Journey to CTA – Starting out

About a month ago, I started working towards my Certified Technical Architect (CTA) review board. It’s been an intensive process, consisting of mock review boards every week, with plenty of study and practice in between. There are some misguided perceptions out there that the review board is simply one more step after achieving System Architect (CSA) and Application Architect (CAA). I’ve learnt that in truth, as my co-leader Charly says, achieving CSA and CAA means Yay – you’ve got about 40% of the way to CTA.

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Tips for Passing the App Customization Specialist Superbadge

This article will help you to work through the App Customization Specialist superbadge. I am not intending to give out the answers, just a nudge here and there where I know it can get frustrating. You could be the most highly-certified Trailblazer in the world, but still be caught out by this exercise. Thanks for the challenge, Trailhead!

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Making the Case to be a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect

We all know the Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA) is expensive. Add $6k to the already-significant costs of completing the certifications needed to get to System Architect and Application Architect and it’s enough to make any CFO break into a sweat. However, for a Salesforce partner, the benefits of having a CTA make it an incredibly worthwhile investment. Let me (attempt to!) tell you how.

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Salesforce Project Chronicles: Automatic Renewals

My first corporate client was a media company who wanted help building a clever renewals process within Sales Cloud. They had recently gone live with simple Opportunity management. Process Builder didn’t exist in 2010, so it was really the first chance I had to start designing coded solutions. It was a great project that really tested my ability to translate complex requirements into a Salesforce solution.

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What I Learnt at London’s Calling 2018

London’s Calling 2018 was held on 16th February and Chris and I went along with every intention of attending a full day of sessions. We went to one session then spent the rest of the day networking instead!

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Salesforce Solution Design: Success is a Team Sport

I think I speak for many admins and consultants when I say that thinking about a Salesforce solution can be harder than configuring it. By the time you’ve finished gathering requirements, mapping processes and mocking things up, the solution you plan to build is nicely taking shape in your brain.

The big question is: how can you be certain that you’ve considered EVERYTHING?

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VIDEO: Visualising Solutions – How to Communicate Your Vision

Trust and Confidence

Aside from building the solution itself, these two things are arguably the most important things you have to build when you’re implementing any kind of new software solution.

Think about the last implementation you did – be it an internal or an external project. Your stakeholders have been through negotiations on scope, on price and on quality. If it’s an external project, they’ve also probably seen a few vendors and settled on your company, because someone has spent time convincing them that you’re the right people for the job.

Hours of workshops yield a LOT of data to sift through and use for designing a solution and the client gets a little bit worried that you might not have captured everything, but also that they can’t see how all the different parts of the new solution will fit together. Add that to concern about change – the trust and confidence is on a low ebb.

One strategy I have used when this happens is to sit with the client and draw out the vision, take feedback and add to the vision in a working meeting. No slides, no presentations – you don’t need them – it’s just you and them working together to extract and validate all the stuff that’s in your head that they can’t see. It’s been effective for me in the past because they can start to see how the solution will take shape and your collaborative approach builds trust.

So this video is here to show you an example of this. It’s 35 mins long (ish) and I’ve not got a scrap of makeup on (fail) – but stick with it – you may hopefully find it useful. It’s only a simple solution; others out there will have much better diagrams and strategies – and I fluff it up by saying stick with androgynous shapes, then I go and add in a couple of obviously female symbols (that’s coz I was trying to save time). If I could say it again I’d say be inclusive and try to add icons that represent multiple genders and backgrounds. But I hope you can still see what I’m trying to put across despite these mistakes!! Enjoy.

Feedback, of course, is ALWAYS a gift – come and find me on Twitter @gemziebeth if you have any to give!

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The Crossover: When Cancer and Salesforce Collide

This blog has an unusual name because at the time I started it, I didn’t want to commit to blogging about a single topic. I decided I was going to write about my experiences with cancer, perhaps some genealogy and a little Salesforce. The cancer story got to ten chapters before my goals changed and suddenly I was only blogging about Salesforce. I guess it was inevitable that the two topics I had kept so separate would eventually collide.

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