Salesforce Admins Podcast

For today’s Salesforce Admins Podcast, we listen in on a conversation between Lead Admin Evangelist J. Steadman and Architect, Developer Relations, René Winkelmeyer as they discuss the importance of Governance within an organization.

Join us as we talk about why it’s a challenge, not a problem, why the people are the process, and how to recognize when it’s OK to start with an imperfect solution.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with J. Steadman and René Winkelmeyer.

Why Governance Is Important

As organizations across the globe are attempting to affect digital transformation, “moving things from paper and manual processes into systems that everyone can access wherever they’re working from,” as J. says, there are some challenges with coordinating around new platforms and other solutions. Everyone needs to know what everyone else is doing and understand what the goals of each piece of technology are.

Governance is the process to solve this collective challenge and help everyone get on the same page. Salesforce is actually a great example of Governance in action, with new people coming in from acquisitions all the time and the need to get everyone in an organization of 75,000 working together effectively. “Governance is really the focus on solving a collective challenge,” René says, “and a big portion of Governance should also be the people—not only the processes.” Governance allows all of our specialists within the organization—sales, service, etc.—to come together and be bigger than the sum of our parts.

Start With a Vision

There are some key principles behind Governance that make it work. The first thing is accountability, responsibility, fairness, and transparency. As René puts it, “who owns what? And can we make a fair share of everything for everyone?” What’s important is being clear about who owns what and giving them the autonomy they need to do it, but also following up with accountability. As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

“It may be an overused term, but I think that everyone starts with a vision,” René says, “and it may be something simple—sometimes things are right in front of your face and you don’t see them.” Sometimes it’s as simple as comparing what your current challenges are with why the technology was purchased in the first place. The important conversation that doesn’t always happen is whether or not everyone is on board, and how to get people there if they’re not already.

Why It’s Ok to Get It Wrong

Getting everyone together means starting with a shared understanding of where you need a process and who the expert in that is. “You have to have the courage to let go of your own ego in these conversations to make sure that you are hearing everyone’s perspective,” J. says. Start with the challenge you’ve observed and then ask the team if there needs to be a process to help with it.

At the end of the day, the goal is to put a new system in place that helps you achieve what you’re trying to do. You want to expand ownership and help people be effective together. It’s a conversation, and you need to pay attention to when you should step back and when you should step forward. Sometimes, it’s about helping people gain a broader perspective of the context in which they’re working. Sometimes, it’s about accepting something that might not be ideal now and being ready to change it as things go forward. 

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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. Hey, this week, we're joining in on a conversation with Lead Admin Evangelist, J. Steadman, and Architect Dev Evangelism, René Winkelmeyer, as they talk about the importance of governance in an organization. And let me tell you, they really cover a lot of things. I took a lot of notes during this. I'll include a lot of information in the show notes. It's a very cool conversation. And after they're done, I'll jump back in and give you some final thoughts and highlights. So with that, please welcome J and René to the podcast.

J. Steadman: Thank you, Mike. I'm super happy to be here. I am J. Steadman, Lead Admin Evangelist here at Salesforce. I am joined by René. René, would you like to introduce yourself to our audience of awesome admins?

René Winkelmeye...: Yeah, absolutely. So my name is René Winkelmeyer. I work at the same company that J does, surprise, surprise, and I'm an Architect in the Developer Relations team.

J. Steadman: And thank you so much for joining us, René. Folks out there that are listening, René and I recently started a series of meetings and we just kind of sit down and have coffee and talk about things that are on our minds. And we got into a little bit of a conversation around governance that I found really, really fascinating. And we had a chat with Mike to see whether or not it would be of interest to the admin community. And so, today, what we're going to do is we're just going to talk about the concept of governance, right? Especially in 2021, when Salesforce instances are starting to become really wide and deep technologies and organizations are really trying to kind of move forward with this idea, and we hear this a lot as a buzz word of digital transformation, right?
But really what that means is moving things from paper and manual processes, into systems that everyone can access wherever they're working from. And the challenge that these digital transformations can really cause is making sure that everyone knows what each other are doing. Everyone understands the objective of a given piece of technology, such as Salesforce. And ensuring that all of our valid stakeholders are all aware of that objective and are also contributing to enhancement requests, features, bugs that they might be encountering and making sure that we know what each and every system is doing in a greater context, right?
René, I think has a fantastic perspective on this. And this is a concept that we explore a lot here at Salesforce. Salesforce has grown in a really huge way in terms of the number of employees that we have. We're somewhere around 75,000 employees now. But when I joined the organization just a few years ago, we were around 50,000 employees, right? That's a massive increase. And when you consider the number of companies that Salesforce has acquired, like Slack, like Tableau, governance becomes this really incredibly important concept, right? It's not necessarily a technology skill, but it is really, really important that all of the 75,000 of us here at Salesforce have an understanding of what we're doing and why we're doing it.
René, you'd been talking about some of your experiences in our private conversations, specifically with working with some of these teams like over at MuleSoft, over at Tableau, and trying to get an understanding about what everyone was doing just from an audience relations perspective or an evangelist perspective. And I just thought it would be a great conversation to bring in front of our admins, right? I think sometimes governance gets this reputation of being an uncool word or kind of a dry topic. But what I found in our conversations, René, is that it was actually quite the opposite. I find it to be really engaging. So that's, I think a good intro to the concept that we wanted to discuss today. René, can you talk to us a little bit about how you're approaching this idea of various different stakeholders, all coming together to try and kind of steer the ship, even though we're controlling different parts of that ship?

