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Serious Insights: What's An Adminitect?

Are you a Salesforce Administrator, are you a Developer, are you an Architect, or all three? Maybe you're an Adminitect?

This blog post contains show notes and details from Episode 1 - Serious Insights for Admins.

Untitled presentation

Bonus Interview With Salesforce MVP and Adminitect, Kristi Campbell

Being a Salesforce Admin is harder than ever. You operate in a constantly changing environment within your organization — to say nothing of all the craziness happening outside of it — and you can be pushed in a bunch of different directions. Should you become a Developer if you’re an administrator? What if you don’t want to be a Developer but still want to advance your career, for yourself, and your capabilities, for the organization.

Kristi Campbell, host of “Serious Insights for Salesforce Admins” and a Salesforce MVP herself has a possible solution, and that’s creating a better definition of what she does and her role within an organization as an “Adminitect”. A term and role we explore further in the interview below.

(Note: The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

What Is An Adminitect?

Cirrus Insight: Let's start with the basics: What is an Adminitect?

Kristi Campbell, Senior Salesforce MVP and host of “Serious Insights for Salesforce Admins”: I mean, I made it [the term] up. I should probably Google it and see if anyone else made it up. (Laughs)”

Cirrus Insight : (Laughs) Where did the title come from? What got you to start using it in the first place?

Kristi: So the idea of an Admineloper has been a thing that I didn't make up and I think there's some perception that admins evolve to become Developers. And… I don’t want to be a Developer. It’s not a direction I want to go in with my training or career.

Cirrus Insight: Do you feel pressure to become a Developer? Where does that pressure come from?

Kristi: I don't know if it's pressure so much as I think it's an advancement path [to go from Admin to Developer] and there's a certain perception. The idea of being an entry-level admin, or that you wouldn't wanna “just be an admin” forever, may have an unwarranted negative connotation, which I don't think is necessarily true. There is a threshold that you meet at some point technically with out-of-the-box admin tools.

Cirrus Insight: Do you think the line is blurring a bit, and people are sort of downplaying being “just an admin” because it’s not where they see things going?

Kristi: There’s ambiguity there for sure. You've also got the phrase Declarative Developer… which is a point and click Developer essentially, which again muddies the waters. Really they've applied UI on top of the code writing part for admin use.

I think that it's certainly helpful to learn code concepts and they inform you about automation, especially things like bulkification, recursion, loops. And so I definitely think that learning how code works and learning some apex and understanding the concepts can be helpful to me when you start getting into the question of “should we use code or not to solve this problem?” And “does it make sense to do this or connect to an external system?”

So, as this has evolved, sub-architect-like flavors and solution architect concepts have, to me anyway, opened up more and resonate more with what I call the Adminitech than they do either of the traditional binaries of Admin or Developer.

Cirrus Insight: How does this blurring of the lines impact people who want to become admins?

Kristi: I think there is a path for myself and for others. In fact, Emilie Jensen who I just interviewed for episode 2 of the Serious Insights series, and Melinda actually started as accidental admins which is a concept many admins find themselves in. So now there are a lot more people who are deciding to become admins.

People are coming into the Salesforce ecosystem now for many reasons, not just because they have to, but also because they want to. They are bringing with them this whole suite of experiences. So you may have someone becoming an Admin who is very technically minded and someone wanting to become a Developer who isn’t at first.

For example, I have a hospitality management degree. I don’t have an MBA or a graduate degree in management or Organizational Behavior. And if I think back to what Melinda Smith referenced in the first Serious Insights episode, Salesforce has appropriated certain terms that had connotations or meanings from those other worlds that others weren’t familiar with. And so I think some of these things I felt like they were not me.

Cirrus Insight: So you would say there's a gap? There's a gap between what Salesforce is saying a role is with these new terms and what those roles may actually be. And the Adminitect is the title you see going to the person who fills these gaps in for an organization?

