your survey to determine how your customers felt after the onboarding process. Results from these surveys can be displayed on a dashboard or in a Chatter group for everyone to see. The Process Builder can also help by automatically sending the onboarding survey email template to your customer when an opportunity is marked as Closed/Won, and by notifying the account manager when results of the survey are received.

There are several survey tools on the AppExchange that can help you build integrated surveys with Salesforce.

 

Happy Customers :)

The most important objective for any business should be to have happy customers. Businesses with happy customers become successful and grow and those that do not quickly perish. Happy customers are your best advocates and turn into a great referral source, which leads to more happy customers, and then to even more happy customers.

Having a streamlined, pleasant, and engaging first experience for any new customer will create a lasting impression and lay the foundation for a long-term relationship.

Do you have any good tips on using Salesforce in your onboarding process? Drop them in the comments below or share them with us on Twitter, on the Salesforce Community, Facebook, or chat with me @ScottTSearle.

A Nonprofit Success Story - The Women's Center of Jacksonville

The Women’s Center of Jacksonville dramatically increased their impact with a move to the Salesforce.
A Nonprofit Success Story - The Women's Center of Jacksonville

A Nonprofit Success Story - The Women's Center of Jacksonville

 

Our Client

The Women’s Center of Jacksonville is a Jacksonville-based nonprofit organization offering education, support, and advocacy to survivors and women of all genders and ages. Each year the Women’s Center of Jacksonville provides hundreds of sexual assault survivors with support services. The Women’s Center of Jacksonville is the only certified rape crisis center in Duval, Baker, and Nassau counties and also offers community education, counseling, referral assistance, bystander intervention training services, and breast cancer education, support, and advocacy at complimentary and affordable prices.


Their Challenge

When The Women’s Center opened, they were small enough that each staff member knew all of their clients personally and maintained their own records. As the organization experienced significant growth of services, clients, staff, and funders, so did the need for a client-centric platform that promoted cross departmental collaboration. Their technology infrastructure was unable to support efficient collaboration, and the organization was challenged to capture every client interaction. Additionally measuring and reporting requirements has become increasingly important for nonprofits and funders alike. Administrative overhead was becoming untenable, and the center needed a new platform with a clear user interface to help staff easily capture services delivered, promote collaboration, and ensure accurate data entry.


Their Solution

After evaluating a variety of solutions, The Women’s Center of Jacksonville ultimately selected Salesforce with NPSP as their platform and Arkus as their trusted implementation partner. The Women’s Center successfully migrated off of ETO, Abila, and spreadsheets, for both human service case management, as well as fundraising and donor management, by adopting Arkus’s lean and agile methodology. 


The Results

The move to Salesforce has been a tremendous success for the organization. The service providers now have unduplicated client records, and the organization set up a data model to support “the whole woman” service model already in place. Since they also set up Salesforce for their development team, they can now easily deliver services, capture outcomes, and report back to their funders. The flexibility of the platform has also allowed the Women’s Center to leverage powerful 3rd party applications like Classy that has dramatically improved their online fundraising capabilities. If you would like to support the Women’s Center of Jacksonville or donate to their cause, please visit their website at: www.womenscenterofjax.org


Want to know more about the implementation or share your thoughts? Let me know what you think on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Success Community, or to me directly via Twitter @RboyleSF


 


Cloud Computing Predictions for 2018

For the 8th year in a row, it is time to look deep into the crystal ball and make some cloudy predictions for 2018.
Cloud Computing Predictions for 2018

Cloud Computing Predictions for 2018

Last year I made some pretty crazy predictions, including Salesforce buying a Learning Management System (LMS), Apple releasing a Dot, and Amazon buying Slack. Gotta say, I feel like I get half credit for two of those. Salesforce is all in on Trailhead and is expanding it as an LMS and Apple did announce (but failed to release) the HomePod.

With that great success behind me, let's see what we can cook up this year. Once again I will be adding my confidence points because, well, @JustEdelstein said I should.

Bitcoin Bites, Blockchain Bounds

The Bitcoin insanity over the last few months has been all over the headlines. The price has just skyrocketed to over $15,000 and seems to have a huge trajectory. My prediction is that Bitcoin comes back to the ground and ends 2018 under five thousand dollars but leads to the Blockchain technology becoming a household name. By the end of 2018 there will be Blockchain-backed products from over half of the top 10 major financial institutions.

