Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why Adding a Field Isn’t Always that Simple & The 5 W’s of Salesforce Administration

I know what you’re thinking. You’re reading the title saying to yourself “C’mon Cheryl, yes it is, in just a few clicks I can add a field. What are you talking about?” In theory, yes, you are correct. However, I wanted to share an example from a recent User Group Meeting that may not be so simple. One of our new members--who is also a new admin--was asking for help adding a field. The admin’s sales team requested a field called Billing Frequency on the Opportunity with 4 Choices: Annually, Quarterly, Monthly and Ad Hoc.

After discussing the request with her it became apparent the technology wasn’t the problem, it was the requirement itself. She showed me their org. They had three opportunity record types with three page layouts and nine profiles. She wasn’t sure which opportunity record type this field should be on, where it should go on the page layout, or who should have access. We looked at the record types and page layouts and we could make an assumption, but we all know what happens when you assume…

I explained that she needed to refine the requirement for the field with the sales team. I helped her draft an email asking everything she needed to know to a new field. She sent the email while still at the user group meeting and approached me after one of the presentations as the sales manager had already responded. It turned out the field should only be on two of the three record types, it should always be required for one of the opportunity record types when it’s closed won, and should only be required for a certain opportunity type when it’s closed won. There was also a requirement that only sales and sales management should be able to change this field, and all other users would have read only access to the field.

The sales manager also asked if he could get an email anytime an opportunity was closed with a Billing Frequency of Ad Hoc. He also asked if there was a way she could load the data in for any closed opportunities from 2015 for one of the record types.

After reading through her email with her the simple additional field requirement became:

· Add a field to two record types and page layouts

· Set up field level security for the field

· Create a validation rule to require the field in the certain circumstances

· Create a workflow rule and email template to fire when an opportunity was closed where this field was filled in with a certain value.

· Extract opportunities with criteria mentioned in above validation rule with ID’s so sales could update spreadsheet

· Load data into the Billing Frequency Field

From the above you can see why adding a field can be more than a simple request, especially if you are adding a field to an object with multiple record types, page layouts, with multiple profiles. This is why I always use the 5 W’s of Salesforce Administration when reviewing enhancement requests from users:

· Who - Who wants the request, who should be able to use or view the new configuration.

· What - What will they do with the data collected in the configuration? What is the long-term goal?

· Where - Where should this configuration be available?

· When - When should this configuration be available, when should it be required?

· Why - Why do they want this new feature, what is their end goal and how will they use it and how will it benefit our business?

When the admin I mentioned above started asking her business users the 5 W’s of Salesforce Configuration, she was able to assist them faster and more efficiently. She was able to determine what was needed upfront by asking the right questions.

What questions do you ask your business users when they submit a request to make a change in Salesforce? I would love to hear from you!

As always, thank you for reading!



  1. Nice! (Although sometimes asking the Why question first can save the effort of the other 4. Sounds like the Sales Mgr had done some thinking before making this request, at least.)

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  3. Great post Cherly your timing seems perfect with our Admin Commandment #1 post!! The 5 W's sounds lean inspired to me!

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