Kristi: I think part of it is I am just not fully embracing that I'm an architect. So I'm coming from the admin side to get to Architect versus coming from a traditional architecture path. So the Adminitect title is a way to define that journey a bit better while honoring the source and the target.

What Kind of Experience Do You Need to Become an Adminitect?

Cirrus Insight: Do you think people who want to become an Adminitech need an MBA or Master’s degree?

Kristi: I think the MBA programs and similar advanced programs certainly help with that executive-level relationship building and interpersonal skills when you are negotiating for projects and budget. But no. I don’t think you need to have one to become an Adminitect. And that’s what’s great about it because anyone could become an Adminitect on their way from going from Admin to Developer or Admin to Architect.

Cirrus Insight: How would you describe someone who is an Adminitect?

Kristi: It’s more of a mindset than anything else. You have this continued drive for improving the processes and platforms you’re using to get a job done. You have to be able to question how things are done within the organization and not settling for this is how we've always done it. An Adminitect is trying to make sense of every tool they have and really stretch them to their limits for the organization. And when you can’t, knowing where to go to get the help you need will go a long way.

For example, I think understanding that maybe Salesforce isn't always the best answer and acknowledge that as well, is part of being an Adminitect. Sometimes, you need to break out an external tool. For example, we use Cloudingo to clean up our data, it goes beyond the capabilities of Salesforce’s dupe matching and allows you to get really granular. So it’s about knowing when to use Salesforce and when not to use it. Salesforce may be the starting point, but as you get deeper into something you might need to go beyond it, and that’s ok.

Another thing that I think is important as an Adminitect is knowing the space you work in and how everything in that space fits together. So for example, vs if you’re “just” a Developer or “just” an Admin, as an Adminitect you’re working to see things in either of those roles and design the tool to fill gaps. Put another way, if you’re a Developer, you may think code is the answer to everything, and as an Adminitect, the blurring of those two roles may allow you to see a different solution to the same problem.

One problem you want to avoid in any organization is approaching every problem as if it’s a nail because you only have a hammer in your toolbox.

Cirrus Insight: If you're an Adminitect, or see yourself as one currently in your organization, what is one or two things they need to know?

Kristi: Mostly that it’s ok to admit you don’t know something and need to go research. Some people dive deep and become a subject matter expert in an area, but I definitely think that there's such a breadth of things as Salesforce has expanded, developed their own stuff, and acquired new companies. And so I think being an expert on everything is kind of impossible. The mindset of an Adminitect should be to always be learning and taking on new things, getting exposure to ideas, meeting people who have different expertise that you can learn from, but you can’t know everything.

I think the architect is the designer, you know, the wizard of Oz, right? But if I’m the only one in the organization, then I need to be able to step into various roles and take on a project, and what you find when you’re wearing all these different hats is that you start to question certain things, right?

For example: You want x, as the Admin I could just do it, right? But you start to question - like what's gonna populate it? How do you want to report on it? Who's gonna keep it updated? Does this information live somewhere else? Starting to think about those things I think is what starts to elevate you to then I'm thinking that way about everything as an Adminitect.


Cirrus Insight: How would you say Cirrus Insight fits into that?

Kristi: So, I think that concept of getting your emails and calendar invites into Salesforce is pretty straightforward, there are different tools that can do that and they all have different trade-offs.

At its core, it's a simple thing to say, can we sync emails automatically to Salesforce? Yes, but getting back to asking questions, what caveats are there to that? I think it's important to understand, do we need these tasks in our Salesforce versus storing them in an external AWS server? Do we need them for a short or long period of time? Just want to sync some things vs everything? It’s important to ask those questions.

Cirrus Insight: Is there anything else you want our readers to know about being an Adminitect?

Kristi: I want to stress that with so many ways into the Salesforce’s ecosystem Admintects may find themselves in this new role or with this new definition unintentionally. And that’s ok. You’re building your own path as you get deep into certain aspects and then you build on top of that experience as you move on to the next thing. And in time, you have your own “experience triangle” that may look a lot different than what you found on Trailhead.