René Winkelmeye...: Sure. I mean, funny that you meant that you joined with 50,000 when I joined with 19,000.

J. Steadman: Holy smokes.

René Winkelmeye...: Yeah, it's a crazy train ride. It's a great train ride. So the first question is really to understand what is governance, right? And I think this is a term that is used often in different contexts. And so I want to define first what I see as governance and other people may have different opinions, especially also different countries or languages or cultures, what governance can be. I think governance is really, in my opinion, the focus on solving a collective problem, right? This is what we try to achieve. Or a challenge, I think is even the better word, because I don't like the word problem. Yeah. No, it's more a challenge, right? So is there something that is relevant to us as a group that we want to put in some form or shape, right? This is how I try to approach it at least.
And when we see this in our company, and you mentioned that before, we have quite a couple of companies, we have sibling teams, we have developer relations. It's like Mule and Tableau. And we're here at Salesforce and we're all catering our own audiences, right? Because someone who develops with MuleSoft, for example, it's totally different than, for example, a developer who works on the Salesforce org and develops with Apex and Lightning Web components, right? It's totally different use case. But at the same time, we are just talking to developers, right? And we try to make them successful in what we do.
So the really question is what is the best way on how we can come together, really? Right? And this is something that I feel falls really well under the realm of governance to actually look on what do we have, right? What are the principles? What are our procedures? What are the structures? What are the processes? People, right? Personally, I believe a big portion in governance should also be the people and not only the processes, right? I think this is something where, what you just meant, this negative sound of governance is always felt like, oh, we put a process in place for something. Yeah, but it's not everything, I believe. Right? Because I think that people, especially in our company make a huge portion on what really make governance, in my sense, successful. If that answers your question.

J. Steadman: Yeah. I think that's a really interesting and important thing to distinguish, right? This idea that governance is a thing that is done, right? We govern our technologies in the effort to achieve or solve a given problem or a challenge, right? Now you'd mentioned that you don't like the word problem. I really like that. So like we govern to solve a challenge. I was wondering, can you talk to us a little bit about why you don't like the word problem and why you prefer challenge over problem?

René Winkelmeye...: I just feel, it sounds negative.

J. Steadman: Sure.

René Winkelmeye...: Right? So when someone's like, I have a problem, it's just like this... No, I feel a challenge is something that I would love to approach always.

J. Steadman: Ah-ha.

René Winkelmeye...: Right? It's something that is really there like, okay, I can solve this and I can tackle this. And problem sounds always so negative to me. So I'm pretty sure whenever you find a recording, a video or just we have a chat, you will really rarely hear that I will say problem, right? I really try to avoid that because there is no such thing as a problem.

J. Steadman: I'm making a note to review everything that you've ever recorded, and I'm going to find every instance of the word problem that you've used.

René Winkelmeye...: Yeah. You do that.

J. Steadman: I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding.

René Winkelmeye...: Well, that'll be like, whatever. Binge watching René 200 hours sounds really amazing. Right? I would not do that to myself.

