Step 1 – Investigate the Need

At the heart of it all, I’m a problem solver. When a question comes up – “How can we track X?” “Can Salesforce do Y?” – my mind immediately starts thinking through options, and not just in my professional life. Fortunately I get to work on a platform that facilitates that, with an awesome community that supports me as I explore solutions. That’s the reactive part of the job.

What makes it more fun, though, is the proactive side. Learning about a manual daily process someone goes through (so.many.spreadsheets), or even noticing something in your data – a trend no one has asked to track (yet) – and presenting an option through the tool that can make things easier, faster; presenting metrics no one had even though about – that’s the best part!

Whether you’ve identified a reactive or proactive challenge to take on, however, the process starts the same way – investigate the need. Who is asking, and who do they want the solution for? Could it have a broader impact beyond the requester? Why are they asking? What will the data be used for, and what are they doing now?  Have they tried something else (in Salesforce or not) that isn’t working? What’s the end goal? What do you really need?

Just this week, I got emails from 3 different people asking for pretty much the same thing. Turns out it all centered around the same need, based on a few conversations between those 3 people, and yet they had all reached out to me separately and phrased their request based on just the piece of the puzzle that impacts them. Now I know, and I can build 1 solution that meets all their needs without reinventing the wheel (and with just a bit of practice using dashboard filters).

That investigative mentality is what helps you move on to Step 2 – Researching Options. Asking questions serves as an essential step to not only help you prioritize your time, but (hopefully) allowing you to deliver the right solution the first time.

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