Focus on ‘Why’ instead of ‘How’

Knowing the how is necessary.  Understanding the why is illuminating.

Knowing how to perform a task is necessary.  Understanding why the task needs to be done can help you achieve a deeper understanding of the task and the process to which it is related.why what how

Knowing how to implement a solution in Salesforce is necessary but understanding why the solution is needed is much more important and illuminating.   Many times users will ask for changes based on their perception of how to fix the problem.  These changes sometimes address the immediate need but not the underlying problem that created the issue in the first place.  By asking users why they need a specific change, the analyst can get to the heart of the problem and help find the best solution to address the underlying problem so the issue will not happen again.

According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, people who become focused on how to achieve a goal may have a harder time achieving their aims than people who think abstractly about why they want to do something.

Question

Can you share an example when knowing the ‘why’ helped with finding the best solution?

 

Good, Better, Best Requirements

I have gathered and documented thousands of requirements for hundreds of applications over
the years.  Good requirements are easily understood by the IT team and are testable.

I recently found a great post by David Shaffer called “It’s the clipboard2Requirements fault! A Recipe for Requirement Clarity “.  He really provides a clear concise method for developing solid requirements.  Below are a list of questions from his article that I highly recommend any analyst consider when gathering and documenting requirements.

For each requirement you ask the following questions:

  1. Is the requirement written in S-V-O format? (Subject-Verb-Object)
  2. Is the requirement written in active voice using a strong auxiliary verb?
  3. Does the requirement focus on the business need rather than a technical solution?
  4. Is the requirement easy to understand by all audiences?
  5. Is the requirement simple, short, and unambiguous?
  6. Will an example improve the understanding of the requirement?
  7. Will a visual figure or wireframe improve the understanding of the requirement?
  8. Can the requirement be tested?
  9. Does the requirement contradict any other requirement?
  10. Does the requirement describe how it must be implemented (Ex: display in alphabetic order, ascending/descending order, required/optional field, alphanumeric, numeric, etc.)

Question

What are some questions you normally use when gathering requirements?

4 Types of Email Notifications

Emails are part of the business landscape so including them in your Salesforce applicationemail1 makes sense.  Designing the look of the email and its contents is important so that the emails provide users with the right information at the right time.

So what are some typical scenarios that result in email notifications?

  1. Acknowledgement – when a user submits a request, CASE, etc
  2. Status Update – providing user with status of request, CASE, etc
  3. Escalation – providing user with information on an escalation
  4. Information – providing user with information

Design Considerations for Salesforce Email Templates

Every email should include the following:

  • Reason person is receiving the email
  • ID / Link back to the Salesforce record which resulted in the notification (if appropriate)
  • Relevant information
  • Next Steps for person receiving the email (if any)
  • Next Steps for Company/Group (helps to set user expectations)
  • How to contact us

In the process of creating your templates consider the following:

  • Pick the appropriate email template type based on what your email recipients can handle and the level of layout control you require.
  • Maximize your subject line
    • Keep it concise but informative
    • For mobile recipients some researchers feel the first 35 characters are key
  • Use Merge Fields to personalize content
    • Be sure the merge fields you will be using have data. The merge field will not appear in the email for a record where there is no data in that field.
    • Email templates give you access only to the fields that are accessible to you via your page layout and field-level security settings.
  • Configure your email Deliverability Settings — Information about these settings can be found here.

A great place to see how to create a Salesforce Email Template is the article “How to create an email template in Salesforce” at wikihow.com.

Question

How do you use email notifications in your business?

Manage Business Hours Holidays

For this installment of my permission series we are going to review the Manage Business Hours Holidays permission.  Before we see what this permission allows a user to do, we first need to review Business Hours and Holidays as defined within a Salesforce organization.

Overview

Business HoursHoursOfOperation1

The hours when your support team is available to serve customers.

  • By default business hours are set 24 hours, seven days a week in the default time zone specified by your organization’s profile.
  • Several sets of business hours can be defined for an organization so that different service hours can be related to holidays, cases and other areas.
  • Salesforce automatically calculates daylight savings times for the time zones available for business hours
  • The Business Hours field cannot be included in list views or reports.
  • The Business Hours field can be added to CASE layouts to allow users to view and define a specific set of business hours to a case.
  • Business Hours on a case are automatically set to your organization’s default business hours unless an escalation rule associated with a different set of business hours is activated due to matching criteria
  • Escalation rules only run during the business hours with which they are associated
  • Business hours included in escalation rules must first be removed from these rules before being deactivated
  • Hierarchy of Business Hours:
    Business hours applied to a milestone override business hours applied to an entitlement process, which override business hours applied to a case. If no business hours are set on the milestone, then the Entitlement Process Business Hours are used. If neither the Milestone Business Hours nor the Entitlement Process Business Hours are set, then the business hours on the case are used.