J. Steadman: Yeah. I love this idea, right, is we're working with various different stakeholder groups, which is what we're talking about when we're talking about how we govern. I think the cultural aspect of that is really, really important. You mentioned that it is people as well as processes that we follow. When you look at using Salesforce as an example, of course, there are those of us that may be on the Salesforce, like core side of things. There may be folks that are coming from Slack as you called out. And as we communicate with them using terms like challenge, instead of problem, what we're doing is crafting culture, right? We're creating a vocabulary to communicate with others that I think, it actually is powerful and it fosters this idea of collaboration. So I'm going to keep that in the back of my head, as we explore the rest of this conversation, like where can we make these little adjustments that can improve the way in which we're communicating across these little gaps between functional groups. I like that a lot.
You also called out something that I think is really important, where at any company, admins out there at your company here at Salesforce, employees that sit in a certain role, it is really likely that we specialize in something, right? As a Salesforce admin, you specialize in Salesforce. And it's likely that you may specialize just in core. Maybe you've got a lot larger footprint where you're using sales and service and marketing, or maybe you are using Slack. But nevertheless, we tend to specialize, right? But the entity of a company or a Salesforce customer, they don't specialize in one particular piece of their enterprise technology. They specialize in the product or the service that they sell, right?
So governance allows all of our specialists, our Salesforce specialists, our Tableau specialists, our Slack specialists to all come together and become a whole that is greater than our parts, right? And I think that that's a really important concept to highlight here. The reason that we're reaching out is because we want to make sure that we're benefiting from everyone's specializations and that we're coming together to create this cohesive whole. I really like that idea quite a bit.
So what do you think, René, when you're talking about the pieces that are important, you've mentioned that people are really, really important to this idea of governance, as you're considering the people that are involved in governing a piece of technology or several pieces of technology, what do you think the important things to consider are when we look at the concept of people in relation to governance?

René Winkelmeye...: So I think, from my perspective, there are a couple of principles what make governance, right? The first one that comes to my mind is accountability or responsibility and fairness and transparency, right? So these are things where I really look at, if we want to set up something that falls into, for example, building a service, working around a process, it's really coming together as a team and following these principles on who owns what, right? And can we make a fair share of everything for everyone, because at the end... I make a small segue.
In my history, in my career, I worked for a really long time in the financial sector. And it was highly regulated, not only on what the bank had to do, but also on what people had to do, right? Because everything was structured, everything was organized. You want to do A, no, here's a guide for that. You want to do B, here's a guide for that. And at that time, I really felt that it's good to have processes to ensure consistency and all the good stuff that comes with governance, but at the same time, it can also be overwhelming for people, right? And I think we can just win with all of that, especially when you want to ensure certain things like quality and processes and optimization and efficiency if you take the people on board and not only focus on the aspect of really the organizational process. If that makes sense in this case.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: Right? It's really a conversation. It's really a conversation to figure out, we want to do A, okay, let's see how we can do that and who will own that, right?

J. Steadman: Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: I'm a big fan of saying, okay, I'm giving you a bit more leash, right? That's more how we say it in Germany. You have more freedom to do something, but you're also accountable and responsible for that, right?

J. Steadman: Sure.

René Winkelmeye...: Compared to, oh, I put more structure around you so that you can't move left and right. But that then just decreases the accountability and the responsibility. That's not fair to people. And also, that really prevents from growing great humans, right? So more freedom is great.

J. Steadman: Yeah. Growing great humans. I like that phrase a lot, growing great humans. Something that pops out to me, René, in the way that you're explaining this is, the way that you have explained process and procedure, in some cases sounds a little bit like a confinement, right? Whereas people coming together and collaborating with one another, having conversations about what it is that they want to do and how they want to do it, there is some freedom in that, right?Now with freedom comes responsibility, the old Spider-Man or Peter Parker adage, right? I am trusting you to go and do this thing. So now you're accountable to do that thing. So do it responsibly, do it safely and do it well.
But there's a thing there that's new to our conversation and for our listeners, how do we bring these various people together that can trust us to make these choices or to go and do a thing outside of process, outside of procedure? In other words, how do you assemble your Avengers? How do you get people to the table? Let's use a hypothetical situation where you are a developer, I am an admin, we've had a private conversation where we understand that our organization could benefit from coming together and kind of steering Salesforce together rather than apart. How do we get other people on board? How do we start conversations? How do we select who should be a part of those conversations? From your perspective, how do we get that people element kick started and humming along?

René Winkelmeye...: That's a big question to answer. It may be an overused term, but I think it really starts, everything, with a vision, right? You have to have this idea on what you want to achieve. And maybe it can be something super simple, right? Sometimes though things are just in front of your face and you don't see them, absolutely not. And I think the really important part is to have this compelling vision that must not be earth shaking, but really focusing on the challenge to solve. And that is just transparently meeting with people and figuring out if they would buy in or not, right?

