Salesforce Admins Podcast

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re talking with Shannon Hale, Senior Director Product Management at Salesforce in charge of Flow. We find out about this amazing declarative automation tool and the changes coming up with the Spring ‘19 release.

Join us as we talk about Shannon’s journey from the music industry into product management, how her team has made Flow easier to use, and where we’re going next.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Shannon Hale.

From indie music to software development.

Shannon is an OG guest of the original ButtonClick Admin Podcast with Mike and Jared. When she flunked out of her engineering degree, she started getting involved in the music scene, taking pictures and writing about bands “for really obscure indy rags that you’ve never heard of,” she says. She went back and did a writing program at 27, but “I could not find a writing job to save my life. I had a really fabulous CD collection but I could not pay my rent.”

Shannon ended up working as a secretary for an engineering firm in a very small office. “I’d always liked computers and had access to them from an early age,” she says, “and so I started doing things like putting the hard drives in the computer or taking the CD-ROMs out.” They saw her interest and offered to sponsor her for classes in programming. “I ended up accidentally moving into tech,” she says, moving into teaching and eventually user experience, which led her to Salesforce. “A good part of it is just saying yes to opportunities, even if you don’t necessarily have all the skills but you know that you have some of them and are pretty sure you can get the rest,” she says.

The magic of Flow.

A lot of the time we identify a business problem that we want to solve as admins, but we don’t necessarily know what tools to use to do that. “Wanting to solve the problem is 75% of the battle,” Shannon says. That’s why working on great tools like Flow is so valuable—it puts powerful solutions in the hands of problem solvers.

If you have a business process that is complicated or idiosyncratic, it can be hard to make sure that all the correct forms and fields are populated 100% of the time. Flow can help by providing validation to make sure that happens. “But Flow is also a little bit more powerful than some of our other tools,” Shannon says, “it has more code-like aspects to it.” It makes it easy to take people screen-by-screen through a business process and only ask them for the information that they have at that time.

Flow can string things together across records in a single operation, rather than having to go through three different places to get it.

Exciting new changes for Flow in Spring ‘19.

Flow has had a lot of power, but there have always been some elements of it that maybe made it intimidating to the average admin. For Spring 2019, Shannon and her team are trying to make the experience match other aspects of Salesforce, like Process Builder and Lightning App Builder. That makes even the more complex aspects of Flow feel more familiar.

“I have this phrase that I use periodically called, ‘Our programming is showing,’” Shannon says, “places where the complexity of the technology is really showing in the user interface but doesn’t necessarily make sense to people who aren’t writing the technology.” Spring 19 has represented an opportunity to clean a lot of that up and make it more approachable. That also includes adding options for larger text and better contrast.

Just some of the things you can do with Flow include being able to quickly enter information that is going to appear in three different records. You can also delete child records when the master is closed, but you probably want to be careful with your implementation, Shannon recommends. Coming up in the future look forward to undo/redo and copy and pasting elements, along with more usability improvements. As more and more Salesforce teams like Field Services and Einstein are working with Flows, expect even more innovations.



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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce:               Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you become a more awesome Salesforce admin. I'm Gillian Bruce. And today, listeners, we have the return of a much anticipated guest. A guest on the original Button Click Admin podcast many, many years ago, and a boomerang returning back to us here at Salesforce. We have the one and only Shannon Hale. Now Shannon Hale is a senior Director of Product Management here at Salesforce. She is now in charge of Flow. Flow is a very powerful automation tool. It is declarative. It is one of these amazing admin tools that we have to truly make us an awesome admin and I'm very happy to have Shannon on the podcast to talk more about Flow, some of the amazing innovations that have come with the Spring '19 release. Hint, hint, admins. If you've ever been intimidated by Flow, now is the time to dive back into it because it has a whole new look and feel that looks way more familiar. And if you can use other builders, you can use Flow. All right. Without further ado, let's welcome Shannon.

Gillian Bruce:               Shannon, Welcome to the podcast.

Shannon Hale:              Thank you. I'm super excited to be here.

Gillian Bruce:               Oh, I am very happy to have you on the podcast. It has been a long time coming. I think the last time you were on the podcast, it was a podcast by a different name. The Button Click Admin podcast.

Shannon Hale:              Yup.

Gillian Bruce:               And you were on when Mike and Jared were the hosts.