Confidence: 10

Electric Cars are Driven

Tesla is currently leading the way in electric vehicles, with incredible technology, speed, and a charging network that keeps it all afloat. Next year will be a major year for electric vehicles, where the landslide of car manufacturers will be laying down the plans to phase out gas cars in favor of an all electric roadmap. The writing is certainly on the wall for that one. Next year there will be a jump into the future, with fully autonomous driving cars that will get both the technology and legislation in at least one state to go fully self driving.

Confidence: 7

Apple Doesn't Go to Eleven

Predicting an Apple update to the iPhone is pretty easy; there will be one. Predicting that Apple doesn't update something is risky and going against a 10 year trend. This year I expect Apple to double backwards and release an iPhone 9 and refresh the iPhone X but NOT release anything over that. There will be no 11 in 2018. You heard it here first.

Confidence: 8

Amazon Buys Salesforce

I know, I know. I like to make big merger predictions each and every year, but they almost never come true. This one, though, is for the ages, as the largest cloud-company company in the world uses some of that $20 billion in cash to put down a deposit on Salesforce. Amazon enters the huge enterprise software market, and Salesforce gets almost unlimited scalability on the Amazon cloud. This one might take awhile to get through all the legal sign off, but this will send shock waves through the computing world for years to come.

Confidence: 2

The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story

1.4 million people in New York City face hunger every day and many, including a rapidly growing number of seniors, have little to no access to food. West Side Campaign Against Hunger is combatting this with their Mobile Pantry Program.
The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story

The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story


West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH) is a nonprofit organization based in New York City whose mission is to alleviate hunger and create a culture that promotes self-reliance and works for change. In the basement level of the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew on West 86th Street, the WSCAH operates a supermarket pantry that serves their customers, allowing them to choose the food they need for themselves and their families.

In October of 2016, WSCAH came to Arkus with the idea of expanding their customer reach by launching the Mobile Pantry Program at their organization. The Mobile Pantry Program is designed to bring food into new communities and serve food to individuals who cannot travel to their brick and mortar food pantry. This new program would essentially bring the pantry to their customers.

Fast forward a year later and Salesforce now serves as the backbone of their Mobile Pantry Program operations by tracking customers along with their household information, relationships, and their pantry participation.

Used in blog post The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story

The Mobile Pantry Program

WSCAH works with external organizations scattered throughout Northern Manhattan and the Bronx to create new access points to fresh produce and healthy staples. These external partnering organizations host WSCAH once per calendar month, on a specific day, and refer customers that may need their services. On the specified days, WSCAH arrives with a truck filled with food and sets up a pantry, resembling a farmer’s market, for the day. Referred customers then attend the Mobile Pantry event and choose their food, as if visiting a mobile farmers market. In addition to the pantry itself, customers also have access to a variety of resources, such as cooking demos, recipes, and nutrition education.

How Was It Accomplished?

Implementing the Mobile Pantry Program started with customizing Salesforce. It was necessary to develop clear program requirements  and configure Salesforce to meet the program’s needs.

In order to compensate for the unique pantry conditions, a logical workflow to the program needed to be developed. It started with scheduling the days that the Mobile Pantry Program would be visiting the organizations. Once that had been completed, the event records could be created inside of Salesforce and organizations could begin sending their lists of referrals. The referral list represents people who will be attending that day’s Mobile Pantry event. Upon receiving the list, WSCAH would work to import referred customers and their key information into Salesforce. The import process would automatically create relevant records related to a customer, including a referral to a Mobile Pantry event of a certain date. At that point, there would be a record inside of Salesforce for the program, its events, the customers, and their referrals to those events.

Used in blog post The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story

Once there was a record of customers inside of Salesforce, we worked together to develop an automated check-in process, where referred customers would receive a program card that is unique to them and be able to check into the Mobile Pantry by scanning it upon arriving at the event.