J. Steadman: Yes. Yeah. Okay.

René Winkelmeye...: It's just simple that. And it's okay to receive a no, right, because then your idea or vision may be not that great, or they may be not the right people. And then that's fine, right? I think all of that belongs also into this, just because I think my idea is great, it doesn't mean that you have to find my idea great. Right?

J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah. I love this idea. In my life, as an admin working in my own Salesforce org, that was also in a highly-regulated industry, I found what you're talking about to be absolutely true in our experience. At my company, we needed to present the challenge that we were facing, right? So to be specific about my use case, I had many business units that each shared this one multi-tenant Salesforce org. And we had like 13 different companies that were all sharing this one org, they were all owned by the same parent company. And we weren't talking to each other at all. We were all just in an org and doing stuff, right? And it took people, an admin or two talking to a developer, maybe at the water cooler, maybe in the lunchroom identifying a challenge.
And then what we did is we actually went to an executive, right? And we said, "Hey, here is our challenge statement. This is something that we think is negatively impacting this technology that all of us are using. And when we compare that to the reason that the technology was purchased, there's a gap. Do you agree?" Right? And to your point, René, not everyone agrees with a hundred percent of what you're saying necessarily, but by shopping around this challenge that you have, you'll find people either start to say that they're not interested, which is fine, or they'll start to collaborate with you on that challenge statement, right? Because each of us specialize, for example, I'm an admin, you are a developer, well, you're an architect, but representing the developer persona, right, I think it's in important for us to remember that we need the perspective of other people that are sitting in different seats so that we can make the best choices possible, make the best solutions possible, and steer our technology in the right direction, right?
So when we went to the executive and we were like, "Yo, we think that this is the challenge. Do you agree," we received some modifications to our challenge, but we also got a lot of insight because this executive was privy to a bunch of business goals that we had never heard of before, right? And once we got them on board with this modified challenge statement, it was much easier for us to go to stakeholders in each of these business units and start to introduce the idea to them, right? And as we went to each different business unit one by one and had conversations and introduced this topic, suddenly we found it was becoming enriched. It was becoming a deeper conversation. And we started to find a lot of common issues that everyone was having in relation to this challenge that we observed, right?
So put another way or to summarize, by taking a challenge, shopping it around to various stakeholders and finding a business sponsor, somebody that's got some decision-making authority or some social clout at the organization, getting their buy-in and then bringing that to the rest of the people that we think could be interested in the conversation, suddenly we had our team of superheroes. They were all really interested in moving our platform in a direction that would benefit everybody, right?
And that leads to some of the things that you had previously called out. Things like optimization, things like efficiency, things like procedures and processes or shared services, right? But it took all of that conversation amongst people, which admittedly can be really messy, right? Not every conversation between these folks was super clear cut, right? Maybe you could talk about that a little bit, because we're starting our conversation at the people aspect. And I'd love for you to just call out some of the common challenges or obstacles that one could expect as you're trying to work through a challenge with a bunch of different human beings, because we want to grow good human beings, but human beings are messy, right? We don't always agree. We don't always see things the same way. So do you have any tips or tricks when you're having those person-to-person conversations? Like what are common pitfalls and how do you think you can avoid them?

René Winkelmeye...: Oh, that's also another big question. I feel this is a podcast of the big questions for René. You should prewarn me, I believe.

J. Steadman: Oh, I'm sorry. [crosstalk]. I just sent René a message on Slack and I was like, "Hi, I'm J, come do this podcast." And that's how we got here. That's how we're here right now.

René Winkelmeye...: Absolutely. I will pay you back once we're back in person, I hope. Really, the way that I approach it over time, and I had to learn that when I was a consultant back many, many, many, many years ago, it's really not trying to force, right? I think this is really the most important aspect that I try in everything that I do is not to force my idea, right? It's really, here's an idea. Here's something that I think we should solve, or here's an opportunity actually on how we can do things better. And it needs to be an open conversation without trying to press it. That's really what it is, right?
Often I have conversations that I start with, okay, here's the thing, if you want that, that's great, but it's purely optional if you want to, right? I want to give other people just the room to breathe and that they then can decide on their own and without feeling that they have to do it because it's my proposal or it's coming from a org or from the vendor or whatever. It's really about just giving them room to breathe and to figuring out on their own, do they want to do this or not just based on the facts that I'm showing, right? It's also facts, really important.

