The illusion of multiple bugs

Every night I go running. I live in a pretty rural area so there are not a lot of streetlights, which allows me to see the starts and moon when the weather is clear. It is a beautiful scene. The stars shining, the moon reflecting off Utah lake, and the crisp cold air flowing into my lungs and throughout my veins. As I run I listen to audiobooks through my airpods. As my body gets stronger my mind gets sharper, and both get more resilient.

Barking cuts through the words of my audio book and I look around. So many of my neighbors have dogs - it comes with living in an area like this. Sometimes they are fenced, other times they are leashed, and still it is not uncommon that they are running freely at me. In my experience the best thing to do when a dog is barking and running at you is to square up to it and make sure it knows you are not intimidated. The only time I have been bitten by a dog was when I turned my back on it, so I make sure not to do that when I encounter them and I try to avoid being caught off guard by them.

On a run recently I saw a sudden movement that startled me. Assuming it was a dog I took out an airpod and looked around. Nothing was there. I kept running and it happened again. Still no dog. So I started paying closer attention to what was going on. I finally figured out what was happening in my peripheral vision. This section of the street had bright house lights on that were creating fleeting shadows of my own body that were duplicate and triplicate of my regular shadow. I thought I knew where my shadow was, and so these other shadows flashing in my peripheral were alarming.

As I thought about the experience, I though of how often this can happen in companies I have worked with. A bug or problem arises in the system and it causes critical failures in multiple areas. Quickly cases get created, calls and texts start occurring, and it can feel to a single admin like everything is in chaos, and that there are many problems when in fact there is just one. In addition, people might report an issue that has already been resolved but that they failed to report in a timely fashion. These types of situations can create many shadows that feel alarming, when really there is just a single person with many inputs that are creating the illusion.

The best way to quiet these voices and the sense of panic is through structured communication. Ensure users are all logging the issues in a uniform way so that you can gather the various inputs without getting overwhelmed. When users start calling or texting, you can use auto-responses to tell them you are working on a critical issue and their concern should be logged via a case or your standard process. That way you can ignore most of the noise coming in and get to the root cause quicker. You still need to quickly read those messages as they might have important clues as to the root cause of an issue, but an auto-response saves you the hassle of needing to explain what they should do, while also alleviating concern that you aren't addressing the problem. That buys you some airspace to tackle the most critical issue and get all the way to it's root cause. Once that is resolved, you should go through all the cases that have come in and look to see if they were also resolved by your fix. Likely, you can close out many of these and put people back at ease. This method helps you deescalate an issue quickly, and builds trust with your users that you have them covered.

While there are many techniques that can be used, I have seen that auto responses are a great tactic for saving time and quieting noise in a release hot-fix situation. Have your auto-responses ready to go in case an issue comes up, so that you can easily turn them on and quiet the noise that might otherwise slow you down and exacerbate the issue.

Merge Fields in Macros - Make Reps Faster πŸƒπŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

Problem 🀬

Merge fields are how you dynamically merge record data from salesforce into something like an email template. Macros are a wonderful way to automate tasks that you repeat in your consoles. One weakness you might have run into is that macros do not support merge fields. So if you want to use macros to say... go to your email action on a case, pre-populate the addresses in a particular configuration, or overwrite the subject line to be something consistent (instead of β€œRE:Re:RE:Re:RE:Re A case subject | ref: as98dfs9-8a7dfasd98”), you are stuck with hardcoding a text string to serve as the value. And as much as we all love generic email subjects with no context, that isn't going to fly here.

Solution πŸ’‘

What are you to do about this glaring limitation? Create an email template. It can be a simple template that just provides a Subject line with merge values, such as case number and the subject of the case. Put whatever you want in the body - frankly I like to just merge in the contact name here so that it gives you a head start on your email.

When you set up your macro, you can choose to use an email template and just like that, you have your merged fields. The best part? You can actually remove the body or the subject if you only need the merge fields for one of those locations. Additionally, you can choose to replace the text (as I would for the subject in this example), append it to the beginning of the text (as I would for a Name merge field in the body), or append it to the end of the text (such as the ref ID in the body). Play with this feature and you may find that macros are more useful than you thought for spinning up dynamic emails that will save your reps a bunch of time.

