Lessons From Legends of Low Code

I recently participated in a multi-day competition as part of Salesforce’s inaugural Legends of Low Code. The Legends of Low Code was a contest where three strangers were teamed up and given a challenge to build a solution in Salesforce using only declarative tools.

So IS it possible for a newly formed team to quickly deliver results? Well you’ll have to watch the show when it airs in April on Salesforce+ to find out; but here are some observations I had on teamwork from competing in this event.

Communication is key. This means that you have to listen to your teammates. Obviously there will be times when each team member is working on their assigned tasks so plan to have regular touch bases. These touch bases are your opportunity to share and discuss ideas, issues and progress towards goals. If possible, use shared tools for collaboration such as Slack, Teams, Google Docs or Quip instead of everyone having their own notes or working off different versions of the same document.

Respect each other. Sure you are under a lot of pressure but that is no excuse for forgetting your please and thank yous. Show support and encourage your teammates. Studies actually show that respect at work increases productivity, A big part of respect is trusting your teammates–remember they are professionals too.

Lastly, as with any sports team, a true team means everyone is pitching in and contributing. So quickly discover everyone’s strengths and interests to determine how everyone can best use their time. While doing so find ways to get to know your teammates and try to build a bond. Remember you are a team– and succeed or fail as a team–so provide support if someone gets stuck.

Hopefully some of these tips will come in handy for you at work. After all, most people frequently need to collaborate with new people in other departments on projects. Salesforce is a powerful tool but if the team developing it is struggling then it won’t be as successful as it could be.


Get with the Flow Action

I have been an advocate of Object-Specific Quick Actions for years. In fact, I have given dozens of formal presentations on Quick Actions to hundreds of people at several Dreamforce conferences, World Tours and community events. There’s a reason I love them, with Object Specific Quick Actions an admin can use config-only to let users create or update records and send email with just two clicks without leaving the page they’re on. They are extremely easy to set up and the time-savings for users can be massive.

As much as I love the power and simplicity of the Object Specific Actions I am now all in on championing Flow Actions. I still love Object-Specific Actions but I am obsessed with Flow Actions. Why? Because Actions with flows can truly take your user experience to the next level.

Here is an example of a Create Case Object-Specific Action. It is clean and simple asking me for a few fields and even has the Status prepopulated. Nice!

And here is an example of a Create Case Flow Action. What a difference! As the end user I am walked through the process of creating a case when I click the “Next” button at the bottom instead of seeing all the fields at once. I can even see my call script, customized for my contact Ashley by name. The email address even has a sample format so I know what it is expecting. Very nice!

By creating a basic Screen Flow you can use many simple to implement flow features that will make it beneficial to switch from Object-Specific Actions to Flow Actions. Here are three of my favorite tools:

  1. Display Text: Add this component to your screen flow to provide directions and guidance on-screen to users with simple WYSIWYG rich-text editor.
  2. Placeholder Text: Instruct users what to put in individual fields without the risk that users will leave it unchanged the way they might with Predefined Values. It’s especially great for explaining acceptable field formats.
  3. Component Visibility: Steam-line the user experience by conditionally hiding and displaying fields. No more taking up valuable real-estate for fields that are not always needed or creating a different action for each record type.

Let me show you how easy it is to do these items inside of a Flow. Here is an example of how to add Display Text to a screen flow. Note how you can specify the font, color, size and even add bullets, numbers and lists:

Adding Display Text to a Screen Flow

To add Placeholder text simply type in the text you want to display in the “Placeholder Text” settings.

In this example of Component Visibility on a screen flow I am only displaying the email field on the screen if the Contact’s email is blank on their user record. You can even make it visible based on values entered by the user on an earlier screen.

Setting component visibility from the Flow Screen Builder

Just like object-specific actions you can easily use Flow to make fields read-only, required and prepopulate them with data.

And that’s just scratching the surface! Flows can do hundreds of things that Object-Based Quick Actions cannot do. So next time you are thinking of creating a quick action take some time and build it in Flow. Your users will flip for flow.