J. Steadman: This is really fascinating to me. I'm a very passionate person, right? Like I get an idea where I identify what I see as an obstacle. And one of the challenges that I have just as a human being is, I'm like, yo, here's this thing. We need to solve that. Yo, everyone, let's go and do that right now. Right? In other words, I get really passionate. It's hard for me not to force an idea. It's hard for me not to see this opportunity to improve and hope and push for a conclusion to that as I have my conversations, right? And like you, I'll highlight some facts and I'll bring it to the table.
I guess what I'm asking here is, how do you manage... Let's say that you've identified something that's super important, right? Using the hypothetical that I brought up, not hypothetical, but my past experience as an admin. We were identifying some really big risks to our instance, right? And it was really important that we solved those. Do you have any tips? That's a good way to phrase this. Do you have any tips to help keep those conversations open, unforced, full of ease and fact based? If you have any, what would your tips be for that?

René Winkelmeye...: Well, I wish I would have like the golden solution for that because it's always, as usual, not easy.

J. Steadman: Yeah, of course.

René Winkelmeye...: The way that I look at that when I, and not looking at the small things, because the small things can be solved pretty quickly, maybe it's because I'm German, right? So, prewarning for that. But I'm a big fan of having everything data driven, right, because then you have a solid, common understanding, which I think is the first really important part that everyone understands the problem, that it's not, oh, René had this assumption. No, it's like here are the facts, then enrich that eventually with assumptions, right? And this is what you mentioned really well before, J, is then getting feedback on those assumptions, potentially from those groups or other stakeholders, your people leader and refining that. And then laying that over with what are the challenges that we try to solve with that, that we see, maybe in your case, this instance, and here's your solution that we want to apply. But at the same time, also, highlighting the risk that may go along if you don't do that.

J. Steadman: The cost of doing nothing.

René Winkelmeye...: Yeah. I would say I disagree, because there is not a cost of doing nothing. I think it needs to be a good... You have to understand where is the higher risk, right, if you don't do something or if you do something, which I think is really important, right? If you have the status quo, which you don't like in your case, right, you think the status quo is to change, then you have to assess the risk, right? What is my risk tolerance for not doing it and leaving as is, or what is the risk when we do that and which risk is higher and which risk do I want as the person or the group or the organization that owns that actually to take, right? Because sometimes it's totally fine to take a certain risk by not doing anything.

J. Steadman: This is I think, really important information for admins out there, right? So I just want to summarize what I've heard and, René, please correct me if I'm getting any of this wrong-

René Winkelmeye...: Wrong, wrong, wrong.

J. Steadman: But as we think about having conversations where we're trying to introduce the challenges that we may face, it's really important to start those conversations with our understanding of the facts and the data and share those facts and those data with other stakeholders that we think would be important to the conversation. We want to enrich those observations with some assumptions, which we can also introduce in these conversations that we have with various stakeholders. Then we want to see what they have to say about it, which is going to refine our observations and assumptions. And hopefully, at that point, we're getting people together, they're having conversations. And that's where we're starting to take a look at potential solutions and also assess the risks of doing something different or not doing something different. Is that a pretty fair representation of the way that you just explained things?

René Winkelmeye...: That was perfect. I couldn't have done it better.

J. Steadman: Well-

René Winkelmeye...: Maybe you can do it next time.

J. Steadman: I love being told I'm perfect. I want to be very clear. You're free to ask me questions too. If you've got questions for me, I'll answer those questions to the best of my human ability.

René Winkelmeye...: I'm totally fine with that. And on purpose, I avoided the word perfect, which you potentially recognized. Right? There are a couple of words that I try to avoid, which is problem and perfect, because none of that should exist.

J. Steadman: Yeah. No, absolutely. Perfection is a fiction, right? So this is great, right? What you've introduced to us is a way that we can... Like that's a framework that we can use if, like me, admins out there are really passionate about trying to improve things. And sometimes that passion can actually get in the way and cause some noise in our conversations, right?
So I just want to reiterate to admins out there, especially if you're approaching this cross-functional governance, where we're going and talking to a bunch of different people to get them on board with an idea, make sure that you prepare before you go into those conversations. And by preparation, I mean, bring the data that you need, right? If it's from the org, great. If it's from some other system that you're using, great. But bring the data that you need to support this challenge that you have observed.
Second, be prepared to encounter people who may not agree with you and be prepared to give that plenty of space and room, right? To René's suggestion, what we're saying here is I have observed this challenge. Here's the data that kind of brought me to that. And based on that, here are some assumptions that I've made. What do you think? And if somebody says, hey, I disagree and I'm not interested, sometimes we just have to accept that. There may be somebody else who's willing to gear those things, right? And sometimes getting that rejection of an idea or that disagreement, which I think I like better than rejection, it will inform whether or not that challenge statement is solid, right? Your challenge statement needs to survive these various conversations.
So we've talked about the people aspect. We've talked about how we prepare for conversations between stakeholders that have different perspectives. And I think I'd like to move, René, from the people part of the conversation into some of the other things that you've called out, efficiencies, processes, optimizations. Once we start growing good humans, having good conversations, and we've got people on board, we've got a bunch of people in a room now, how do you approach this idea of optimization or efficiency with a cross-functional group? How do you make a process, for example? What is a framework that you look to, if you have one, that can help you along with that?

