For the past several years, members of the Salesforce Nonprofit Community have gathered together to tackle some of the most chattered about product ideas, issues, and best practices. At this spring’s 8th Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) Sprint, the largest group yet met in Baltimore, MD. The self-deemed “good hearted misfits of the tech world” included Salesforce.org employees, consultant partners, independent consultants, vendors, and the much appreciated: admins and end-users from Nonprofit Organizations.
From cracking insider jokes about deduplication workarounds to sharing heartwarming stories of user adoption and knowledge growth on the platform, the word “Community” never seems so appropriate. Salesforce has often referred to NPSP as an application built by the Community. As we spent 16 hours in 4 break-out groups bouncing around new ideas, drafting documentation, testing configuration adjustments, and verifying possible solutions, 85 members of the Community worked to push the product to the next level.
Each of the 4 groups was set to problem solve some of the biggest frustrations or roadblocks of their subject matter (addresses, leads, roll-up summaries, and deduplication). Throughout the two days, group leads updated the larger group on their group’s progress. By end of day one, all leads seemed to smile as they shared their group’s “ah-hah” moments. Some were realizations that the biggest issues could be solved through thorough documentation, some were reports that the solution actually already existed but wasn’t widely available, and some were pleas for additional resolution support from other members.
The start of day 2 felt a bit daunting as we shared our deliverable goals. Individuals voiced their desires to stay focused, to utilize existing resources, to create something tangible to take home, or to come up with a plan to keep the Sprint Group engaged once back in the field.
Throughout that last day, the group focused on Rollups discovered that instead of the initial goal of documenting all popular and relevant use cases for creating roll-up summary fields and a recommend approach, we’d instead create a decision tree to guide the user to the proper solution no matter their use case. The tree grew and branches broke off as more considerations rose. What about Data Volume? What if you need the summary in real time? What if the records you need to summarize are not directly related? What third party applications are available when standard functionality does not meet the needs? The group went through several iterations of the flow chart before validating its finalized state amongst non-group members. Excitingly, the product is something that will be shared throughout the NPSP Community and hopefully put into practice right away for users.
I can confidently report that each group had draft deliverables ready to be reviewed and redistributed to the Community at large. Each group also recognized the importance of follow-up. Business cards were exchanged, Hub Users were followed, and the Community seemed stronger in its unity, driven by cause and action.
Day 1 had ended with a trip to a local’s favorite museum and group dinner in the harbor. The American Visionary Art Museum displays works from a type of artists that couldn’t have been a better analogy for NPSP Community. Words used to describe the thread in the creative process amongst these artists are “innate personal vision” and “listening to the inner voices of the soul,” and the words describing the artists themselves, “outsider” “self-taught” “intuitive” “visionary” and I might add “misfit.” The NPSP Community is an incredible place for the type of creativity that can make history. My sincere appreciation for all how participated in this, past, and future Sprints. May the Community continue to inspire, support, document, and create a product that serves its members well.
UPDATE: The title of this post was changed since the sprint was held in Baltimore, MD.