Flow is a powerful tool and it can be overwhelming at first so to get started I recommend you check out this trailhead to get started.

Winter 21 Features for Admin Superpowers

Winter releases from Salesforce are always the ones I anticipate the most and with Covid-19 we all need something to look forward to more than ever. Winter releases are typically chock-full of cool new functionality and features and this one is no exception. It’s impossible to cover them all so here are a few of my favorite new Lightning features that will give you Admin Superpowers and will save every Salesforce Admin time and stress.

Dynamic Actions to Hide or Show Buttons

Now you can control the visibility of buttons on page layouts. This new functionality allows button-click admins to use both record and user filters to determine if a page should show or hide buttons on a page. How life-changing is that?!

Just think of the use cases; You can show the Approval button on Opportunity if the Amount is over a certain amount. Or show a Reopen button only on a closed Case. You can even display buttons based on a permission assigned to the user looking at the record. So if you want to allow only specific users to see a button you can now do it.

In the works as well is a beta mobile version you can try out on custom objects. This would allow you to make mobile only buttons and hide buttons that are better suited for desktops.

Before you either had to tell users to ignore the buttons that did not apply, resort to making new page layouts just to show different buttons, or really complicate things by creating visualforce pages.

This new features is GA for Custom objects and Beta for Standard Objects. Check out all the details on Dynamic Actions here.

In-App Guidance On Edit and New Screens

I have spoken at Dreamforce several times about custom In-App Guidance so I have been watching it mature and grow over the years. Like a proud mother I am so excited about what it is capable of now compared to when it first came out.

In-App Guidance let’s button-click admins (and delegated trainers) add on-screen tips and directions for end-users. As an admin you decide what pop-up tips you want to appear based on the page and the user. It’s like being able to time-travel and sit next to your users and guide them through new features.

With Winter 21 I love that you can now add prompts on the New, Edit and Clone pages. This will allow you to create pop-up tips for the users as they are editing records. This can dramatically help improve onboarding and reduce user errors and confusion.

Also new this release is the ability to share a link to a specific prompt to allow for easier testing and training. There are a few other enhancements to In-App Guidance as well in Winter 21. If you have not tried In-App Guidance yet now is the time. You owe it to your users.



Optimizer App and Page Performance Analyzer

I’ve been preaching the importance of running the Salesforce Optimizer report for years but truth-be-told I always struggled to remember to run it at the same time monthly. Now with Winter 21 you can actually schedule your Optimizer to run monthly.

What’s the Optimizer app you say? Well, it is an Admin’s secret weapon to stay within limits and maintain best practices. Just go to Setup and run the “Optimzer” then find your results in your App Selector and you will see an analysis of your org, areas for improvement and how-to resources. For example you can see unused reports and just click the link to check the report out to decide whether to keep it.  You’ll see all kinds of metrics and new ones are being added with each release–including 7 new ones in Winter 21.

You can learn more about the Optimizer app in Trailhead

Also new in Winter ’21 is the ability to analyze your Lightning page performance. To view the assessment of your page’s performance, click Analyze from the Lightning App Builder toolbar. You’ll be presented with suggestions to improve your page performance.

With the Optimizer and Analyzer it will be like having Admin X-Ray vision into your Org.

Get Ready for Winter 21

These are just a few of the new Lightning features you can find in Winter 21 that will give you Admin Superpowers. Be sure to check out these and all the other items in the Winter 21 release notes so that you are prepared when the release hits Sandbox about September 11 and Production instances on October 9th and 16th.

The Summer 19 Forecast Looks Hot

Winter has been especially cold, harsh and long in the Central US where I live. The meteorologists can’t seem to provide forecasts that I like so I decided instead to focus on the Summer forecast of Salesforce new features.


I took at look at the Salesforce Lightning roadmap that Salesforce provides and reduced the pages and pages of features down to just the features planned for Summer 2019.