René Winkelmeye...: Another big question. Thank you, J. Thank you.

J. Steadman: You're welcome.

René Winkelmeye...: I hope I have a radio voice. Yeah. Yeah. So I would say the biggest question that I always ask myself, do we actually need a process, right? And I say that as a German, do we need actually a process? Or do we need a regulation around that? When you bring the different people together, you actually have the opportunity to shape your original idea and potentially realize it or make it something totally different. But when you bring those people together, it's really taking those different perspectives, as you mentioned, not only from the, I would say socializing and scoping phase, but also then in the relation phase on what do we really want to do, right? What is the business benefit if we really take this? Because often when we try to implement something, it is first that we have this idea. We define the value. We potentially have some ideas on ROI. I think this needs all to be on the table to figure that out, if this really comes together, like the assumption that we made, the solution that we potentially already provided is the real thing.
And what I want to say now with many words is actually I don't have a good framework. I really try to approach this in a conversational approach and sit together with those humans who hopefully are all smarter than I am in this specific problem... Sorry, challenge area. Yeah. Okay. You got me, but this is actually a real word. [inaudible] does not exist as a word. It happens when you're not native. Yeah. That's actually how I approach it, right? Because I hope always that people are smarter than I am and have the potentially better idea on how to approach that. And also, often I'm not the subject matter expert transparently, right?

J. Steadman: Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: I have maybe a good idea on that, but there is then that person who actually does that day by day, right? And those who will be affected by some governance that we may implement. And I feel those should have a big say. Coming back to what I said in the introduction, it's about humans, right?

J. Steadman: Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: We don't want to create bad processes for good people. It should be that we create good frameworks for good people. And it's really important to have those always on board and have a good say. Definitely. Right? So not top down, it's not a top down approach.

J. Steadman: René, you're a genius. I'm sitting here and writing a lot of notes just to make sure that I can actually summarize. What's brilliant, I think about the way that you just explained that is, you laid out this amazing framework and then you're like, I don't really have this framework to work from, but... So there are a few things that I want to highlight about what you said, and then I want to try and summarize it. And again, you tell me if I get anything wrong, right?
But there's one concept that you discussed in your answer that I think is really important to Salesforce admins, but I also think to people in the world in general, no matter what it is that you do, and it's this idea of vulnerability. You said several times that you're not the subject matter expert. You hope that the people in the room are smarter than you. I mean, frankly, I share this with you, right? All the time I walk into a room and there are just these brilliant people that I'm working with, right? I think sometimes as we're working through problems, it can [crosstalk].

René Winkelmeye...: Challenges, challenges. Sorry, challenges.

J. Steadman: Thank you. Thank you, René. Thank you. I love it. We should have like a sound effect, like... As I'm working with challenges with a group, we can start to get really possessive of our ideas or possessive of being the person to solve. And oftentimes that can come from being afraid that maybe we don't know the right answer. So first I'd say, as we're approaching the idea of having conversations around, do we need a process, et cetera, be vulnerable. Walk into the room, recognizing the amazing people that you're working with, whether or not you get along with them personally. There are brilliant people that you are interacting with and you have to have the courage to kind of let go of your own ego in these conversations to make sure that you are hearing everyone's perspective, right?
So I'd say first we start with vulnerability. Then we ask the question, hey, everyone, here is a challenge that we've observed. Do we need a process for this? And the ensuing conversation, where hopefully everyone is vulnerable in letting subject matter experts do their thing, that starts to shape the idea, right? We're socializing the idea to a number of really great people. Getting their perspective, gives us a scope for what this potential solution could be. We want to make sure that there's actually a business benefit to solving a problem or putting a process in. And that depends on actually defining what the business value is and defining what the business ROI might be. And just to be fair to those folks out there who are not acronymic... We have like a million acronyms here at Salesforce. But return on investment, right? If we're going to invest the time and resources to do this thing, will we get a benefit back? And what is that benefit? And does this actually solve our problem, right? Now you said you don't have a framework, but this to me sounds like a great framework, René.