I do think you can intentionally grow into becoming an Adminitect, as an advancement path for an Admin. It’s not a starting point for someone new, persay, but as your org grows and you face trial and error with your solutions, you can look to learn about things like design principles to be more intentional about what you’re doing. I think you can seek out Architect content and resources, including the official Salesforce certifications, and grow in this direction.

Personally, I set myself a goal to take the Platform Developer exam by August, which obviously didn’t happen. (laughs) And I was a little concerned because the term Developer, as we discussed, means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. And I was discouraged thinking I didn’t have the skills to pass the exam.

But when I was looking into taking this exam, people were like, no, you could totally do this. Don't let the word Developer deter you. It doesn’t mean what you think it means in the larger context of Salesforce.

And I think that's part of why we’re talking about Adminitects in the first place. The titles and roles and responsibilities are nebulous and confusing to some. I think “Adminitect” helps to clarify things.

Can’t Listen To Today’s Show? Check Out The Full Transcript Below

(The following transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and ease of reading)

Kristi: Hello, and welcome to our new series, “Serious insights for Salesforce admins”. Serious. Cirrus. You’re gonna learn that we love the puns...

My name is Kristi Campbell and I am the senior admin / adminitect. We'll talk about that [term] at Cirrus insight later [in this episode]. And I'm very excited to start hosting the show and of course, who else would I want to start the show with than my partner and crime, Melinda Smith.

Hello? Hi, Melinda. I didn't even prep since I know you so well. Melinda is a lovely and talented seasoned admin in the Salesforce space. We used to host a podcast and I would love to hear more about how you got into becoming an admin once upon a time.

Melinda: I am your accidental admin story as well. I worked for a coffee and smoothie company and moved into full commission sales. And it was freaking stressful because it wasn't like I was selling $2,000 things. It was like 60,000 dollar things. So, when I was burnt out on that I reached out to my version of a community, which was texting and Facebook then, and someone suggested this company that was a candy snack distribution company. So I went over there, and it was like starting over again, as you do. It was answering phones and doing customer service. And then I, you know, I start doing some other things for the other teams that got noticed. And right before I went on maternity leave, someone had said, “Hey, some of us are using the system called Salesforce. Would you like to help me admin it?” And I was like yes like, you know if anyone has heard this story a million times, I just didn't want to answer the phones anymore. Like at all.

So I just jumped at it. When I got back from maternity leave, I still remember my first thought, logging in the classic [Salesforce] and I was like, “Oh. This is kinda busy. It’s like Busy LinkedIn… and yeah, and then because I am who I am, my boss at the time was … I think younger than me or about my age, and I was like, I'm going to get more CERTs than you. And then, I mean, in that sense. I went to my first user group meeting. It was hosted by Congo and it was like, I didn't understand what's happening? Who's Congo? Who's paying for this? Is Salesforce here. What's happening? And I had asked, I was like, what do I do? How do I study? Because this is like workbooks which, I love Trailhead, but I love the workbooks. And then I just kept learning more out of… Not spite. Out of… out of a challenge. Spite seems like a terrible way to say it.

Kristi: Well, I think it's interesting because I also started in 2007 as a support rep, and then kinda was like “this page layout is stupid and this process is dumb” and they were like “now you're an admin!” right? (Both laugh)

So… for our first topic, I kinda want to get into that evolution. Because I think ‘back in our day’, pre-Trailhead, when you were having to, there were no characters to have on your shirt, you know? There was a lot more...

Melinda: A printed workbook.

Kristi: There was also a book, right? Yeah, there were a lot more in-person classes with handouts and, you know, bringing home those laminated sheets from Dreamforce with like the tips and tricks on it. I feel like that Accidental Admin concept was stronger than and I… I think now not only do we have more things that Salesforce can do and more breadth, but also we have people who are choosing Salesforce and intentionally moving into these kinds of roles.

