I’ve been an “evil Salesforce Consultant” for around a decade now. Still shocked by that statement. For many of those years, I would work with clients solo or would be training someone on my team to take over the project after the kick-off.
When I started, my questions were typically:
- What fields are important for you track?
- When does the notification happen?
- What information is necessary for a user to approve this record?
This data may seem important. But I admit that this only tells a small percentage of the story. When we as builders do all the work, we have to sweat these details and it IS important that this is correct. However forget to ask:
- Why is this the process?
- Why should we continue to support a process if there are faster/easier ways to handle situations?
- Why are so many people necessary to make decisions?
It is truly the experience and the answering of all these “why’s” that creates the connective tissue of a solution. There will always be projects where we must fit into the mold already built; but not every project. The difference between a consultant and a trusted adviser the ability to ask the “why’s” and be able to connect those dots quickly. A trusted adviser can then appreciate the situation and make solid suggestions that the client will appreciate.
I was reminded of this graphic of a doctorate degree. If you think of the sum of human knowledge as a circle and that the size of the circle is the amount of knowledge possessed then the Doctorate thesis is minute bump-out of that knowledge.
A thesis should challenge the status quo and suggest something new in theory. But it is such a small and tiny bump. But that is where lots of people doing lots of research creates lots of bumps. And that’s how we as a people grow.
While the image is about a thesis, us as consultants and thought leaders are doing similar. Our role should not be to simply duplicate what a customer is currently doing in new software but:
- Appreciate and understand their process
- Use our experience and knowledge to ascertain if efficiencies and improvements are possible
- Merge our knowledge of tools and the client’s process to create an ideal outcome
So as you work with clients, co-workers, and others please consider the process. Think about why the process is what it is and could it be better before inserting a tool to address it.