Mr. Graforium’s Wonderful #AwesomeAdmin RPG Application

There were a number of quiet days of contemplation as I wrapped up 2016.  I spent that time building the first iteration of my RPG (Role Playing Game) #AwesomeAdmin App.  This post is meant to briefly describe how this app has come together.  Even better, all of this was developed in Lightning!  Your thoughts and feedback will be a huge help as I develop this further.  My goal is to have something solid and perhaps used by a few people at Dreamforce this year.

Before I get into the mechanics, let me introduce you to the concept.  I have been employing a productivity technique inspired by Chris Hardwick’s “The Nerdist Way”.  The idea is to treat your life as a Role Playing Game.  By that, I mean you gain Experience points (EXP) for all actions.  The accumulation of experience builds to higher and higher levels in six separate categories.  The gamifying aspect is the increasing volume of experience points required to continue leveling up.  These categories are where the app gets subjective, and I’m completely interested in discussing other’s interpretation.

So what are these categories that make up a well-rounded #AwesomeAdmin?  I’m so glad you asked.  In no particular order, an Admin levels up in Work, Career, Family, Self, Giving-Back and Ohana.  Some of these are obvious and others tend to overlap.  What I find interesting is how an Admin Action can be interpreted in a number of different ways, and in turn can be manipulated for greatest gain; but in the end you are accountable only to yourself.

At the core of this application are two Objects.  Level Up and the Child Object AdminAction.  Each AdminAction Record is where we are logging basic tasks completed.  These records calculate how many Experience points are gained based on a few variables.  I’ll get to that formula shortly.  The Master-Detail Relationship is important because we want to get Roll-Up Summaries to the Level Up record.

So what fields are important for calculating the EXP Points you gain?  We want to be able to quickly create these AdminAction records, so the number of fields need to be reduced to the bare minimum.  At the same time we want to give more credit for actions that demand more effort.  For example, an Awesome Admin should get more Experience for writing a blog over reading a blog.  Let’s take a look at the input fields.

There are two other Input fields to help with review and reporting.  Date simply defaults to Today() and Description allows us to…  well that’s pretty obvious isn’t it?

Now we can get into the fun stuff!  Let’s talk about Formulas!!!

Start with 10 points per Admin Action.  Time Expended is a direct variable, but the longer we spend on one task returns a lower multiplier.  The idea behind this is that we grow less productive the longer we stay on a task. The Outcome of “Consume” or “Create” returns a separate multiplier at a 4 to 10 ratio.  Read over my formula and let me know how you would build it.  Are my numbers fair?

The Attribute Experience Points are separated into six fields at the AdminAction level for easier reporting.  Here is the basic formula that is repeated for each attribute: Career, Family, Giving Back, Ohana, Self & Work.

Moving up the ladder, we see these Experience Points rolled up into the Level Up Parent record.  We have six fields that simply roll up the EXP for each Attribute.  Once we have the total EXP for an Attribute, we can figure out our Level in that particular area.  Just like in Dungeons & Dragons, each level gets progressively harder to reach.  My formula here only gets you to level 30.  Do I need to go further?  Is the progression too harsh?

So now we have six attributes and six separate Levels.  By the way, when you Level Up… Celebrate!  You deserve it.  So how do we figure out our absolute Admin Level?  This one is simple, or at least it should be.  Just take the average of each of your Attribute Levels.  If only it were so easy.

FIE!  FIE ON YOU, COMPILED FORMULA CHARACTER LIMIT!!!!!

Alright, let’s calm down.  There is always a way around an obstacle.  We just need to step back and the path will appear.  How about a Process Builder?

  • Start the Process when an AdminAction is created or edited.
    • Criteria to Execute is when this formula evaluates to be true:
      • OR(ISNEW(),
      • ISCHANGED([AdminAction__c].Attribute__c) ,
      • ISCHANGED([AdminAction__c].Outcome__c ) ,
      • ISCHANGED([AdminAction__c].Time_Expended__c ))
  • Update the Level Up record.
    • Admin Level = ([AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Career_Level__c + [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Family_Level__c +
    • [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Giving_Back_Level__c + [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Ohana_Level__c +
    • [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Self_Level__c + [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Work_Level__c ) / 6

Pretty Straight forward.  We will need to create the single Level Up record to attach all of our AdminActions.  Be as silly here as your grown-up self will allow.  Mine is called “THE BIG GAME”.  This new record will give us our Admin Level.  When you level up here, a real Celebration is justified.  If you think leveling up an attribute gets tough, it is immeasurably more difficult to bump up the Admin Level.  Actually, it is not immeasurable.  It is very measurable.  It is exactly 6 times harder.  Looks like I got busted speaking in hyperbole again.