Melinda: I mean, when Trailhead started, it had what, two trails? Admin and Developer? No. Well, yeah, I feel like there were three in the very beginning and can see the two tiles in my head. So, yeah, there was like a lot less of, titles if you will, or paths and you're right. And then people are like, we, I like that I'm going to intentionally do that. And the accidental admin... I think it's still a thing, but I think… it's… it's interesting how everyone… A lot more people seem to be an intentional admin [now].

Kristi: Or that, like “I heard about Salesforce from this person and what is it?” And I've decided I wanna change my life for X reason, right? Like I changed my job. I still want to work remotely, whatever the reason, and they end up with Salesforce intentionally, which is interesting.

I’m curious to hear, so you started as an admin, right? Accidental, and then kind of how I think there's a perception of what that means, right? The lane that the admin lives in.

I feel like, over the years, it's really broadened… and gotten a little fuzzy or right? Especially as we got into this idea of the “Declarative Developer”. Or that you're an admineloper, right? And you're kind of doing developer-type things. How did that evolution happen for you? And how did it lead you to consultancy?

Melinda: Yeah. I, you know, in the beginning, it was, I mean literally, it was trying to get buy-in. Half the company was like “Why do we need that?” The real IT department was like, NO! [And I was] like everyone calm down. This is good.

So that was more like you said, page layouts, half the team was using it. Then I moved to California and went to a user group meeting there now, and I was like, “That guy is super smart. I think he should be my mentor.” And, of course, I didn't think anything of it. So I went through a hiring service. And then I interviewed with him! So I was like “what the what!?” So that’s Guillermo. Shout out to Guillermo.

And then in that role that, everything was more adopted. Everything was on Salesforce. So that role was more like learning project management. “This team wants this, go find out what they need, what they're trying to solve for, ask a ton of questions, and then do it.” So that definitely evolved even if we were still like, admins or senior admins. There's much more to it. It wasn't just page layouts and fields and setting it up. It was gathering requirements and testing it and making sure you met all the needs of the team, in addition to, you know, whatever day-to-day work to keep the system running.

I’m trying to think of how I ended up moving to consultancy... I was, we wanted to move back to Colorado. So it was kind of, you know, looking around that idea. And I felt like, well, heck if I can manage four or five teams at a big company, what's the difference between that four or five clients? So it didn't seem that out of the ordinary? And I guess I would say that to any admin out there that's like “I’m an admin and maybe don't consider yourself a project manager,” I promise you are. Like 100% you are. Whatever you're doing, you're managing even if it's like a handful of tasks, that’s project management.

So yeah, I just made the change. And honestly, it was at the time… this, the thing that came across my world, was more money. But this was at the time too though that… that like travel was built in. So, working from home, that wasn't even a thing really [at that time]. So I committed to traveling a lot, going on-site, gathering requirements. I know a lot of companies aren't doing that. I like [doing] that. Like I… I like traveling. So that was never a problem. I mean.

Krist: There’s something about being in the room, writing on the walls, you know, even then to your point that's business analysis, right? That’s requirement gathering and getting into business process design. And those are like, MBA kinds of skills. Not necessarily admin kind of skills that I think have started to widen that admin purview. I have decided, in my current role, that I'm… I'm calling it adminitect, right? Because I still identify as an admin. I feel like.

Melinda: Hashtag adminitect.

Kristi: Right? (Laughs)

I think admin is still like, my ‘heart place’ to come from. But. As of my last role, we still had a development partner, right? But it was external. So it was interesting because we could certainly collaborate with them. But then it was my role to present options that may or may not require code to then make decisions internally and then have them execute those projects. If the code piece made sense. And so again, getting into architect system-type decisions, but feeling... I don't know if it's imposter syndrome, or it's just coming from that accidental admin, non-traditional background to think that like I'm an architect, right? It feels kind of weird.