Shannon Hale:              I feel like it was 2012, 2013.

Gillian Bruce:               Just a few years ago.

Shannon Hale:              It seems like a really long time ago.

Gillian Bruce:               It's a really long time ago. Well, that's great. Well, we're so happy to have you back on the podcast and happy to have you back at Salesforce.

Shannon Hale:              Yeah.

Gillian Bruce:               Now for listeners who may not recognize your name, I'd love to introduce you a little bit to them. Shannon, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Shannon Hale:              That is a funny question because when I was a kid, my dad was an engineer. My dad worked in software engineering in ... I'm kind of old. This was like in the late 1960s. My dad worked in software, which just wasn't a thing back there right? He had a physics degree. So it was just always assumed I was going to be an engineering student. I would go into engineering. And I went into engineering and I flunked out my first year.

Gillian Bruce:               Whoops.

Shannon Hale:              Whoops. We did not plan for that contingency. And so I ended up kind of getting involved in music, not playing it, definitely not playing it. But I was writing about bands and I was taking photographs and stuff. And eventually reached a point where I was doing a lot of magazine article writing for really obscure indie music rags that you never heard of. Also because it was a really long time ago.

Shannon Hale:              And I ended up going back and doing a writing program at 27, and then I could not find a writing job to save my life. I had a really fabulous CD collection, let me tell you, but I could hardly pay my rent.

Gillian Bruce:               Do you still have the CD collection?

Shannon Hale:              That's a whole other story. When I moved to California, I actually took all the CDs out of the cases and put them in little paper sleeves and I brought them down in a suitcase because you can get rid of a lot of weight if you do it that way. But I digress.

Gillian Bruce:               Alright. So you went back to get to-

Shannon Hale:              I went back to school and I couldn't find anything for writing and so I ended up working as a secretary for this engineering firm. And it was a really small office and I always liked computers. I had access to them from an early age, which was unusual at that age, simply be by nature of my dad's interest in them.

Shannon Hale:              And so I started doing things like putting the hard drives in the computer or repairing the seat, like taking the CD-ROMS out. And this was in the very early days of offices where networks, which is a thing we take for granted now was not really a thing then. So I helped set up Windows for work groups, which is, you know, probably hopefully ringing a bell on more than one person. I can't be the only one. And they said "Well, gee, you seem really interested. Maybe we can give you some more work to do with if you want to take a coding class or something, we can do that." So I took like a night school class in C and I started working on ... They had a proprietary UI building tool, which was not declarative that point. And so I was learning how to make that work.

Shannon Hale:              And I ended up really kind of accidentally moving into tech. I was 30 by the time it actually happened and I started out sort of doing tech writing and system administration. And I moved into technical training. And it was at this point where I was like teaching people who weren't programmers how to write object oriented programming languages and doing these massive Unix system administration things. And I just kinda kept going on and taking a class here and there. And then I got really interested in user experience and why the product for the company I was working for was so hard to use. So I was like, well that's interesting and this was 2001, so UX was still a fairly nascent thing. And so I was like I'll just go and learn everything I can about UX. And then I got to Salesforce as a UX designer in 2008.

Shannon Hale:              It's a little longer to go this path, right? You don't necessarily have the I graduated with a degree that says I know how to do code or non code or business administration or whatever. You just kind of happened to be lucky and caught luck more than once and here I am.

Gillian Bruce:               It's just luck though. I mean you kept finding things you're interested in and finding ways to learn about them and kind of gain a skill sets. Right? I mean you were at a company where you were able to do that, but-

Shannon Hale:              Yeah. So-

Gillian Bruce:               Made it happen.

Shannon Hale:              The funniest story is how I ended up moving on to the engineering team at this one company that I was at, which was basically they hired me to do what is now called Dev Ops, but at the time was basically scripting, Unix scripting. And I happen to take my headphones off at the moment where the engineering manager was talking to the architect behind me and said "We'll never find someone with that level of JavaScript to this company." And it was 2001, 2002. You know, Netscape 6 had just come out.

Gillian Bruce:               Time capsule.

Shannon Hale:              Time capsule. And the document object model was a thing. And I said "Well, how much JavaScript you want? Because I can write some JavaScript." I'd been playing with web design on my own personal ... It wasn't quite Geocities, although I did have that. And he said "Oh, well, what do you know about this?" And I just rambled off a couple of things that I'd read on a blog post a couple of weeks earlier. And the next thing I knew, he was in my manager's office saying I need Shannon half time on my team. And I very quickly became one of the people who knew more about the front end part of that than other people on the team, just because I'm curious, right?

