I usually blog about spreadsheets, but every once in awhile I write about Salesforce. Why should changemakers care about these posts? Well, Salesforce (and other database systems) are basically fancy-shmancy multi-dimensional spreadsheets (with sprinkles, hot fudge and a cherry on top, thank you very much) so there’s a lot to be learned and applied from database scenarios to spreadsheet scenarios.

Anyway, the background info that you might need is that Salesforce has two different “user experiences” (aka how it looks on the screen… and some back end stuff too). The older one is “Classic” and the new one is “the Lightning Experience.” For a long time, certain features weren’t available in LEX so people like me dragged our feet in making the transition. However, Salesforce has proclaimed from the castle that us plebeians need to get it together and move toward LEX!

Lightning Experience is more beautiful, too!

I’ll be perfectly honest – it’s been hard to motivate myself to work on the Lightning Transition at work. I have completed online tutorials, joined an online bootcamp, and even turned on LEX privileges for myself… for months… and I’ve made very little progress. I’ve even struggled with retaining and integrating facts about how LEX works with my current workflows and system understanding. AND I’m fearful that stuff we NEED NEED NEED is going to break in LEX. Ultimately, it’s all fixable, but it’s also going to be a long, intimidating road. So…. so far I’ve gotten off to a slow start.

Spotlight on the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund

Rewind to a few months when I was working with a mentor to create a demo version of Salesforce to support the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund with their data tracking goals. Over a brunch of frittata muffins (thank you Amit, for washing those pans!), I had to face my nemesis and admit my LEX ignorance. We were building in Lightning, and I wasn’t going to slow us down.

Salesforce mascot, Astro, holding their lightening bolt 🙂

The LEX design separates your view into Lightning Pages and Page Layouts and Compact Page Layouts (3 separate things) whereas in Classic, you only update the page in ONE place. This was a concept that I just couldn’t grok until I was IN it, trying to solve a problem, moving information around and getting stuck. That’s when it clicked! I was able to solve the problem when:

  1. I felt passionate about the organization’s mission
  2. I was accountable to real people (not hypothetical LEX!)
  3. I simplified my environment (less stuff can go wrong in a demo version compared to my actual work org!)

Before I knew it, we had “spun up” a demo version of Salesforce in only 2 hours; it was sleek and beautiful, featured the organization’s logo, and best of all? It was all in Lightning!

Spotlight on Amplify

In recent weeks (as I wrote about here), I’ve been working night and day on launching 2019 Amplify Study Groups. And you know what? I had to stare into the LEX void (void of my own knowledge and ignorance) once again. The views that I was used to (hello comfort zone) looked different! It wasn’t easy to configure my settings or find the buttons that I needed. But I persevered. How?

  1. I was working in a team – that helped me feel motivated to rise to the occasion
  2. I knew there wouldn’t be roadblocks because everything I needed to do was “standard” functionality
  3. I could take my time, no need to rush for work deadlines

I think there’s a real risk of “learning your chops” while volunteering for a nonprofit or grassroots org – orgs that deserve expert or at least experienced folks. (And I have seen this go array many times!) But on the other hand (as my friend and mentor Ryan always reminds me) it’s probably not rewarding if you’re not learning. So somewhere, there is a point of balance on the learning spectrum that is ethical for the org and fulfilling for you. And that. That sweet spot? That’s where I’ve grown the most as a LEX user. I invite you to find that spot of your own – with systems and spreadsheets, in your work or volunteer capacities – and commit to your own growth.

I’d love to hear how you’re doing with that journey. Send me an email or comment here! I’m rooting for you!

2 thoughts on “Learning to love (or at least… use) Lightning

  1. Thanks! I’m really struggling with LEX in my own org for many of the same reasons you voiced. It’s good to know I’m not alone and that perseverance will win the day!

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