Admin Commandment #10: An Awesome Admin should sometimes… break the rules!

Rules are made to be broken, right?

But, before you start groaning too much, this isn’t one of those ‘twists in the tale’ where we tell you the only rule is that there are no rules and that the first nine commandments were a waste of your time and can be ignored. Most certainly not – because if we’ve wasted your time in reading them then I’d hate to think how much of our own time we’ve wasted in writing them!

You are in control – of your org, your processes, and your career

It’s more that we believe that these commandments, and any ‘rules’ in general, should be used as a guide rather than as the one true gospel. We firmly believe that these rules set out some important practices that any good admin should know, but we also appreciate that part of being an awesome admin is following your own path. After all, you are in control – of your org, your processes, and your career.

For us, the key thing is knowing what the suggested guidelines are and which rules are there to be followed. After that, when you adhere to them rigidly and when you flex them a little here and there is your call based on your own particular circumstances at that moment.

Disobey Combo

Think about it in terms of learning to drive. Here in the UK the first stage in getting your licence is learning the Highway Code – a set of strict and (usually) clear rules to dictate how you should drive and how you may not. Once you’ve proven you know the rules in theory and can apply them in practice, you’re free to drive.

But of course once you’re on the open road, not everything is quite as black and white as it was on paper. In the real world, there are often shades of grey (I look forward to seeing what kind of visits this site gets after including that phrase). Think about, for example, exceeding the speed limit by 10mph on an empty motorway, versus doing the same thing outside a busy school where there are speed cameras in use. It’s the same indiscretion (and it’s equally as illegal in both scenarios) but they are very different situations with drastically different potential repercussions. Taking the circumstances into account and weighing up the risks and the rewards of your actions, you may sometimes decide that the end justifies the means.

But, hey, let’s not get bogged down in the rules of the road, let’s talk about some particular examples in terms of the commandments we’ve given in this series.

So you want to…

  • …Make a small change to an existing workflow rule directly in production?
  • …Slip behind on reading the release notes due to other time pressures?
  • …Let your users do only what’s in their job descriptions and leave Salesforce to you?
  • …Shy away from the technology side of your company and align purely with the core business?
  • …Spend your precious free time doing things other than attending user groups or responding to tweets?
  • …Give a certain user the ‘Edit Read-Only Fields’ permission?

Well guess what?

It. Is. Fine!

If there’s one thing you should finish this series of blogs knowing about your author, it’s that I covet my neighbour’s ox ALL THE TIME…! (TMI?)

So how will we sum up our series of Awesome Admin commandments?  I think like this:

Learn the rules, and apply them where you can, where there is no good reason not to, and where they benefit you

Learn the rules, and apply them where you can, where there is no good reason not to, and where they benefit you. Just remember that some of that benefit won’t be repaid to you instantly – so you should believe in the delayed gratification that being a good admin will bring. Do the right thing now to get the right reward later.

By all means do things your own way and bend the rules when you need to. Just do so from a strong foundation of knowing the rules and knowing why they’re there. That’s what makes an awesome admin.

Now then, admin, go out there and be awesome!

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