A few months back I reviewed Trailhead Salesforce’s new learning platform, after it’s launch at Dreamforce 2014. As I said in my original post, I think the initiative is a great idea and was looking forward to some more content coming online in different areas as well as other little tweaks. I was informed the other day by the team that they had made some updates to the system including new modules so I thought it would be a good chance to experiment and provide some updated review.
The Trailhead team have added some new modules to the system which have addressed some of the concerns I originally voiced over the level of the content - great for beginners but lacking teeth for some more experienced Salesforce users. The team have added modules on “Data Security” and “Change Management” that everyone working with Salesforce should go through as they are (in my humble opinion) two of the cornerstone topics for successful projects on the platform.
The Data Security module goes through the entire point and click sharing/security toolset in a nice layered fashion, starting with an overview and then discussing in turn organisation level settings, object permissions, field permissions, record visibility, role hierarchies and sharing rules with challenges and quizzes to verify that you have taken in the information presented and understood it well.
The Change Management module focusses on how to deploy changes between environments as well as best practices around sandboxes and change sets. I personally really enjoyed the final piece of this module on Governance Frameworks as well. I think a lot of developers on the platform would find this a very useful module to help explain what a governance framework is and how it is useful in ensuring success for large scale deployments. Most organisations I have worked with have followed a familiar pattern whereby a small group of users implements Salesforce for some business function (not necessarily CRM), they build up some surrounding processes and tools using the platform, IT gets interested and realises how much it could help them and finally the organisation makes a strategic decision to move more and more onto the platform. Because of this there are many overlapping business priorities that need to be considered in making sure that this adoption and further deployment can scale well and I think this section of the module in particular highlights the sort of governance and best practices that should be considered, if not already in place, when working on larger organisation deployments.
In my first review one of the issues I mentioned was that some of the challenges had no quiz or challenge at the end. This is now changed with all challenges having either a task to perform in a developer org for validating or a multi-choice quiz to check your knowledge. The quizzes seem to follow the (for many familiar) pattern of the Salesforce certification exams which I think is a great idea. Not only does this provide some validation that people have been correctly reading and understanding the work, but harmonising the questions with the certification exams will help to familiarise more people with the style which can be challenging for people who are undertaking the Salesforce certification for the first time.
This may have already been available as well (either way it is good) but for some challenges a list of related resources is provided linking to Salesforce blog posts, articles and documentation to help people build on the skills they have learnt and investigate further.
I was previously a fan of the Trailhead system and now am even more so. It is great to see the new content being created and coming on along with the additional updates to polish the system overall. If you haven’t tried Trailhead yet you definitely should no matter what your level of experience with the platform. I know personally it helped to refresh a few memories in certain areas as well as teach me a few new things. If any of the Trailhead team are reading this, keep up the good work!