Shannon Hale:              So a good part of it is just saying yes to opportunities, even if you don't actually necessarily have all the skills, but you know that you have some of the skills and you're pretty sure you can get the other skills. And that's kinda what I love about declarative is that you can get the skills, you don't necessarily have to go off and take like an entire semester of C programming to understand how to make it work, right?

Gillian Bruce:               And exactly. And I think one of the things that I hear at Premier Story is that you came at it from a hey, why doesn't this work the way that I think it should work? And why does this work this way instead of oh, I want to learn this discipline. I want to learn this because it will get me a job.

Shannon Hale:              I want to solve the problem that I have. And sometimes I solve it in a very weird way and I'm like okay, I probably could have solved that better. And sometimes I go well, maybe I'll use this as an excuse to learn this random esoteric thing. I've done that once or twice too. But most of the time, like it's really more a matter of ... And I see this so often are admins, right? Like every time I have a conversation, it's like we have this business problem that we're trying to solve. And I can see a way to solve it using these tools. Or I really want to solve it, but I don't necessarily know which tools to use for it, which is a thing which I've always felt we could help a little bit more with. And I think Trailhead is going a long ways to sort of help make the distinction in some cases. But you know, wanting to solve the problem is 75% of the problem. Or not the problem, but-

Gillian Bruce:               Of it., right?

Shannon Hale:              Of it, right.

Gillian Bruce:               Yeah, totally. Well that's-

Shannon Hale:              You're going to edit that part out, aren't you?

Gillian Bruce:               Oh, completely. Sure. So I think what's really cool, Shannon, is that I didn't know this story about you. And here you are, you are a senior Director of Product Management here at Salesforce now in charge of one of our most awesome products Flow, which has got a major revamp, which is what we're going to talk about in just a little bit. But knowing that you came into the technology space a little bit later in your career, and made that transition and kind of maybe unintentionally found yourself in that path is really cool. And I think a lot of our admins can really relate to that because most of the admins I talk to did not set out going to college and say "Hey, I want to be a Salesforce admin when I grow up." And then they find themselves exposed to this technology, whether it's in a secretarial role or in some other like, you know, a sales role or anything.

Shannon Hale:              Executive Director of a nonprofit.

Gillian Bruce:               Exactly. Yeah. And then they kind of come across this technology and like, ooh, this is something that I'm kind of interested in. I can see how it can help people. I can see how it can solve problems and they pursue it. So thank you for sharing that. I thought that was very cool.

Shannon Hale:              Yep.

Gillian Bruce:               Very cool.

Shannon Hale:              Yeah. People either say, depending on who I'm talking to, I will either say that I've had a self-directed education, in which I figure out I need to learn something and I learn it or I say I have a short attention span. It depends on how honest I want to be. I think it's a little bit of both.

Gillian Bruce:               I think they work well together. You know? Gives you the flexibility to go learn what you want to learn. Right?

Shannon Hale:              Like right now I'm taking an essentials of business class.

Gillian Bruce:               There you go. I like it.

Shannon Hale:              Because why not?

Gillian Bruce:               Why not? Always be learning.

Shannon Hale:              Exactly.

Gillian Bruce:               I think that's a [crosstalk 00:10:41]. Always be learning.

Shannon Hale:              Yep. She's not wrong.

Gillian Bruce:               She's not wrong. She's not wrong. So speaking of always be learning, I'd love to learn a little bit about the amazing revamp that Flow has just gotten and Spring '19 release has got a whole bunch of buzz around it. I know our admin community is very excited. Before we get into that, can you just give us a high level overview of what is Flow?

Shannon Hale:              So Flow is one of the process automation tools that we have at Salesforce. A lot of the time when we talk to people, to companies, it's like, well, we have this thing where our sales people always have to do X when they're in the middle of a deal. Or we have a thing where it's like I want them to do this, but they never do it because they forget things like validation rules, things like even just adding required markers on the field when you build up the data model or adding a process so that something always happens when someone changes the value in apparent field. Those are all examples of process automation and it can really just be a way to enforce certain business processes, right?