Holidaysholiday1

Holidays let you specify the dates and times your customer support team is unavailable. After you create a holiday, you can associate it with business hours to suspend business hours and escalation rules during holiday dates and times.

  • Up to 1000 holidays can be associated with each set of business hours.
  • Holidays automatically acquire the time zone of the business hours with which they are associated.
  • You can only add business hours marked as Active to holidays.
  • Holiday names don’t need to be unique.
  • Report results do not take holidays into account.
  • A holiday can be set to recur on a specific day of every month (20th or first Monday, etc).

What Can You Do With This Permission?

A user with a profile or permission set having the Manage Business Hours Holidays enabled can do the following:

  • Define business hours
  • Edit business hours
  • Define holidays
  • Edit Holidays
  • Associate business hours to holidays

A user with the Customize Application permission enabled as well can also do the following:

  • Add Business Hours field to the Case Layout page
  • Associate business hours to milestones in entitlement process
  • Associate business hours with escalation rules
  • Associate business hours with entitle processes

References

Guidelines for Setting Business Hours
Set Business Hours
Setup Support Holidays
Guidelines for Creating Support Holidays

What is a citizen developer?

The division between IT and business is blurring and organizations are seeing the rise of a new type of employee – the citizen developer.

A citizen developer is a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT. In the past, end-user application development has typically been limited to single-user or workgroup solutions built with tools like Microsoft Excel and Access. However, today, end users can build departmental, enterprise and even public applications using shared services, fourth-generation language (4GL)-style development platforms and cloud computing services such as Salesforce.1

Why have citizen development?

IT Departments are understaffed as business makes greater demands – with more work than they can handle due to inadequate resources and funding so IT focuses on the most critical business needs and allowing others to fall to the bottom of the pile.  Unfortunately those items at the bottom may never see the light of day.  Citizen developers have stepped in to fill this gap.  Use of low-code platforms such as Salesforce have improved operational efficiency, reduced time to market and increased employee productivity.[4]

DIY by SME’s vs. IT’s ability to capture requirements and execute solutions[2] – In some cases a technology solution can be easier to implement and be more on the mark if done by a citizen developer that has deep subject matter expertise on the business and issues being addressed.

Reduced Maintenance Costs for No/Low Code solutions – It can be quite costly to develop custom applications using code.  Usually the development team that creates the application doesn’t stay to maintain it and funding for ongoing maintenance usually dries up.  Citizen developed applications are largely no or low code solutions deployed on SaaS or PaaS platforms.  Such applications usually require less maintenance and can be easily enhanced.[2]

Tech savvy business users are here!  More technically savvy individuals are entering organizations in non-technology functions.  These individuals are interested in taking on more of a technical role.  Given the right platforms, processes and governance these users can become citizen developers.[2]

What’s the risk?

Citizen developers are concerned with solving an immediate problem.  This focus results in a solution that helps business with its issue but may also not fit well into the overall IT ecosystem.[2]

Important parts of the complete development picture are sometimes not considered or defined by citizen developers:[6]

  • Who will support the application?
  • What other tools and applications will need to integrate with the application?
  • If there are bugs or problems, what will the wider impact be?

Making it work

“If citizen development is done properly in partnership with the IT department, then that can work, “ says Mark Driver, a research director at Gartner.  “There is a distinction between people who develop unbeknownst to IT – we call that shadow IT – and citizen developers who work in partnership with IT.”[5]

IT departments will need to evolve to support the rise of citizen development in a way to minimize risk to the organization.  IT provide citizen developers with approved or sanctioned SaaS or PaaS platforms, set security policies, define best practices and take on the role of guardian and mentor to citizen developers.[6]

References
1: www.gartner.com – Citizen Developer definition
2: 4 Reasons Why Citizen Developers May Be the Next Big Thing in Application Development
3: The Advent of the Citizen Developer (graphic)
4: ‘Citizen developers’ are ready to fill the gaps in enterprise applications
5: Can citizen developers bring shadow IT into the light?
6: Citizen Developers will ruin software discuss