Thursday, March 26, 2015

Leaving a Learning Trail

One of the most worrying aspect of an client engagement is what comes after the successful deployment.

In one of my previous role, I was asked out of the blue without any prior warning to deploy a large chain-set containing 19 objects, some close to 380 fields, with 9 interlinked-relationships. Along with that I was to cleanse the data from legacy systems that amounted to 6 digits of records. And all this without a proper plan (I was the one who was supposed to come up with a plan for this) and two days prior to my extended vacation for Diwali. And that too when my mom had promised to make my favourite sweets.

But even on that day, when I prepared the plan on the 14 hour train journey from Delhi to Pune and then successfully deploying the whole package after relishing on the sweets, I was not as worried as I always am when I am told to do a Train the Trainers session at the clients office.

It is always good to have a train the trainers session and a good company understands that. However when it comes to estimates for a proper train the trainers session presents with difficulty. First, if its an implementation to replace their existing system (or worst with no system in place and moving from the DREADED EXCEL Sheets) a week worth of training is never sufficient. Not to mention the Users knowledge of Salesforce in the first place is very less and then telling them about the brand new system that we have developed for their convenience.

The point is, the exercise is fruitless which worries me. At the end of the session the customer promises to hire a good admin or if they have an admin, he promises that he will get certified and ask others to get one too. Somewhere down the line, it fails, people get confused using the new system and get back to their DREADED EXCEL sheets. This problem happens with a lot of Foundation customers as well.

When Salesforce introduced Trailhead I rejoiced, finally, I had something that I could give my customers, end users, new admins that was cheap (free duh), effective and a fun way of learning Salesforce. All I had to do now is go to the train the trainer sessions and verify they have the necessary badges to show us.

The trailhead website is very neatly organized and is very easy to navigate. If you are new to Salesforce, you could start with the basics track. this trail leads through 6 steps of Introduction to the platform, Data Modelling, Data Security, Data management, Formula fields and UI customization.

Not only that but Salesforce has now released amazing trailhead modules from programming track too. There are two programming tracks one for visual app development and another for Programmatic app development. 

The visual app development track consists in tutorials for process automation, Salesforce 1 basics, Setting up Chatter and how to handle change.