Shannon Hale:              But Flow is also a little bit more powerful than some of our other tools. In many ways, it has more code like aspects to it. There were things like decisions and there's options on doing database updates and so on. And one of the things that often gets used for as well is when we talk about enforcing a business process, actually walking people through a screen and taking them step by step and only asking for the information that they have at that time, which really lets them focus on the task at hand for people like me with a short attention span. And also make sure that they put the right data in at the right time because you know, our page layouts can get kinda long. And a lot of the time you're only really dealing with a few things on that page at a given time.

Shannon Hale:              So there's something very powerful, and quick actions was a great example of this. Like it made it possible for you to create a thing that just updated the address, but Flow can go even further and sort of string things together from multiple records because we're not always just dealing on one record, right? Sometimes you will want to update something on the account and the contact and the opportunity and this custom object that's really important to you as well. And Flow will let you do all of that in a single operation rather than having to go to three different places to do it. So it's super powerful.

Gillian Bruce:               Yeah. And I mean, I think, you know, that idea of that visual flow of walking someone through, that was my first exposure to Flow and I was like, oh, I get it. This is really cool. Okay. So this is a way to kind of really guide your users along a certain process. Right? And for me, Flow has always been a little intimidating because when you open up Flow and you get in there and you're putting these little boxes on the page, and then you've got to like figure out all the variables. And I was a little overwhelmed. I figured out a little of it by using Trailhead and doing some projects. But now Flow looks a little more friendly.

Shannon Hale:              Yes, Flow is definitely ... So if you don't know about Flow, Flow actually started at Salesforce through an acquisition back in 2010-ish. And it started out as a desktop application. It was actually built in Java and it was a whole desktop thing. And so when we moved it into the cloud, we first built it in Flash and the Flash builder largely echoes the original builder. It was a very much advanced tool. And some of the interactions were a little bit awkward, maybe not as web-like is we would like. And 2010 was a really long time ago-

Gillian Bruce:               Just a few years ago.

Shannon Hale:              For some of us. And so, you know, technology has changed a lot in the last nine years. I mean Flash is on its way out. And so we were thinking about a lot of those things, like all of the stuff that we had heard over the years, it's kind of hard to tell what different elements are because they're all little gray boxes on the screen.

Shannon Hale:              I personally am of an age where tiny fonts are very hard for me to deal with at this point. And so I always found it very hard to read anything on the page, and contrast as an issue for me as well. So, some of the things that we're really thinking about were how could we mitigate some of those ... Take advantage of those lessons that we learned, right? And then the other thing that we were thinking about is, you know, our admins, we don't want them to be intimidated by Flow. We don't want it to be scary. And like I said earlier, it's got a lot of code-like features, which I totally understand are kind of hard to wrap your head around initially.

Shannon Hale:              But we have a lot of other tools in Salesforce that we've established usability and patterns around that people are familiar with and by pulling a lot of those patterns into Flow Builder, when you come in now and you look at, it's like, oh, I get it. This is a lot like Process Builder or this is a lot like Lightning App Builder. And when you go into build a screen, it's a lot like Lightning App Builder. And so even the more complex aspects of that can really feel more familiar, right? And then a lot of the other stuff we did was areas where we ... I have this phrase that I use periodically called our programming is showing. Places where we have technology that's just the complexity of the technology is really showing in the user interface and it doesn't necessarily make sense to people who aren't writing the technology.

Shannon Hale:              And so we're always looking for places to address that, right? And sometimes we just can't, but we always want to find places where we can address those things and make it a little bit easier to understand. Flow does have a lot more power than some of our other tools. And as a result, well, the power is in its flexibility and flexibility equals complexity. So there's definitely some challenges there. But if you can come into it and go well, I know what this does, right? I know how to build a screen because I know how to use Lightning App Builder. And I know how to fill in this field because I've done it in this other thing. And I know how to do a decision because I've done it in Process Builder. I can do validation because I've written validation rules, right?

Shannon Hale:              So if you've used those other tools, you can come into Flow Builder and hopefully figure out the other parts. And we have a long ways to go still on that front and making it easier and doing maybe a little bit better integration between what you see on the page and what it's actually gonna look like at run time. All of those are things that we talk about and we'll be working on as we move further.