So we have the guts to the app pieced together.  Let’s polish up this Tin Man into a shiny UX.  We want to be able to quickly log an AdminAction, preferably from our Salesforce1 app.  Here are some steps I took to get the best bang for our buck.

  • Set up a List View for the Level Up Object. Unless you are getting creative, you will only need one Level Up Record, so the list view filter can be as simple as you like.  The important thing is to include all the Level Fields as columns on this list view.
  • Create an Action on the Level Up Object. This Action will create an AdminAction.  Keep it simple by only including the required fields for the AdminAction: Outcome, Attribute, Time Expended and the Description.  I got fancy by including an Icon (a D20, of course) and an encouraging message to myself every time I log a new AdminAction. 
  • For a bit of extra knowledge, we need a report, or more specifically, a chart to show us our progress. I built one showing my total time expended throughout the week.  I LOVE how we can set a reference line, by the way.  It gives me a goal to aim for each day.
  • Now we need to piece it altogether on a Lightning Page. Add a Filter List component for the Level Up list view.  Also add Report Chart using the pretty report you set up showing your progress.  Set the Page up as your default when you log into your org.

So how does it look?  Anything like mine?  I assume not.  I’ve used this Dev Org for a while and there has been some additional branding that I’ve applied.  One of the aspects that I didn’t know about immediately was a quick action slide.  If you slide your Level Up record to the left, you have access to your Actions, including the Create AdminAction you made earlier. 

I truly hope this was a fun exploration for you.  I have loved building it and I’m eager to see it evolve into something larger.  I want to know what you would do different.  I want to know what you would add to make yourself a better #AwesomeAdmin.  Do you have questions about what constitutes a Career Action over a Work or even Ohana Action?  Let’s talk.  Let’s create something.  Let’s all Level Up!

 

Nerdforce #30 – To the WIT Cave

We got the chance to bring back Guest Accomplice Kristi Guzman and she came with her new Podcast Co-host Melinda Smith.  We had such a great time that we keep the meter running for an extra episode.  To catch the second half, you better subscribe to the Two WIT Podcast.  This new podcast is one of the most engaging new shows to my feed in some time.  We had a great time.  I hope you do as well!

Nerdforce #29 – That Pretend Ninja Phase

Nana and I hang out with one old friend and one new Guest Accomplice.  This is the format we are aiming for future episodes, so let us know what you think.  Dale Ziegler introduces to us his good friend Amber Battershell.  Amber very recently took to Trailhead to learn about all the great things in the Salesforce world.  We learn how enthralled she gets when faced with a puzzle and her first foray into a good sized Salesforce Roll-out.

Nerdforce Presents – Dungeons & Dreamforce Part 2

With the help of some generous donations to Extra Life, the heroes of #D&DF16 gained some very helpful toys. It was lucky they did as well, because evil had deep pocketed benefactors as well. Kriv, Brunhilde, Zaob and Datatello battled some eight legged foes in the dingy halls of this lair. Stay to the end to hear of some dramatic cameos!!!!

Nerdforce #27 – The Pre-Dreamforce Show 2016!!!

This is a short episode with me jabbering on about all the fun we have had putting together NerdforceCon and all the fun things to do at Dreamforce this year.  Wait to the end for a special treat.

Nerdforce #24 – #NerdforceCon & Things

This week Nana and I discuss all the detail about our #NerdforceCon Fund-drive.  Be sure to check out the Nerdforce Page on the entire ordeal.  We walk through some of the toys in the #Dreamcrate and I gush about D&DF16.  There is a chance to participate and get involved, so let us know your thoughts.  If you have the perfect item for the #Dreamcrate, let’s make it happen.  All together, we have had a blast this year with the Nerdforce podcast and all the wonderful people involved.  It is fair to say that the community has been very gracious to our nerdiness.  Thank you.

GrabBag01 – Seriously! Click Here!

GrabBag02 – This One Too!

GrabBag03 – You can’t click those two and not this one!

Nerdforce # 23 – Wicked Dance Party!

This week, we sit down with the one and only Mr. Benjamin Bolopue @sfdcgeek . Between the three of us, we nearly have a dozen kids.  Obviously, we talk about how we pass on our nerdy hobbies on to the next generation.  Let me be honest with you.  Talking to Ben is enthralling and consuming.  After we wrapped the session, we talked for another 40 minutes.  If you get the opportunity to have conversation, don’t let it pass you by.  All of the GrabBags are personally selected by our Guest Accomplice this week, so take an adventure and see where it leads.

