Three Marathon Training Tips that Apply to Your Salesforce Project
Three Marathon Training Tips that Apply to Your Salesforce Project

Three Marathon Training Tips that Apply to Your Salesforce Project

11/02/2023 by Andrew Fretwell
A sequel: the parallels between marathon training and Salesforce projects go even further than I thought the first time!

Last year I wrote a blog post about the parallels between training and completing a marathon and a major Salesforce undertaking. Since writing that blog post I have qualified and trained for this year’s New York City Marathon. And don’t you know it, I have some more thoughts about it!

As I gear up for the big run this weekend, I cannot help but reflect upon some of my own lessons learned from the last six months of training, and of course how it continue to have relevance to thinking about a major Salesforce undertaking. Here are five particular lessons from my training this year that have me thinking about Salesforce.

Don’t Plan in a Vaccum

When I planned out my training, things seemed simple. I set a total mileage count that I wanted to hit before the marathon and then created a calendar that spread those miles pretty evenly across the four months leading up to the marathon.

But then I checked that calendar again and realized that I was setting myself up for frustration. I had not taken into account family vacations and work trips, during which any time I spent running would be few and far between. I had to re-evaluate my calendar and give myself another month's time to reasonably hit my mileage (as in starting a month earlier).

While I was adjusting that calendar, I also realized, it’s not just my calendar and activities that will create variability. Will I really be able to run 30 miles a week in the dregs of the August heat of New York? And what about the inevitably of my getting sick from time to time? This would all mean that I need even more time - best to add another month. That’s how I ended up with a six-month training season.

Planning for a Salesforce project is similar. For the most part, we see our projects run at 10-15 hours a week on average. That means sometimes it is as high as 20 hours in a week or as little as five. When we plan out our projects and statements of Work, Arkus project managers ensure that we plan out a reasonable timeline that takes into account the ebb and flow of your team’s availability.

Ignore the Naysayers, Listen to the Veterans

When I announced my intentions to run the New York City Marathon this year, I was mostly greeted by encouragement. However, I also came across a few folks who wondered out loud to me if I wasn’t the best idea. I’d run it once already, was getting older, and now have a family and toddler to manage. That feedback could really be split into two camps: general naysaying from people in my life that I should probably talk less to, and valid concerns from those who have a good understanding of me, or of marathon training.

I did my best to tune out the former, but closely listen to the latter. It was true that marathon training is a huge commitment and would inevitably take time from other commitments, most significantly from the precious years I still have left while my son still actually wants to spend time with me. That honest worry challenged me to focus on how I could minimize the risk of missing time with my child and focused me on finding other ways to spend quality time with my family.

When you take on a Salesforce initiative, you will be inundated with advice and reactions, as well as skepticism. Some of that will be based on schadenfreude and rivalry, and some of it will be based on experience and honest concern. You will have to tune out the former and listen to the latter. Especially for other Salesforce users, listen to what they call out as the challenges and hurdles that they themselves did not anticipate. Let their mistakes broaden your perspective and increase your readiness. 

Manage Your Expectations with Agility and Reason

When I set out on my training, I thought to myself “Well, with all this time and energy I am investing, I wonder how far can I push my personal record?” It is a dangerous question when not weighed along with a grain of salt. When I ultimately landed on my goals for my training this time around, I had to at several points not get overly excited and overexaggerate my potential. 

And just as importantly, as I set about my training regimen, I adjusted my goals and expectations based on my progress. When I found myself running at a pace that I didn’t think previously would be reasonable, I made a reasonable change to what my projected marathon pace would be. At other times I felt that I was pushing myself too hard and risking injury, I brought it right back down without being hard on myself. 

A Salesforce project requires the same type of discipline and agility. You may feel like since Salesforce can meet so many of your teams’ needs, why shouldn’t they all onboard onto the platform in this round? But setting your requirements in stone too early in a project goes beyond positive discipline. The best projects are ones that have the breathing room to evolve on their edges. The key is to give yourself permission to incrementally turn the dial up or down as you implement to match your project’s progress.

I have emerged from my training with these basic learnings. As I prepare for the big race day I am nervous, excited, proud, and exhausted all at once! This isn’t so different from a Salesforce implementation project lead in the days leading up to a full go-live. Do you have any tips you want to share with me? I welcome any words of good luck or wisdom via LinkedIn as I get ready for the big run on Sunday!