Melinda: I feel like Salesforce has gotten to hijacking or stealing a bunch of titles and then kinda like rearranging [them]. Because if an admin, or administrator back in the day, was you know, administrator, maybe like a support or a front desk person that like supported, you know, the CEO'S and, we reappropriated that business. And now Business Analyst like, ‘yes, can you help me with this? I'm your Business Solution Architect.” The first time I saw the Solution Architect title, I was overwhelmed. Because I'm like “What am I gonna Architect? I mean, you do it's using your brain to figure it out. And like you said, the great thing about being an admin / admineloper / adminitect is that you don't have to write the code. The architect clubs said that too. You just need to know when it's necessary. And what would make the most sense here? Can you do it in a declarative way? If you're in a consultant role or trying to think about how the admin has to deal with it? You know, do I custom code everything? I'd be like, figure it out, bye! The contract is over!

I think that there's no [one] real path. Like no one says, you should come in as an admin, you should come in as a BA. I feel fortunate that I was an admin first because I can, I know what it's like to use it. I know what it's like to manage it, to be frustrated, to not have help. So, I like that I have that path. They think it gave me a better view and I think to be a better consultant, but that doesn't mean you can't be an awesome consultant and ask the right questions without knowing.

Kristi: Right. I think to me there was/is a perception that like admins grow to become developers. And I don't know that. I feel like, I think there are certain things to learn from the development approach. And, you know, I definitely have great relationships with the developers and have learned and… and I think there's again overlap from that perspective as well. But for me, the idea of “solutioning” and the skill set to meet like the excitement when someone’s like “I wanna do this thing”, and you’re like, “how often are you going to do it? Where does any of the data go? What does that?” Like all the things, and that to me is the core of the ad... maybe more than an admin, right? But not necessary. I don't know it's just too weird a definition, right? Like you could have an admin who to your point is doing data entry, doing user creation. “A doer”, right? Maybe that to me is a little bit of a difference like the… thinker or imaginer versus the do’er...

Melinda: Or you’re all of it.

Kristi: Right. Yeah.

Melinda The code, I think if you want to go that path, you can pick it. I think it’s for some and for some, not. I tried a couple of times and I… I think if I maybe really put my nose to the grindstone, but it was a bit of a stretch. So I wasn't loving it when I took the class and tried to learn. Though now we're doing more Flow and what, you know, what hung me up is the variable notion, so I just say to create a thing out of nowhere and it just knows what you're saying. WHAT? Hello?

Kristi: Flow itself is an interesting example of this as well because… because it's a point and click. It's an “admin” tool. But really it's like writing a trigger, right? Like.

Melinda: Yeah, it's not easy!

Kristi: It's not an intro admin thing to do. So, it's been interesting to hear people when they talk about the idea of sunsetting workflow rules and process builder. And people are, I think justifiably are like, “but essentially, your workflow rules are doing powerful things too.” But maybe Salesforce, you just made it seems so easy that we didn't realize it.

Melinda: I mean, it's getting so much easier and...

Kristi: That’s true.

Melinda: Again, it's but it's I think it's like a lot of things. I just have to keep using it. I’ve been doing this for eight-nine years and it's still one of those that … only this year have I been, I can. I don’t quite do everything myself. I still need usually just like a little scootch of help. but I'm getting there. So I think, that you know, any admin that's like,” I don't know Flow, I should know Flow”, we’re all [working toward that.]

Kristi: I'm curious about, you know, in the consulting role, I've been in a little bit of both. I did implementation more than consulting really for a product that got rebuilt on the force dot com platform. But I've mainly been at customer works and I think there's something I enjoy about, “I built this new thing. I see them use it, great”. Or of course, conversely, I built a thing, and literally two months later, we changed our process and now it's going away but I mean, I still learned how to do it and it was good. But what kind have variety do you see in different org even in terms of the setup of admin teams that you're handing off things to deliver to?