Shannon Hale:              My favorite use case for Flow is being able to quickly enter information that's going to show up on three different records, right? I want to change someone's phone number and I actually have it in three different places, which is probably not the smartest thing to do, but sometimes you have to, right? Sometimes you just have to. Or if you want to potentially delete something related to a record, like that's one thing that you can do in Flow that you want to be careful about.

Gillian Bruce:               Yes, very careful.

Shannon Hale:              Very careful about. But if you do have something where you want to delete all of these child records or something when the master is created or closed, right? Maybe you want to once it's closed, do you want to just archive all that? You can basically create a Flow that when that occurs that it goes off and it loops through those individual records and it deletes them or it closes them or does something else.

Shannon Hale:              I'm definitely hearing an earful about a couple of missing things, which I want to reassure you are coming in the next release which are undo-redo because I totally understand it is a big pain in the butt when you delete something by accident and then you realize you hadn't saved it and you have to go back and basically re-build the whole thing. And then the second one is being able to copy and paste elements on the page. So when you have a screen and you have another screen that's got a lot of the same stuff in it, being able to just copy and paste it rather than having to build the whole thing manually again. I can really understand why this is like an efficiency win, right?

Shannon Hale:              And it's not that we didn't intend to build that functionality or anything. It's simply that we ran out of time to do all of the things that we want to do. We still have a few things that we have left and we really wanted to get Flow Builder out with all the good that it does have in the current release and then finish up the stuff that we knew is still outstanding and is coming in the next release. So that's one or a couple things that are really big right now.

Shannon Hale:              The other thing that we're thinking about is we're still thinking about ways to make things easier and more efficient. We have some ideas. We hit a round of usability testing a few weeks ago and one of the comments that came out is someone said "I feel like I'm naming things all the time." Having to create variables for everything or thinking of ways that we can sort of streamline that and not have to go through that very manual effort. Anywhere where we can sort of trim off the multi-step aspects of the building tool and make it a little bit more efficient are all things that we're winning, that are sort of winning moves.

Shannon Hale:              And then the third thing we're really thinking about is the kind of things that people are asking for when they're building Flows. People are using Flows for other use cases, even inside Salesforce. Field services or are looking at Flows and bots are looking at Flows. And Einstein Next Best Action is doing stuff with Flows. And so all of these other teams are coming to us and saying "Gee, it would be really nice if we had a little bit more control over the layout." The very old Flow stuff before Lightning runtime was super bare bones. Here's the field. And here's some radio buttons. And they were very, very basic HTML markup kind of stuff with not a lot of fancy styling related to them at all. You don't really have a lot of options of where to put stuff on the page.

Shannon Hale:              And so want a lot more flexibility about how they build the page, and ways to make that a lot more efficient for their users. And so we're looking at a lot of things related to those. I'm not going to go too much further on that one because it's very, very safe harbor at this point. So you're going to have to wait a little bit longer.

Gillian Bruce:               That's awesome. That's a lot of cool, great innovations. I mean your team must be very busy.

Shannon Hale:              I have three.

Gillian Bruce:               Oh, three teams.

Shannon Hale:              Three teams.

Gillian Bruce:               Well that makes sense. There's a lot of work happening, a lot of work to do.

Shannon Hale:              Yeah. And that's not including the actual Flow engine team, which Jason Teller handles, which handles sort of the actual guts of the stuff after you can figure it. So.

Gillian Bruce:               That's amazing. Well, one of the things that I think is so amazing about you and your teams is you really, really do pay attention to feedback that people provide via the community or otherwise about-

Shannon Hale:              Twitter.

Gillian Bruce:               About and Twitter, yes.

Shannon Hale:              I'm spending a lot of time on Twitter this last couple weeks.

Gillian Bruce:               Well, you're easy to find. That's part of it.

Shannon Hale:              That would be Shannon Sans, S-H-A-N-N-O-N-S-A-N-S.

Gillian Bruce:               Oh, don't worry. Your Twitter handle will be in the show notes as well.

Shannon Hale:              I'm sure it will.

Gillian Bruce:               So, Shannon, I just wanted to say thank you so much for all the work that your team does. And this new design of Flow Builder is really exciting to me because I'm going to get my hands more dirty with Flow Builder. And I think a lot of admins now will be more inclined to kind of go in and play around and see what they can do. And, I mean, gosh, roadmap. I mean, I imagine if we ... When we talked to you at Dreamforce, it will be a whole 'nother world.

Shannon Hale:              It will be a whole 'nother world.