René Winkelmeye...: I'm not sure if it's a framework, right? There needs to be a structural... I feel a lot that comes back to the time when I was a business process consultant, where it was really about... That's like, what, 12, 30 years ago, where I was organizing loan departments and service centers and banks, and really trying to make those people who worked there and, also, the companies transparently successful and efficient and effective. That was not only like, oh, here's a consultant. Here's my predefined concept. That's how you're going to do that. Right? It was really sitting together with those people and doing what you really do, right? You interview people, you do the on-the-job observations, all that stuff that you do to really understand on how it goes. And then workshop with them for often weeks on really, how could the new shape look like, right? This is really the common approach to say... I had no idea about some of their business, period. Right? But I had to know how to steer the group to actually come to a hopefully good result, right?
And this is maybe also a question on what you actually want to achieve with whatever you want to govern, right? Do you just want to spark the idea and hopefully have some ownership in that and bring those people who would be affected together? Or are you really part of the process, right? Because I think this, also, can be a totally different approach, right? Currently, I'm having a project internally, where I'm super excited about, right? I have a good part of ownership. I'm not the SME in many areas and that's great, right? Another area I am also really invested because it affects my own work and this can be a totally different approach that you will take on that. It still needs to be this open conversation and bring those who will do the work together. That's what it is, if you have the opportunity transparently, right? Because sometimes you have to fulfill some compliance, right, that ends in some governance and you just don't have a chance also.

J. Steadman: Sure. Sure. There is so many ideas that you've touched on in that response, right? So this idea that you've just introduced, sometimes you are involved actively, right? You've actually got a hand in things and sometimes you're just there to kind of help facilitate conversation, right? Facilitator as opposed to doer or being the glue of a conversation, trying to help connect people together so that a problem can be solved versus being a subject matter expert who may actually be hands on in crafting what the solution is, that speaks to this idea of flexibility, right? Being open enough to know when you can step back, when you can step forward, hearing when there is an opportunity for you to be the subject matter expert, hearing when there is an opportunity for you to step back and listen a little bit more and connect somebody, who's a subject matter expert with somebody else who might be able to assist in crafting the solution.
I think that this speaks to a kind of approach toward work. There's a lot of wisdom in that, right? And I think that Salesforce admins can really take advantage of this kind of conversation approach as well, right? We are very often subject matter experts, but we're in a lot of conversations where we might just need to connect people together or facilitate some conversations. We're not always in a place where we have the most power in the room, for example, in terms of decision-making authority. But that doesn't mean that we can't positively impact a solution that's chosen or introduce some considerations. I really like this idea of letting your role in a room shift based on what our mutual objective is in the room. I think that that's a really great perspective and a really great way to think about how we overcome these challenges that we're facing. I do have a question for you. In terms of the... You introduced this idea that I love and something that we're talking a lot about here on the admin EV team. We talk a lot about-

René Winkelmeye...: EV team? EV? EV-

J. Steadman: Evangelists. Evangelists.

René Winkelmeye...: No acronyms. We just learned that. Thank you.

J. Steadman: Thank you. Thank you.

René Winkelmeye...: We don't say problem.

J. Steadman: René, thank you. I really appreciate you highlighting these things and bringing them to my attention. That's very kind of you.

René Winkelmeye...: You're welcome.

J. Steadman: There's that sound effect again. We talk about the idea of observation, right? Like user observation, so that we can ride along with our users, understand what they're trying to do day by day, week by week, so that we can use that information that we gather in order to maintain, enhance our Salesforce instance. And you brought up the idea that, as a consultant, you could ride along with a stakeholder for sometimes weeks, right? And as a consultant, I found myself in a similar situation, right?
Like the whole purpose is, let's come in, let's observe. And after the observation, then we can start to put together a solution. But that observation, it costs time. It costs money. How do you balance that, right? Because the business very frequently is like, yo, we don't have all the time in the world. We have our business priorities. We really need this next month or next week or tomorrow. So how do you manage that expectation in terms of delivery versus taking the time that you need to discover the things that you need to know so that you can even make a solution that solves the problem or the challenge?

René Winkelmeye...: I love this sound on my mobile phone.