Melinda: The hardest transition from an admin to a consultant is realizing it's not your instance; Which is super hard, because I've had time to all create something and they have a great admin that will maybe go change the page layout for some reason. And I’ll be like, “how dare you.”

Kristi: “I put it there for a reason!”

Melinda:I don't do your day to day business, but I feel that should be here.” (Both laugh)

So that is hard or I would say and that was harder in the beginning. Now, I'm… I'm really grateful when there's a strong admin on the team. You know, we do a lot of mid-market type for-profits and nonprofits, and a lot of them either don't have an admin / accidental admin or aren’t strong. So you have to teach that.

So handing off these things… you know, lots of documentation, lots of training as much as possible… and helping them. Like a lot of times, they get those accelerators so they can take some extra classes through Salesforce. And I always have like a Trail Mix for them to start out on. So trying to push them in that direction. But to answer your question about what the hand-off is, it's kinda like handing off your baby. You hope that they take care of it. And, you know, when you get an error message, two months later because I was the last person that touched that, you know, flow there. I'm like I should contact them! (Laughs) or not, and leave them alone. Definitely don't like go and fix it. They're not even under contract. (both laugh)

So I, it's… it's… it's harder because you… you put pride into it and you want them to like it. So then you hope they do. So you gotta [be able to] let go.

Kristi: Do you feel like the difference from, you know, back again pre-Trailhead. Back when we got started... Do you feel like you try to maintain depth and breadth in terms of learning about the Salesforce things? Or do you feel like, for example, I feel like, in my last role, I had started to become a Communities person? Sorry... “Experience cloud person” right?

I intentionally didn't want to do that for my next role because I didn't want to become the Communities Cloud person, you know? So do you feel like consulting gives you that opportunity to kind of get that breadth?

Melinda: Yeah. I would say it's kind of the opposite. Like I have access to this hive brain with ridiculously brilliant people I work with. So it's kinda nice if you can be of use to me on something. Like, I'm spending a lotta time in Pardot, I'm spending a lot of time with form assembly these days. So I think that having the niche is kinda nice because you're going to get all kinds of projects anyways.

I'm… I'm always going to be working on NPS P, I'm always going to be doing some kinds of automation, some kinds of implementation, and data loading so that'll like never go away. But it's also nice to know if I hone a little skill that maybe I get more of those. And if there's someone on my team that I know is really brilliant with… with Flow and I think of someone right now, I know who I can ask right away. I mean, granted, we have a questions channel and things like that. But I would say that like in… in my consulting world, our team is trying to maybe hone a little skill. So maybe they get more of those and maybe you can now flip it up.

And now I'm more marketing cloud or now I'm more counting sub-ledger then, you know, you get them, because there's so much and really we get to play with like a ton. So the more skills we have, the more different, the more of the different kinds of projects that we can bring in as well. Let me bring in a bunch of different ones. But like… like we don't do CPQ or anything like that. I don't know if that's something we'll be doing. But if we learn more skills that we can do more fun projects. It's kinda fun because, as an admin, there, there is some limitation to what you can play with. Like if your team doesn't want it, they don't want to pay for it. You can't like go into community events and they would have the, is it the showroom floor? No, what's it called?

Kristi: The expo. With those shiny new cars in there. (Both laugh)

Melinda: As an admin, that was like, alright, cool. I could see things. But as a consultant, it's different. I'm like, “tell me what you have? What are your discounts? What can you do?” So that's fun because I get to touch and play with more things than maybe I would if I was an admin because clearly, you know, you'd need what you need and, you know, obviously you’re going to buy things you don't need.

Kristi: Right. I mean, for me, that was sort of helpful. At Dreamforce especially, right? Because it’s so huge. So sometimes I was like “I need this tool and this tool. And. I can't… I can't take every free thing. I can't talk to everybody on the floor. I need to get through.