The check-in process utilized several third party applications, all created by Scout Inc. It started with TuBarcode, which automatically generates a barcode that contains the ID relevant to the person inside of Salesforce. TuLabel is used to generate the label, which contains the previously generated barcode on one side and WSCAH’s branding on the other. TuLabel generates PDFs of each label that can then be printed. These labels will ultimately be the face of the cards. Using an AlphaCard printer, each card is printed. Once the cards have been printed, they are ready to be given out and scanned.

On the day of the Mobile Pantry Event, referred customers attending for the first time receive their card. Once they have received their card, it is theirs to keep and use at future program events.

Used in blog post The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story

To compensate for the mobile environment, a tablet logged into Salesforce and a wireless scanning device was decided upon for the check-in execution. When a WSCAH staff member scans a customer’s card, Scout’s ZapIt application will recognize the barcode and create an attendance record inside of Salesforce for the customer. This attendance record automatically links to both the referral and the event record. Also upon scanning, key information about the customer is displayed to continue a personal, seamless experience.

Once a customer has checked in, they are free to navigate through the Mobile Pantry and make use of its services.

Recurring customers, who would receive separate referrals ahead of each event, would undergo a separate referral import process inside of Salesforce to create referrals for existing customers. From there, they would be free to use their existing card and attend the event. In order to facilitate walk-in customers who had not been referred, a manual entry process was developed to get them recognized in Salesforce and a card created for them.

Used in blog post The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story

Results

It has been two months since the successful launch of WSCAH’s Mobile Pantry Program. In those two months, WSCAH has reached and served almost 2,000 individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have access to their pantry. WSCAH works tirelessly to fight hunger across New York City, and we at Arkus have been grateful to work with WSCAH and assist in expanding their reach and impact with the Mobile Pantry Program. To follow West Side Campaign Against Hunger’s initiatives and/or donate to their worthwhile cause, please visit their website at www.wscah.org.


Want to know more about the implementation or share your thoughts? Let me know what you think on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Success Community, or to me directly via Twitter at @RyanOwensRPO.

Top Ten Streams in 2017 - Episode #279 of CloudFocus Weekly

Sharing the top 10 things we streamed in 2017 in our final episode of the year.
Top Ten Streams in 2017 - Episode #279 of CloudFocus Weekly

Top Ten Streams in 2017 - Episode #279

Tips to Prepare for Data Migration

If I could go back in time and tell myself a few tips to prepare for a data migration to Salesforce, I would. But since Salesforce has not invented a time machine yet, I’ll pass this knowledge on to you.
Tips to Prepare for Data Migration

Tips to Prepare for Data Migration

Many moons ago (2010 to be exact), I found myself face-to-face with Salesforce, which at the time was a new cloud-based CRM I had heard of but never had direct experience with.  However, I was very experienced with Raiser’s Edge and Convio from my past experience as a Development Coordinator/Data Services Manager for several non-profits, where data was my main responsibility.  When we migrated to Salesforce, it was a successful migration, but it could have been much easier had I been aware of what was necessary.  Now that I sit on the consulting side of the table, I want to pass on a few tips to help you prepare for an upcoming migration.

Organize Your Data

When I think of data migration, I always think of moving to a new house.  As I prepare to move, I usually need to get boxes, organize my things, label those boxes, and throw out anything that I don’t intend to move with me.  Well, a data migration is similar.  You really want to clean up and organize your data before a migration begins.  You will want to make sure constituent and gift records are clean and concise, just to name a couple This can include tedious things such as filtering an Excel file to clean up picklists and values, or even a larger conversation around what should be migrated or left behind.  This could also represent pulling a file of all your constituents and going through that data to correct typos or merge duplicate records.  The reason I recommend doing this before a migration is that nobody knows your data better than you.  I’ll be the first to say it’s a tough process, but once you move into your new system, it will all be worth it.  This leads me to my next point.

More is More

You normally hear people say “less is more,” but in terms of a migration, I believe more is more, as long as it is clean and organized.  What I mean by this is sometimes you have a tendency to choose not to migrate data because you’re not sure if you’ll need it.  I would advise you to migrate that data anyway.  It’s much easier to hide certain fields in Salesforce than to realize you need particular fields that you did not migrate and move that data after the fact.  It’s also an understatement to make sure you check with all stakeholders to ensure you are not choosing to leave data behind that may be critical to others.  Obtaining buy-in for a new system really hinges on the premise that all parties involved will have the tools necessary to continue to do their jobs, and access to data is at the core of that.   