Gillian Bruce:               It's so exciting. So, before I let you go, I'm going to ask you a lightening round question. So lightning round question is the first thing that comes to mind. There's no right or wrong answer. It's a by-community demand. If I don't ask a lightning round question, I get into trouble.

Shannon Hale:              So no right or wrong answer, but you're going to judge me for the rest of eternity.

Gillian Bruce:               Absolutely. As will everyone listening to this podcast.

Shannon Hale:              I thought you liked me, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce:               Of course. I like you. This is how I show you that I like you. All right. So Shannon, your lightning round question. So since you've been in the Salesforce ecosystem for awhile, I'm going to have some fun with this one. So tell me what was one of your most memorable Dreamforces?

Shannon Hale:              Gosh, I've been to like 10 of them. I mean the first one, the very first one was really amazing. It was 2008. I just started at Salesforce that year and I don't think I really understood how big Salesforce was. And this is kind of funny because I'm pretty sure back in 2008, our attendance was probably like under 10,000 people or around 10,000 people.

Gillian Bruce:               Oh, I'm sure it was less than that. Yeah.

Shannon Hale:              It was not what it is now. And we had, you know, Moscone South and we might've had a conference room in Moscone North. We didn't have West. And I went to pick up my badge the day before and there were Salesforce banners everywhere and there was people all around and the excitement was really palpable. And I was walking there and I was going I work for a really big company. That was kind of an eyeopener for me because working in Landmark as we were at the time, we had 25 people on the UX team at the time when I started. You know, engineering was a few hundred people. It was-

Gillian Bruce:               You only had a few floors in the building, right?

Shannon Hale:              We only had a few floors in the building. And so even though I knew there were more because I was working very specifically on platform, it did not seem that big. And yet I was starting to see people coming around and being really excited about being there. And I went to the keynote and I was like, holy crap.

Gillian Bruce:               There's a lot of people here.

Shannon Hale:              There's a lot of people here. And they're really excited and that's something that has never failed to surprise me about Salesforce. You know, when it came out at one of the Salesforces that I had been the person who was behind the setup tree thing, which for those of you who haven't been in Salesforce that long, that little setup tree on the left hand side of setup, only actually came out in 2011. But in 2009, I built it as a grease monkey script and we totally released it anonymously. I'm probably not even supposed to tell you this now. Might have to kill you.

Gillian Bruce:               The secret's out.

Shannon Hale:              The secret's out. The news was published after the real thing was finally shipped. I had people walking up to me at Dreamforce that just were like ... Like Matt Lamb hugs me. I'd never met him before at that point. And he was like "Thank you." I was like "Okay." I love the fact that people get excited about things. I love the fact that they're not shy about giving me feedback and telling me when they don't think I did a good job or like they think that we're doing something wrong, like the true to the core stuff. I go through Idea Exchange and I actually like ... I'm doing that right now because it's been a lot of new ideas since last time I did this before I left Salesforce in 2015.

Gillian Bruce:               'Cause you're boomerang, right?

Shannon Hale:              I left and I came back, and I came back to the foundation or for a year and before I came back to core to take over Flow Builder. And so, lots of things where it's like most of the time I look at him like yeah, yeah, we should fix that. And sometimes it's not as easy as doing it like in ... It's never as easy as everyone thinks it is, unfortunately. And sometimes it is. And then it's just like, we'll just do it. Sneak that in.

Gillian Bruce:               Make a lot of people happy.

Shannon Hale:              Make a lot of people happy. Sometimes the things that you sneak in are the things that are ... You know, they're not necessarily the thing that sells the product, but as a day to day user, they're definitely the thing that makes it a whole lot easier to get things done with.

Gillian Bruce:               Well, I mean that's one of the things we love highlighting, especially for Admins, right? Are things like, oh you can pin the list. Oh, you can adjust the column width on a list view and I mean those are the simple things that we don't make a big deal usually about releases and we're like, hey actually this is a big deal.

Shannon Hale:              Right.

Gillian Bruce:               It's great.

Shannon Hale:              This is huge.

Gillian Bruce:               Especially for productivity.

Shannon Hale:              This is game changing. People go "This is game changing", and sometimes you think really? But I mean even the pinning thing, how long have I wanted to be able to like not have to hit recent items when I go back to the list view.