How do you continue to get exposure to those different things? Is it mainly certifications. Is it Trailhead? I almost feel like I missed a generation with Trailhead. Like I'm a Ranger, but I'm not a quadruple Ranger or I haven't done the things, you know, because I… I feel like there were a lot of things I already knew or had done before Trailhead.

It, not that I don't learn new things but I don't know...

Melinda: I am more of an on-demand Trailhead user. I go and learn the things I need to learn. There was a time that I would, you know, sit on a Friday night and do a couple of trails and especially when the badges were lower and it did feel like you're kind of climbing up. Like I have like 155 and 100 at one point in time. like two years ago or more.

Kristi: Right. That would be the pinnacle, right?

Melinda: Yeah and now that there's so much. It definitely got to a point where it felt overwhelming. Like I can't keep up and it’s stressful. So I… I didn't continue that path. I did for a while when there were like two and three trails and I was on it. So now it's more on-demand and I share with my clients [as needed.] So a lot of times if they're really new, you know, you want to give them the tools again to admin the system later. So I provide a lot and then I'll use it on demand. And then like you said, to retain your question about learning new things. It’s certification.

I mean, it's not like we get pressure to, you know, we have to have so many and I've worked for firms before where that's the number matters, maybe more sort of skill set… and they're not like that. But that's definitely where I'm like I'm and I kinda feel like I want to learn something new. So like which search should I go for? Because that's helping. I do learn on-demand with certain clients but not if it's like that… that gets to where you're like “I want to learn something new.” You can't just like go into the sales team and be like, “What do we got? No, not that… not that I don't want that. Yeah. And that's what I want. I can, I don't know how to do that. It's gonna take longer. You're good, right, right. Yeah.”

Kristi: Right. Yeah. I think the idea is it's been interesting to see these, the new certifications that things that maybe I do but don't realize I do or… or think about like the UI / UX certification, right? Like… we see that in there's a difference between I made the object. I put the fields on the page. Like I did the things here, right? Versus really trying to understand the experience and make sure that it's easy for people to get what you need, give you what you want from them. And I'm doing those kinds of pieces of like I'm watching someone do something and you built this, as you said, you built this nice pretty way, but they found some other hackie way or something, right?

So I think that's another interesting way that the admin role to me has kind have widened in terms of, you know, really thinking about that end-user experience and trying to optimize for that. Well, of course, we're also trying to optimize our automation and manage our technical debt, and do all these other fun things.

Melinda: I think it's all extra learning like literally today, one of the people on our sales team had asked about the kind of, like a quote, on how to help a client through like releases. I was like, I've never done that. What am I helping them with? And I maybe like you said, maybe I do it and don't realize it, right? I don't know like it's the release is going to happen. And then recently… yeah. So yeah, maybe that's a good example of maybe I'd do it and don't realize it.

Kristi: Right. When you're watching release readiness and reading the blogs of the wonderful people that do read through all the release notes and try and highlight something. Bus also ...

Melinda: Yeah. But also I mean, I kind of rely on Jen Lee, I hope she keeps that up. (Both laugh)

Kristi: The other piece that you kind of mentioned is like, but as an admin, I might not use all those things, right? So a lot of those 500 pages might not apply to me.

Melinda: I felt user groups were always good for that. When I helped lead the Denver admin group. I loved giving a synopsis on… on the releases. It's actually when I've learned more about what was happening because I was delivering it, right? But yeah, I think blogs and user groups or like you said, each release is like more and more pages. I mean, I guess you could pull it up and control F all the things you need, but...

Kristi: Do a little skim, yeah? Or look at the abridged release notes from the Salesforce discord. So at least break it down a little, find these people that are breaking it down a little bit too. And then, yeah, cross your fingers. Test things in a sand box... I’m sure we all totally do that.