Don’t be a Hoarder

On the flipside of More is More, you have to be honest and realistic with your data.  If you have records that nobody within the organization understands because they are from 3 migrations ago, it’s time to let that go.  I know it sounds funny, but by the same token as above, if your stakeholders cannot find a good use for the data, and nobody knows what the “1999 XXX Excel conversion attribute” means, you might want to save the data storage for migrating that one, or store a copy of that data somewhere else to reference if needed.  You want to make sure that all the data you are bringing over is useful, functional data.  A migration gives you the unique chance to come together internally and make decisions on what is important and what is not.

Plan for Down Time

Another important aspect to consider is what to do with the down time between when your data is actually being migrated and when the new instance will go live.  You will want to implement a cut off time for people to stop entering in new data in the old system.  If you have a large pledge drive or donor event/campaign coming up, you will want to schedule your migration either before or after that time, since it may not be possible to stop data entry during high-volume times.  A good suggestion is to try to schedule your data migration during a slow period for your organization if possible.

Trailhead

My final suggestion is the use of Trailhead to familiarize yourself with Salesforce Architecture.  If I had a better understanding of Salesforce objects and capabilities going in, it would have helped me understand and formulate ideas of how to use Salesforce to shape my data structure.  Some modules that are good to review are Salesforce Basics and Salesforce Basics for Nonprofits.  Going through those modules will help you to begin to understand how objects relate in Salesforce and how to apply those possibilities to your data.

Good Luck!

Data migration is actually one of my favorite parts of a project, especially when moving to Salesforce.  I remember the first time I was shown Salesforce and being blown away with the open-ended nature of the platform and all the possibilities.  Hopefully with preparation and “getting your house in order” beforehand, you will have a great migration.

Do you have any tips or suggestions to help with data migration?  Feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @berkeley_t_b

One "Soft" Skill Every Salesforce Professional Needs

Learning how to identify projects and break down next actions is an indispensable skill for all Salesforce professionals to cultivate, both for career success and personal satisfaction.
One "Soft" Skill Every Salesforce Professional Needs

One "Soft" Skill Every Salesforce Professional Needs

Projects, Projects Everywhere

Are you a project manager? Your job title or description may not say so, but all of us are managing projects all of the time. They may not be big (or small) implementations or even be Salesforce projects at all. Projects are everywhere in our work and our lives, and learning to identify projects and break down next actions is as key to your health and happiness as it is to your career.

So what is a project? Fundamentally, it is anything you want to accomplish that has more than one step. At work, this is pretty much everything except the most rote of tasks. Testing out a new App? That’s a project. Updating some code? That’s a project. Putting together some reporting for stakeholders? Conducting a training session? Doing some data cleanup? These are all projects. Even if you are not “the” project manager for a larger project like a Salesforce implementation, considering the elements within your responsibility as a project or series of related projects will help you organize your own work to be as efficient as possible.

I challenge you to also consider your personal and professional development as projects. With the Salesforce release cycle, certifications to get and maintain, new products to learn and explore, events to attend, and opportunities to volunteer and give back, Salesforce professionals have a lot to keep up with in the professional sphere. Many of us set goals to get a new certification or do some pro bono work, etc., but how are you going to make it all happen? When we identify these as projects, we start to set ourselves up in a framework to actually reach the goal.

Projects aren’t all work either. Taking a vacation, sending holiday cards to your friends and family, buying a gift for that special someone, these are all projects in our personal lives. Treating them as such can help you give them the appropriate amount of your attention and even help you maintain a better work life balance.

Why is this so important?

Personally I like accomplishing things. If you’re reading this, I bet you do, too. It is very hard to accomplish anything, though, unless you define the thing you are going to accomplish and take specific actions to move toward your goal.