GrabBag01, GrabBag02, GrabBag03, GrabBag04, GrabBag05, GrabBag06, GrabBag07, GrabBag08, GrabBag09, GrabBag10, GrabBag11

Nerdforce #21 – Apex and the Chaos

I had the honor of recording with Apex and the Limits.  This was amazingly fun.  I’ll let the episode speak for itself.  Enjoy!

GrabBag01, GrabBag02, GrabBag03, GrabBag04, GrabBag05, GrabBag06

The Resurgence of a Business Process #1

Twice a year, everyone in my company makes a pilgrimage back to HQ to review and realign our objectives.  We are a burgeoning mid-sized company of enthusiastically dedicated and intelligent people.  When you collect a few dozen of these passionate personalities into a conference room for a week, you can learn a lot about your company’s processes.  One of the sentiments that struck me with pangs of frustration was, “We discussed this topic last December, and I’m not interested in discussing this now if we will just wind up repeating ourselves again next December!”  This may sound like a whiny interjection, but he’s right.  Why haven’t we resolved the situations identified 6 months ago?

In preparation for this meeting I reviewed the illustrated process from December and compared it to the process of today.  The changes were minor if not trivial.  This is maddening because I knew I did do things over the last few months.  Where did all my hard work go; where are the fruits of my labor?  Studying my notes and my closed Business Process (BP) Tasks I found that much of my work was stymied by a general disinterest from my colleagues.  Is “Disinterest” the right word?  How about insignificance; my colleagues found the Business Process updates to be insignificant and in turn gave them little attention.  This creates a self-fulfilling prophesy as an ignored Business Process is irrelevant.  Weird how that works out, right?

Let’s not beat up my reluctant coworkers just yet.  They are just as busy as I am.  When you are putting your nose to the grindstone, it can’t be easy to turn your head to see what the next guy is doing.  I need to get their attention.  To get the buy-in needed to make real progress, I need an internal Marketing Campaign.  This may be hard to believe, but many Nerds such as myself struggle with social interactions.  Even in this very Blogpost, I am leveraging my skills from high school drama class to pretend to be someone daring enough to express his bold faced opinion to the entire interweb.

So what can be done?  How do I proliferate the work of my one-man department to a level of productivity beyond expectations?  Through the conversations I had with my colleagues I’ve determined I can do better at instigating interdepartmental communication.  The BP Department needs to moderate conversations about steps of improvement.  I also need to promote further education about the current processes.  My work needs to be not only documented but prominently on display.

Over the next couple of blog posts, I will recant my journey of building a BP Documentation Wiki.  Most of my guidance will be coming from Amber Boaz’s webinar “How to Create Awesome Documentation”.  I strongly encourage all of you to look into this.  You will also hear of my journey to up my game on internal marketing through a series of meetings I’ll organize referred to as “BP Collaboratives”.  The third leg to this journey (and the Nerdiest leg of them all) will be how I am doing all of this by leveraging a Dungeons & Dragons style motivation technique found in Chris Hardwick’s “The Nerdist Way”.

So, I get it… that last thing came from way out in left field.  You are likely wondering if we are even in the Realm of Administrators anymore.  If you trust in the power of Nerd, I believe I can relate how a Solo Admin can begin changing the world through a D&D Character Tome.

Let me leave you with one of my favorite ancient Greek quotes that is a lesson in both physics and determination.

ArchimedesTwistGive me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.  – Archimedes

 

Nerdforce #17.0 – Blazin the Nerd Trail: Getting Started with Apex Triggers

This week we have something unique from Productions.  We invited the Architect himself, Mr. Adam Olshansky.  We had a fantastic conversation about all the Nerdtasticly Amazing things on this globe.  We also Blazed another Nerd Trail as Adam walked us through Getting Started with Apex Triggers. This is where it gets odd.  Some gremlin stole away into my recording software and neatly removed any evidence that I was actually there.  It sounded like Adam and Nana were having a good chat but intermittently stopping in thoughtful reflection throughout the discussion.  I’m afraid the nerd talk had to go, but I was able to rescue the Blazed Nerd Trail.  We are now all lucky enough to walk through a fantastic Trail that is an excellent first step into the Salesforce Dev World.  O…one last thing, Nana and Adam turn into androids half way through the recording.  Anyway, Enjoy the show.

GrabBag01 , GrabBag02 , GrabBag03 , GrabBag04 , GrabBag05 , GrabBag06