Gotchas 😣

Don't forget to include the ref id in your template as it will not be added for you in this workaround. To do this, use the Case Thread ID merge field in the email template editor, and I do recommend putting it in the subject line as well as the body.

Spring '19 Release is going to be awesome. Here's what you need to know.

Spring β€˜19 Release

It's that time again where your mouth starts to water as some of the long awaited Salesforce features you requested are ready for you to sink your teeth into. Let's dive into what's coming!

Note: you should already be seeing these features in your sandboxes (except for non-preview sandboxes) so make sure to spin up a new sandbox, or refresh an existing one to take a look at how the changes will impact your org.


  • Lightning flow builder is finally here! On top of updating the interface to get rid of flash (finally), Salesforce made some changes that make it a lot cleaner to build automation. If for some reason you want to go back into flash purgatory, you can go to setup -> process automation settings and deselect the checkbox for "disable access to cloud flow designer". Then you can move between both interfaces. Note however that error messages will now use the updated terminology of the new interface, so go back at your own risk. Hands-on preview below:

  • If you have ever had to rebuild an entire lightning page because you wanted to change the template, rejoice. You can now change the template and map where the components should go on the new template. Hands-on preview at right.

  • If you use Quip, get ready to have your mind blown. In beta, there is a new lightning component that allows you to create and work on related quip files on a salesforce record, edit them, mention others, etc. You can set up templates that merge data as well, so on a project record, you could create a templated meeting notes related quip doc. On an account record, you could create a related account plan document. The possibilities are huge here, so make sure you play with this incredible feature! Hands-on preview below:

Talk to your developers

Help your business leaders and executives

  • Einstein next best action is something you should work closely with your business leaders to implement. If you are unfamiliar check out the notes on it here and start a conversation internally about how you can configure strategies to prompt your business users to take the best next step at key points in your processes. then just add the next best action component to lightning pages and the suggested actions component to your communities on relevant interfaces. Hands-on preview below:

  • A nice nugget that I would discuss with my sales leaders is that in this release, they will make Einstein Opportunity Scoring available to all users if there is just one Einstein Sales license in use. That make buying your first Einstein Sales license a great investment.

  • If you paid for extra Salesforce storage, now is the time to reevaluate that. Salesforce is increasing base storage by 10x, from 1 GB to 10 GB. This will matter most to small and mid-sized organizations, since the amount of storage per user has not changed.

  • If you previously enjoyed giving thanks in chatter, you can now do so from lightning. Talk to your leaders about this as a potential recognition method, and if they are interested you will need to ask Salesforce to enable the pilot, then add the action in relevant locations. While I generally avoid SF pilots, this is one that is pretty low risk.

  • Last call to address field history retention before the deletes start happening. If you rely on field history older than 24 months, make sure you let your business leaders know that they will need to purchase the FAT add-on.

  • If your company is needing to worry about new privacy legislation (it probably is) check out the new objects provided and discuss with the business how this will affect their workflow. Then in setup, go to data protection and privacy, click edit, and make the details available.

  • If you are global and have users in South Africa or India, check out the new languages available. You might want to discuss whether you want to roll this out to users in those geographies.

Inform your users

  • PINNED LISTS!!!! Make sure your users know that the days of having to change the list view from "Recently Viewed" to their most common list view each time they go to an object are finally over. Users have been dying for this feature and it has finally arrived. Hands-on preview at right.

  • Your console users will be delighted to find out that they can now promote a subtab to it's own workspace tab. Make sure they are trained so they can start using the feature to improve their workflow.

  • Chatter got some nice improvements. Chatter sort is now sticky, meaning it will remember what you filtered last. You can add hyperlinks to posts and comments which you might want to consider the implications of in communities for example, where users could link to content or sites that you may not approve of. A cool use for this is to link other salesforce records using the / notation. And the redirect links in chatter emails got shorter and cleaner. Hands-on preview below:

If you have questions about this release, or want to discuss new features, don't hesitate to reach out!