Gillian Bruce:               Exactly, exactly. Exactly. Well Shannon, thanks again so much for taking the time to talk with us and for all the great work you're doing. We are so happy to have you back. And I know that there is even a theme song now that you have, created by the one and only WizardCast. So-

Shannon Hale:              You're not going to play that, are you?

Gillian Bruce:               You know, we might have to sneak that in at some point. So we'll see.

Shannon Hale:              Thanks WizardCast.

Gillian Bruce:               Well, thank you so much for joining us and we look forward to seeing what else you got up your sleeve.

Shannon Hale:              Yeah, I'll see you at Dreamforce.

Gillian Bruce:               Oh, it was great chatting with Shannon. We could have chatted for probably another two hours, so be prepared. We will definitely have her back on the podcast throughout the year to talk about the further innovation she mentioned that are coming to Flow. But you know, I thought it was very fun to learn about her trajectory, her path to Salesforce because it had some very striking similarities to a lot of the admin stories we've heard on the podcast. You know, she failed out of engineering school and she thought that's really what she was going to do when she grew up. It didn't work out. And then she found herself doing music writing and then going to school. And then finding herself as a secretary, who had a knack for systems and networking. And then taking what she's learning, doing that to teach others, and then diving into user experience. And then found herself in product management here at Salesforce.

Gillian Bruce:               So I think a lot of the things that we heard in Shannon's story, this idea of always being curious, wanting to solve problems, learn new things. That's something that we all have as awesome admins and it's a very important trait. So celebrate that, dive into that, enjoy it. It's really something that will help power your career as an awesome admin.

Gillian Bruce:               When we're talking about Flow, she shared some amazing things that are happening in Flow Land, the lovely land now because now it looks like our other builders. If you can use Process Builder and some of the other declarative tools in Salesforce, you're now going to be able to use Flow Builder a lot easier because you're going to see things that look more familiar. There's been a lot of innovation to make it easier to use and there's a lot more coming. So one of the fun use cases I think that Shannon mentioned was the idea of being able to update multiple records at the same time by taking a single action.

Gillian Bruce:               That's just one of the many examples of the things that you can do with Flow. So make sure that you take a new look at Flow, if you haven't used it before, it's a great time to figure it out. We've got some amazing resources to help you do so. So make sure that you take another look in to Flow. Oh, and fun fact, in case you missed it. Shannon was the one who actually built the original setup trait in Salesforce. So that was a fun little tidbit she shared towards the end. So I hope you didn't miss that. Very cool.

Gillian Bruce:               So I want to definitely make sure that all of you now, listeners, dive into Flow. We have some great resources for you to do that. We have a fantastic blog we put out on the Salesforce Admin blog called Get Started with Flow Builder. That's at, link is in the show notes. So make sure that you check that out. There's a series of videos from Alex Edelstein who is our product manager, really in charge of a lot of the Flow items, works very closely with Shannon, dives deep into some use cases that you can do as a beginning Flow user. So make sure you check that out.

Gillian Bruce:               There's also some great content on Trailhead coming very, very soon. So stay tuned to the month of February and beyond. They're just going to be some updates to existing Trailhead content as well as some new ones, so we'll make sure that we share those as they come out. And if you want to check out the episode of the WizardCast that we mentioned, Shannon has her own theme song. If you want to reach out to Shannon on social, please do. She pays a lot of attention to the feedback that users like yourself provide. So you can find her on the Salesforce Trailblazer community. There's a whole group on Flow and the Charles Salesforce Trailblazer community. You can also reach out to her on Twitter. So she shared her twitter handle is @ShannonSans. That's S-H-A-N-N-O-N-S-A-N-S. So you can find her there.

Gillian Bruce:               You can also find all the latest and greatest from the awesome admin team at Salesforce admins No I. You can find myself @GillianKBruce. As always, remember we've got more great content. Blogs, webinars, events, and yes, even more podcasts at Also, please remember to share this podcast with your fellow Salesforce Ohana. We've got a lot of great episodes coming every single week, so we want to make sure that you don't miss a single episode and you do that by hitting the subscribe button on whatever platform you use to listen to podcasts. We are there. Thank you so much for listening to this episode and we'll catch you next time in the cloud. Oh, and stay tuned for a little sneak peek of Shannon Hale's custom theme song created by the one and only WizardCast.

Direct download: Shannon_Hale_on_the_New_Flow_Builder.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35am PDT