Once you identify something as a project, you can start to break it down using what we Getting Things Done (GTD) devotees refer to as the natural planning model. At the core, this is the concept of moving a project along by identifying the next available action. Even if you are not going full-on GTD, you can incorporate this into your everyday approach by simply asking yourself “What is the next thing I need to do for this project?” and writing down that as your task. In this way, you give yourself the opportunity to take meaningful, manageable steps toward your goal and avoid feeling overwhelmed by thinking about everything you have to do to accomplish it at once.

We are all busy. There is a near endless stream of possible tasks. It’s very hard to effectively manage your time, if you’re always having to think about what you need to do. There are a lot of opportunities in the Salesforce ecosystem at a variety of skill types and levels, but every single one of them requires the ability to effectively manage your own work in some way, even if that is simply to ensure you are up to date on your own knowledge of the platform. Breaking down projects and next actions helps you optimize your time and manage how stressful these demands can feel. Being in control of your personal portfolio of projects is peace of mind as much as it is professional prowess.

Also, as you look to move forward in your career, you will want to be able to speak to projects you have completed. It is much easier to articulate what you have accomplished when you have defined it well for yourself, and the confidence you can repeat these successes comes with clarity on the steps you took to get there.

How do I get better at it?

Like all skills, project management is something you improve with practice. Explore the tools and methodologies that resonate with you. Write things down. The first step is to start thinking about the things you do in terms of projects. If you’re already an ace project manager in your work, try applying these skills to other areas of your life. Practice articulating your accomplishments and current undertakings--all projects--to yourself and others. Practice identifying next actions. And most importantly, consider this as a way to be good to yourself, not just better at your work. As the new year comes upon us, think about your projects for next year rather than your resolutions. With this mindset, I hope we can all accomplish our goals, whatever they may be.



How has project management been part of your career and life? What methodologies do you practice? Feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @ifitfloats.

Building Good Health Habits with GTD

Here is a look at how you can use GTD to build good health habits.
Building Good Health Habits with GTD

Building Good Health Habits with GTD

The GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology by David Allen has been critical to how I manage my work and home life responsibilities. After a number of years practicing, I became aware that I wasn't really using GTD for my health and wellness goals. I realized that many of my goals to build good habits never had a real end date. I would just say I was going to do something and then tried to remember to do it.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.  So after some thinking I came up with a good process and tried it out.  I have seen some really good results.  Here is an overview of my GTD process for health and wellness.

Awareness

Awareness is the most critical step in changing anything about ourselves. Before we do anything, we have to scan ourselves, both mentally and physically, to find what we would like to change and write them down. This is an exercise I do weekly. Once we understand at a high level what we aren’t happy with, we can come up with ideas on how to change things and prioritize. I am a firm believer in a crawl-walk-run approach to anything in life, so I would pick maybe one thing for mental health and maybe two things for physical health (one for nutrition and one for exercise). Pick ones that just feel right and go. By starting with small changes, we can convince our egos it's not a big deal, and we will be more willing to commit.

Belief and Commitment

What is the point of doing something, if you don't have a reason?  Are we really willing to commit to doing something if we don't have a compelling one? More often than not, we are not. Once we identify what we want to change, we need to evaluate the WHY.  This deeper awareness will help us build a compelling argument to change our behavior.  Many times with our health it takes bad news from a doctor to get us to commit, but if you take the time to be aware of yourself and relate it to why you aren’t as healthy as you want, it will give you a boost of motivation to make a change. Trust me; it works! This exercise got me off anxiety medicine. I did the awareness exercise as described above and realized that I didn't believe the side effects and potential long term risks were worth it anymore. At one point they were but that changed. Once I realized that, I got motivated to change. That boost of motivation made me commit and take action. So if you are ready to go join that gym, stop reading this and join one right now.  Even though this may take more than two minutes do not create a GTD project and set next action to tomorrow. Once we take the first action, now we can use our tools to set next actions and a way to measure our progress.

OmniFocus to Achieve Accountability

Now that we joined the gym, how are we holding ourselves accountable to actually going?  This is where OmniFocus (my GTD tool of choice) comes in. It is the perfect tool to help hold yourself accountable for the habits you want to create. One of my habit goals was to meditate every day for 5 minutes.  I have a daily project that has a list of a few things I do on a daily basis.  I added meditation, and because I will not cross off the action as completed unless I actually did it, I found that extra 5 minutes to get a meditation session in.  After 6 months or so of doing it, meditation is now an unconscious habit in my daily routine and no longer needed in my daily project. The tool brings awareness to what I need to do and can hold you accountable for doing it if you let it.  