While there are several Reports and Knowledge enhancements on the Summer 19 Roadmap. I think the hottest Summer 19 feature will be the Related List Preview showing up to 10 columns and the ability to Filter Related Lists. Just think how useful and efficient that will be to end users to see key information at a glance AND interact with it without having to drill-down to another page.


One of my favorite features of Summer 19 will definitely help automate and save your end-user time and mistakes, but sadly will probably be underutilized. I am referring to Macros with Conditional Steps. If you have not already I strongly encourage you to build Macros for your Salesforce end users. With macros, repetitive tasks–such as sending an email and updating a case status–can be reduced from multiple clicks to one. Macros work great today already and the addition of conditional steps will make it an even more powerful tool.


I can’t wait for these and the other hot new Summer 19 features to be released to Sandboxes about mid-May and in Production around mid-June. Hopefully summer will be here before we know it.


Here are all 18 features listed on the Lightning Roadmap as of March 2019: 

  • Dashboards: Scheduled refresh (without email)
  • Reports: Historical trending in tabular format (create, edit)
  • Reports: Joined reports
  • Reports: Notifications
  • Branding and Theming: Per Lightning app
  • Related Lists: Show up to 10 columns on preview
  • Related Lists: User filters on related lists
  • Console Chrome extension
  • Utility Bar: Right-align buttons
  • Accounts: Account Partners related list
  • Opportunities: Opportunity partners
  • Lightning Knowledge: Detach related files
  • Lightning Knowledge: Inline edit
  • Lightning Knowledge: Knowledge Component Action — Insert URL to Case Publisher
  • Lightning Knowledge: Knowledge Component available for all objects (search only)
  • Lightning Knowledge: Mass actions (delete, submit for translation)
  • Macros: Conditional steps
  • Social Customer Service: Mass approvals and recall

I’m Back From Dreamforce. Now What?

Whew! Once again Dreamforce proved to be an amazing four days of learning, networking, and peering into the future of Salesforce.

I don’t know about you, but I only now feel like I’ve got caught up on the work I missed and readjusted to my time zone to finally have time to digest all that I learned at DF14. Here’s my plan of attack post-Dreamforce:

1. Expo Hall Vendors

According to Fitbit, I chocked up 36.89 miles of walking the week of Dreamforce–most of that on the floor of the expo hall. Now I’m getting tons of calls and emails from all the booths I stopped by (which was just a fraction of the total booths). I grabbed a flyer for those vendors I felt had the most compelling solution for my needs. I keep these near my desk so that when a vendor calls I can dig for their flyer to remind myself about them. If they don’t have a flyer–well then good luck Mr. Telesales because I’m expecting you to sell me.

I also went through my flyers post-Dreamforce to see which ones I want to learn more about. I try to notate on them while at the booth my initial thoughts so I can recall them later and determine which ones I want to see a demo of.


2. Dreamforce Breakout Sessions

After Dreamforce I like to re-read the notes I took for the sessions I attended. I also check out the Dreamforce section of Success.Salesforce.com to download the presentation.

Due to schedules, it wasn’t possible to attend all the sessions I wanted to. Fortunately, I “Favorited” them so now I can go back to the ones I favorited and download those presentations, read the Chatter comments and, in most cases, catch a recording of them.


3. Dreamforce Announcements

Obviously lots of new products and features,  like The Analytics Cloud, Journey Builder for Apps, Process Builder, and Lightning, were announced at Dreamforce product keynotes. Now that I’m back home I take the time to learn more about these products to see if they are a good fit for me.


4. Dreamforce at User Group Meetings

Despite my best efforts, I almost always tend to miss something really noteworthy or helpful that was shared at Dreamforce. That’s why I love connecting with other users at my local User Group meeting to see what they saw and learned. Be sure to find your local Salesforce User Group today and don’t miss their post-Dreamforce meet-up.


Lastly, I type up all my notes from the vendors, sessions and keynotes into one central document that I can reference in the future and distribute to my co-workers.