Melinda: Yup. (Both laugh)

Kristi: Well, thank you so much Melinda for being my… my Guinea pig guest.

Melinda: It’s good to be here with you again.

Kristi: The last piece I wanted to ask you which, maybe I should have told you in advance but we'll see how you do with just… just me asking…

Melinda: Lob it!

Kristi: In terms of what we were just talking about…Proactively keeping up to date with the things that are going on… Maybe taking an “Adminiute” to learn something new. We love the puns.

Can you tell me something that you've read, or watched, or listen to, our found recently that you want to share with other listeners that you found especially helpful? I can go first if you need a minute.

Melinda: Yes, go first. So I may think of one...

Kristi: So, I found a blog that's new to me, at least Salesforce-flowsome dot com and I wanna say she, yes, Melody is the author. She just launched a YouTube channel as well. And the reason I really like it for learning Flow is that, as we talked about, it’s the way the future and we need to get on the Flow train, [and the thing I like] is that it’s usecase-based. And so it feels like I can find a use case that's similar enough to what I'm trying to do. And she does a great job of talking you through the concept with a flow chart, that then has details of each of the steps of the flow. So sometimes I feel like someone's like, “Hey, I brought this flow and it's like 800 nodes” or, you know, it just like looks visually...

Melinda: “Add the variable then it's a decision and assignment…”

Kristi: “Yeah it’s just an assignment and a loop and a collection”...So it just breaks it down really well. So that's my, I literally can't remember how I found out recently, but I…

Melinda: “How to flow?”

Kristi: Right. Yeah. Somebody referred to it in some channel I'm in or maybe on Twitter. So thank you, Melody. And that's my Adminute read for this week.

Melinda: Two of the things that I'm loving lately are actually like external… tools to Salesforce. One is a really simple thing. Yes, I asked clients for their logo and their hexadecimal and I’m often in a hurry. So there's this thing called image color picker dot com, you can drop an official logo in and it gives you like the palette and the hexadecimal.

So I don't have to wait and you can cut and copy. So I like that.

And then like Form Assembly is just like constantly blowing my mind. My colleague and I were working through it yesterday… like these like double nested ifs. “When to create a record. When to look one up. When to not. If you created one here then go back and grab that ID and create it again.” Like I know it's a powerful tool and I really like it. It's my go-to form tool if I had the choice with the client and I just realized, you know, yesterday how extra cool they are and like super… super functional. So I am currently loving that tool right now. And the image because I don't want to wait.

Kristi: I like it. So if you wanted to take a look at a form vendor… that's your… that's your go-to, I love it. Well, thank you so much for sharing your serious insights with us and we will...

Melinda: Please have me back, I miss you!

Kristi: ...We will talk to you again soon. Thanks so much.

Key Takeaways From Episode 1 With Our Guest, Melinda Smith

  • Melinda, like Kristi, is also an “Accidental Admin” who did not set out to have a Salesforce-related career but grew into the role and learned to love it.
  • Adminitude: Melinda’s term for learning Salesforce because of the challenge involved with knowing it and the challenge of mastering it.
  • The Evolution of the Accidental Admin: Are there fewer now because of Salesforce’s expanded capabilities and educational tools like Trailhead? And what’s an Admineloper? Melinda takes you through her journey.
  • What is an Adminitec? Kristi takes you through her definition of this new role (and expands on it in the interview below!) Also discussed: Is the Salesforce ecosystem loaded with new titles that may be unnecessary?

Resources From Today’s Episode

  • -Get In Touch with Melinda: Melinda Smith is a former Salesforce MVP, board member of the WITness Sucess Conference, and the co-host of the Two Wit Podcast. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at

We’ll have more serious insights from the Serious Insights video series for you here soon on the blog. Until then, why don’t you get in touch and let us know what you think of the new series? Kristi can be reached at:

BJ Mendelson
BJ Mendelson

BJ is a Content Strategist with Cirrus Insight.

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