Conclusion

So there is a quick look into how to use GTD to build good health habits.  This can be applied to any good habit you want to create.  Try it out and see for yourself.  How you set it up in your tools is up to you, but the key is to maintain the awareness and hold yourself accountable.  If you find yourself deferring a bunch, it might be an indicator you need to evaluate your WHY.  Then you can make educated decisions and achieve the goals you want to achieve.  

Please feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @Salvatoriello

Filed under:
Tag Cloud
10 Years 2011 2012 2013 2016 2017 2018 AT&T Actian Admin Administrators Agile Amazon Analytics Android AppExchange Appirio Apple Arkus Backing Up Banking Behind The Scenes Best Practices Calendar Careers Case Management Certifications Change Sets Charity Chatter Chatter Messenger Chrome Extensions Chrome OS Chromebook Clicktools Clients Clone This User Cloud Computing Cloudforce Collaboration Communities Community Bank Community Builder Community Engagement Community Templates Compliance Locker Conga Composer Construction Consulting Core Core Banking CrashPlan Custom Buttons Custom Development Customer Company Customer Portal Customer Service Data Loader Data Migration Declarative Developer Desk.com Destination Success Developer Development Do.com Documents Drawloop Dreamforce Dreamforce 11 Dreamforce 12 Dreamforce 13 Dreamforce 14 Dreamforce 15 Dreamforce 16 Dreamforce 17 Dropbox Duplicates Echosign Education Einstein Email Enterprise Entertainment Evernote ExactTarget Excel Facebook Family Features Financial Services Flow Force.com Force.com Sites Forms Formulas Foursquare GTD Gift Gmail Google Google Apps Google Chrome Google Drive Google Wave Health & Fitness Holiday Householding Human Services IBM IDE IdeaExchange Ideas Integration Javascript Kayak Keynote Kindle Fire Knowledge Koa Template Kokua Template Lead Assignment Lightning Lightning Connect Lightning Experience Lightning Process Builder LinkedIn Longform Many Who Marc Benioff Marketing Meetings Merging Midwest Dreamin Mobile Applications MobileMe NGO NPSP Napili Template Netflix New York City Non-Profit Non-Profits NonProfit CRM Summit Nonprofit OSX OSX Lion Objects Ohana Omni-Channel OmniFocus Onboarding Open Source Org Cleanup Org Split Outlook Paperless Pardot Partner Portal PepUp Tech Permission Sets Pervasive Philanthropy Pledge 1% Plone Podcast Podcasting PostgreSQL Power of Us Predictions Pro bono Process Builder Productivity Profiles Profitability Program Management Project Management Quickbooks Rackspace Rapid Reaction Record Types Referrals Release Notes Review Reviews Roles S-Docs Sales Sales Path SalesForce.com Salesforce Salesforce Maintenance Salesforce Pods Salesforce.com Salesforce1 Salesforce1 Mobile SalesforceIQ Sandboxes Scrums Security Service Cloud Services Slack Social Social Enterprise Social Networks Solutions Spring '11 Spring 12 Spring 13 Spring 14 Spring 15 Spring 16 Spring 17 Spring 18 Streaming Success Community Summer 11 Summer 12 Summer 13 Summer 14 Summer 15 Summer 16 Summer 17 Superbadge Superheroes Support Survey System Admin Talend Testing Thanksgiving The Permissioner Time Warner Tips Tony Robbins Tools Top 10 Trailblazer Community TrailheaDX Trailhead Training Travel Tricks Twitter Two-Factor Authentication UI UX User Group Validation Rules Verizon Visualforce Volunteer WWDC Watson Weekly Review Wellness Whatsapp Will-i-Am Windows Winter 11 Winter 12 Winter 13 Winter 14 Winter 15 Winter 16 Winter 17 Winter 18 Work.com Workbench Workflow Rules Working Remotely Yammer iCal iCloud iOS iPad iPad 3 iPhone iTunes Match
CFWP on Stitcher Radio