Speaking, Training or Presenting? Don’t forget the most important thing…

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I love getting out and working with clients, giving workshops and otherwise directly interacting with our customers and our product. Today was one of those great days where there are no monotonous meetings. Just an all day series of training sessions and workshops with various groups using ExAM to support inspections, operations and services for DC General Services. The Department of General Services (DGS) has a mission to elevate the quality of life for the District with superior construction, first-rate maintenance and expert real estate management, our job with ExAM is working to help them achieve this mission.

I spent the early part of this week working with our team to get in all of the last bits of configuration in order to support our pilot effort. We tweaked profiles, finished documentation and made last minute changes to meet user requirements. This included making a last round of cosmetic changes. I decided to personally make some changes to simplify the user interface after I had already finished my dry run. After completing everything I polished my slides and went to bed early.

The training and workshop went great, however I did have one small glitch. In my efforts to simplify the user interface I found I had removed the tab that provides inspectors and field services staff with access to their list of assignments. After sending everyone a log-on and issuing a training assignment. I had watched as everyone received the e-mail and went through performing their task. One after another hands went up and chatter broke out. Nobody could find their assignments.

As I walked around the room I realized – I’d slimmed one of the most important parts of our application right off the interface. Fortunately, I was saved by the power of the Salesforce platform and I assigned people the correct tab and we were able to go forth without much impact but despite all my preparations I’d broken one of my cardinal rules. Don’t make changes after you have done your dry run.

The net result was a live opportunity to demonstrate how easy it is to make changes in Salesforce, but it could have been bad. By making changes after the dry run I opened myself up to simple, dumb user error. I try to always start over – no matter how boring it is, or how trivial the change. If I make any change. I restart. Dry runs help you catch errors both big and small. Always do a dry run and always do it after you’ve made the very last change. To do otherwise invites problems or as I like to think of them: Opportunities to show your ability to think on your feet.

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