J. Steadman: I'll send you an audio clip.

René Winkelmeye...: Amazing. Thank you. I'm not sure if I have a really good answer on that transparently. I think it really comes to the point on where I feel that I have enough information or I have the room for that. It also comes up to being open and transparent and to say, okay, if we do this, we will do that with less information than we should have to make an educated decision. Right? If you're grown up, you should be able to do that, definitely. Even if you sometime think you should not, depending who has requests, but I always felt empowered for whom and who I worked with to say, yeah, but we can do this, but we should not. And potentially just wait, which is sometimes not an option also, right? And then we just have to juggle along.
I think there's no perfect formula on how to solve this, but if you feel strongly that it is not the right thing to do at this point in time and you will need three more days or two weeks to actually be able to provide a real good solution, I know it's something that is hand wavy, then you should speak up. Right? I think this is what everyone appreciates, right? Because sometimes those who demand change, they may not have the whole picture, right? It's like, oh, we've got to do this. And sometimes it's also fine just to juggle along, right? And just to do it tomorrow with it back in your head that you will change it and format anyway, right? It's like sometimes in software development or in general is, you accept technical debt because you will know it will change in a certain time.

J. Steadman: Yes.

René Winkelmeye...: Right?

J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: That's also buying in the risk, right? It's like, okay, we've got to do it now. And then we have a better business outcome and we're going to change it for even better in four month. Right? So it's an interim solution and that's totally fine.

J. Steadman: I'm hearing so many of the ideas that you're talking about interacting with one another, right? In full disclosure for everyone that is listening, when we came together for this conversation, A, all of the questions that are being posed here, they're totally spontaneous. And B, we don't have any answers written down. So when René is like, huh, I don't have an answer for that, that's because I've totally ambushed René with a variety of questions that I think are just interesting to explore. And I don't even have an answer in mind myself, right?
So I love that you started this part of the conversation out with like, hey, I don't know if there's a great answer for this. What we should do is approach these conversations with transparency, with honesty. And I actually want to call back some of the things that you've previously listed out, René. If we're going to go ahead and do a ride along, right, if we're doing our user observation, if we're talking to business leaders, it's really important that we stay data driven, we're collecting information so that we're better informing the challenge statement, right? And so if somebody comes to us and says, yo, time for observation is finished, we can then take whatever it is that we found at a certain point and we can say, yes, I agree, or I don't agree. And here's why, right?
And the benefit of having recorded that works both ways. If it's time to move, to actually designing and building your solution, you've got great documentation for what you need to get something built. If it isn't time and that's what you're representing back to whoever is making the decision and they tell you, well, thank you for presenting that. Too bad we need to move forward anyway, you've just documented, as René called out, the debt that you're going to have to pay off later, right? You've become aware of that thing, that down the line, you're going to have to go back to the risk that you have accepted. And I love this idea that really all you're doing is you're being a vessel for what you've discovered, right? And you're trying to interfere with that as little as possible. You want to enhance it and make it better, but you want to stay transparent. You want people around you to know the facts so that all of us are making the best decision.
I've really enjoyed this conversation and I'm taking a look at time and I feel like we're probably at a good point to end for the pod this time around. But, René, fair warning. I think that there's more to discuss around this topic sometime in the future. So you may find that I come knocking again, sometime in the very near future.

René Winkelmeye...: Only if you promise to never say the word problem again.

J. Steadman: I can promise to try my best, to raise my awareness, to abolish the word problem from my vocabulary.

René Winkelmeye...: It'll take time. I can tell you from my own experience, right? But yeah, I believe in you.

J. Steadman: Just being transparent with you. I can try. I'm just being transparent. I'll try.

René Winkelmeye...: Thank you. I believe in you.

J. Steadman: Well, admins, thank you so much for sitting through our conversation and joining us today. I always love the opportunity to sit down and chat with y'all. If you have any questions, thoughts, concerns, things that we missed, things that you think, please do reach out to us on social. We are on Twitter. I am on Twitter. René is on Twitter. And we want to hear from you. So please do reach out to us.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, it was great to have J and René on the podcast. Wasn't that a fun conversation? Boy, they know a lot. I took a lot from that conversation. I think a few things tongue in cheek, it's a challenge, not a problem. So let's look at things that way because problem does feel negative. And I think it's very important to consider governance is important, the people as the process. I really enjoyed that topic. I hope you enjoyed this conversation. I thought it was neat. I'm trying to introduce different and unique content to the podcast. So let me know your opinions. Feel free to tweet us out. And of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to to find more resources.
Hey, we got some podcast swag on the Trailhead Store. So be sure to pick that up. I've got the link in the show notes. And as Jay mentioned on the show, of course, you can stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. You can give Gillian a follow. She is @gilliankbruce. And of course, I am @MikeGerholdt. I'll also include the links to J and René, who you can give them a follow on social as well. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Governance_with_J._Steadman_and_Rene_Winkelmeyer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT