Can you describe that for me?

Happy Friday readers! Apologies for last week. I forgot to let you know that FBtF was taking a holiday for a long July 4th weekend. We had some great weather & enjoyed time in the sun. We are back now, and a new Friday brings another blog post, and this is one that I’ve been wanting to write for awhile.

As the long-time readers will know, my first job working with Salesforce was a bit like the wild, wild West. We didn’t use a sandbox to test changes. Trying out new features (like validation rules) were trial-and-error. And we didn’t use the description fields. 

Now at the time, this was fine. There were two system administrators, and we sat about 6 feet away from one and another. If there was ever any confusion about what a field or workflow was intended for, we could just ask. And that was a rare occurrence, because the two of use knew that org Guy with Mapinside and out. For five years, we molded that org into exactly what we needed it to be, and know one knew it better than we did. Eventually, the inevitable happened. We got acquired, and both of the Keepers of Salesforce left the organization.

Since then, I have looked behind the curtain of more Salesforce orgs than I can count. I have started new jobs, done both consulting and volunteer work, and just helped out friends when they were stuck. And what I have come to learn is that those description fields are invaluable. Just as commenting code is a developer best practice, using the description fields should be an admin best practice. As described by my favorite Salesforce instructor, these are love notes to your fellow admins.

I agree that they are time consuming, and we all get caught up in getting work done, so it’s easy to skip over the description field. But my advice to you is don’t. Pay it forward, and maybe, just maybe, when you are in your next new org, you’ll find that someone left some love notes for you too.


2 Responses to “Can you describe that for me?”

  1. It may be a leftover from my days as a buddhist monk, but not only are you leaving love notes to the next admin, never forget that that next admin might be yourself! Sure, there are orgs that I have known inside and out, backwards and forwards, but they (like hobbits to ents) were very small; chances are that you’ll come across a field (or workflow, change set, validation rule, etc.) with no description, start muttering about the incompetence of administrators … and then realize that it was you. Karma, baby!


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