Managing a project inside your Salesforce instance requires a unique set of skills.
It’s no news that being a project manager is a tough gig. You’re the head honcho for the project and the organization is expecting you to get the job done. When it comes to your Salesforce instance, there can be major implications with the project’s deployment.
While I could go on for days on listing out the skills required to successfully manage a Salesforce project, I’d start by becoming proficient in these five skills to create a framework for success.
1. Emotional Intelligence
Being a successful Salesforce project manager requires a good blend of IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence).
There are technical details that require you to use, but your emotional intelligence is what will predominately ensure the success of the project. You’re potentially dealing with executives, large sums of money, strong personalities, people with their own agendas, and deadlines. This level of stress can take a toll on you.
Although a stakeholder might make a suggestion, it might not be feasible or won’t add long-term value to the business. A project manager with a high emotional intelligence will come from a place of understanding, where they’ll recognize the recommendation that was made, and even table it for a future project, but will empathetically convey why it doesn’t make sense to carry out that recommendation at the moment.
With everything that goes into being a project manager, the most important thing to manage first is yourself.
In Peter Drucker’s book, Managing Oneself, Drucker discusses how and when people operate at their best. They should know their strengths, weaknesses, and when they perform at their peak level.
First, learn to manage yourself before managing a Salesforce project. Self-management can be broken down to several sub-skills like organization, communication, and technical knowledge, but it’s up to you to understand what your role entails and what you must do to be successful.
Most importantly, know your bandwidth!
3. Salesforce as a Second Language
The successful project manager should have such an intimate relationship with Salesforce that it would make Mark Benioff jealous.
They should understand the overall architecture of Salesforce — knowing what is possible, how objects interact with each other, the implications of removing fields, and how even making small changes can affect a bigger process.
Salesforce’s Trailhead and Udemy are two good places to build those technical chops. With Trailhead, you can get practical with building projects, or become a specialist with Superbadges. It might not be necessary to have admin-level skills, but when someone is explaining something, you should at least know enough to follow along.
Act tactically but think strategically.
It can be easy to only see what’s in front of you. Tunnel vision on the goal is admirable but detrimental.
Seek to understand the business impact on the project’s nuances. Combing through the details is good. Combing through the details to understand the grand vision is what you should be doing.
A little cliche to add this to the list but it’s worth a mention because as a project manager, your main goal is to lead a team. Managing the project is secondary.
“The P in ‘PM’ is as much about people management than it is project management.” – Cornelius Fichtner
When you’re leading the project, you are the person that has to inspire the team to push towards the goal. If a teammate doesn’t have the resources, you need to get them what they need. If there’s bad news to deliver to the boss, you will be the one to deliver it.
With this responsibility, you also become an unsung hero. If a process is broken, you have to fix it to allow your team to make progress. You might have to do things no one else cares about. And when you’ve reached the pinnacle of the project, you give praise to your teammates.
You are King Leonidas leading your team into battle. Empower them and they will follow you into the ring of fire.
Salesforce project management can be learned. It’s a combination of technical and non-technical skills. The technical skills are necessary to be successful. Although technology is dynamic, it’s not as complex as the human personality. Each person has their own unique skills and ambitions. On top of that, knowing your own personality, strengths, and ambitions will help you lead a team and manage yourself. Honing in all these variables can make you very dangerous in your role.