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MVP Office Hours is an event organized by Salesforce MVPs and held roughly every other week. You can find out when the next Office Hours will be on the success community group MVP Office Hours. Office hours is an hour long event for other Salesforce users to call in and ask questions. It’s completely an open forum to ask anything and everything. The Salesforce MVPs do their best to answer the question and help direct the person to an answer if they don’t know right then.
It is a fantastic community support outlet. Sometimes, people just need to talk to an actual person. I’ve been participating in MVP Office Hours as often as I can. This got me thinking. Why not hold an MVP Office Hours for my company? Then I thought, why doesn’t everyone do MVP Office Hours for their company?

But I’m Not a MVP

Au contraire, you are an MVP! You may not be a MVP, but you’re the MVP for your organization! What person know more about the configuration and business processes involved with your Salesforce org than you? You have the expertise to help answer the questions your end users have. You’re likely already doing training and ad hoc support. No excuses!

Why Do Office Hours

I do regular training, why do Office Hours?

Great question. Regular training is a good thing and should be done. Not everyone is going to get their questions answers with training. Many people don’t feel comfortable asking their questions when there are many people in the room (or call). This can be especially true if managers are attending. Training is typically a very narrow scope session. You’re training for specific process or group. Office Hours is more free-ranged based on what user needs to know or having difficulty with.

I have Chatter Answers and a Chatter Group for people to ask questions

Great! You should be having a place for people to come and post questions. Not everyone likes to post questions in that forum and prefer to have the personal touch. Some questions may be too complex or the person may have difficulty explaining the question. Plus the answer may be better provided with a hands-on demo or may need a personalized explanation. That’s challenging to do with only a forum type Q&A.

What To Do

Full disclosure time. I’m still working on implementing this at my own company. This list will be more “what I think I need to do.” I’ll do a follow up “What I learned” once the program is up and running.

  1. Define Scope – With MVP Office hours, MVPs try to split the hour in half. The first part for Admin related questions and the second half for developer type questions. With our Office Hours we have to decide if there are topics we just won’t or cannot cover.
  2. Choose a documentation method for:
    • Questions & Answers– Chances are if someone comes in with a question, more people on that team have the same question! Decide on how you want to track the question and the answer for sharing with the larger group. I’m planning on using an Excel Spreadsheet during the session and the post the questions and answers to a chatter group.
    • Ideas – Let’s face it. Not all attendees will be asking you questions you can answer. The question could be a “Why can’t  I…” or “Can we change…” This is a good thing! You need a place to document what the request and ideas are and who is making that request for future follow up. I’m using Cases for my projects and change management documents. I’m planning on using the same system for tracking these requests.
    • Attendance – This can be any level you want. To begin with, I’m planning on tracking number of people by team. I’m not going to track that Joe Schultz joined, but I do want to track that someone from our Strategic Marketing group joined. I’m going to use these numbers as part of a metric of success
  3. Metrics – I need something to show that investing the time in an Office Hours is a good thing. I already mention tracking numbers of people who attend by team. Other metrics I”m considering:
    • Number of Questions Asked
    • Number of Question with an User accepted answer
    • Number of Ideas or Requests
    • Random Survey of Attendees
  4. Location, Location, Location – I need to book a location. Ideally it’s someplace that can hold more than a few people at once, has access to a big screen for sharing and is easy to find. Most likely this will be a conference room for me.
  5. Date and Time – I need to pick a time that will be convenient for the people who may attend. Not necessarily convenient to me.
  6. Communication Plan – This is key. People won’t know to come if you don’t communicate. I need to include all the above information – except my metrics. I want to be clear what people can come to discuss or ask, that I’ll be posting the Q&A afterwards and of course Where and When the Office Hours will be.

That’s it. Six steps. We can all do six steps right?

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  • Cheryl Feldman

    Hey Brian,

    As promised here are some lessons learned over the 4 years of doing this. Before I get into that let me give you some context. We have several thousand users spread across three regions (Americas, EMEA, APAC). Within those locales we have different business units that have different processes than others. Within each business unit there are various depts (sales, marketing, client support, ops, finance etc etc).

    We originally tried to have one monthly salesforce open house (that’s what we call it) and did it at 8 AM so people from all regions and all business units divisions could join. It was a giant cluster.

    Once my team got bigger about 3 years ago (there are BA’s that report to me here in the US, EMEA and APAC) so they could each hold one. We did them more locally.

    Our open house is the first Wednesday of every month. If that’s a holiday or something like that we do it the following Wednesday. Its at 10 AM local time. Each session is 2 hours and each business unit gets 30 minutes. We broke it up this way because the different divisions don’t really collaborate especially since some are very regulated and the information can’t be shared. However, the groups within these different divisions should be collaborating.

    I’m not sure how your team is setup but I report into technology we have a team out in the business that defines the process for each group (sales ops, product owner, etc). Represented at each of these meetings is someone from technology both BA and Dev as well as someone from the business (specifically for that division to help with process related questions).

    We don’t send out agendas, just a reminder of what time each specific business unit has.

    Anyone from the business unit can come. We used to do agendas but found we never stuck to them anyway and found that if people can bring anything in their time slot they will and it makes it more interesting and helps build our backlog and roadmap.

    As far as communication in the beginning we didn’t get too many people to come sometimes no one would show up. What changed that was we started to put items from this meeting in the release notes. People started to see the value and now we get a lot of people attending these. Its almost like an internal user group. If we did use chatter we could have an announcement, but since we don’t We send out emails via our email marketing system 1 week before the event and the day before the event. We used to make people register, but then people would forget and would think they can’t come if they didn’t register, so we don’t do that anymore.

    Basically we found less structure was better for us.

    I hope this helps and sorry for going on and on!


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