This article was originally posted on Mike Speer’s Droppin’ Knowledge blog on 9/1/2018, and is re-posted with his permission.

Back in June 2018, Salesforce rolled out it’s Lightning Champions program with the purpose of building a peer-to-peer community to help foster collaboration and adoption of Lightning within the Salesforce Ohana.  Within a few short weeks, the interest in the program was so great that it was expanded to have two designations: Lightning Activation Champions and Lightning App Dev Champions.

Two days after the initial announcement, a former colleague reached out to ask if I had seen the new program and if I was going to participate.  Ironically enough, all of my project work so far in 2018 had been exclusively based in Lightning: whether it was implementing new orgs for clients, expanding Lightning functionality, or working with existing clients to assess their orgs and evaluate the level of effort required to migrate them to Lightning.  It seemed that kismet was calling and I had to pursue.

Why champion Salesforce Lightning?

One of the first thoughts I had when reading about the program was that this would be a great way to help my current clients move forward through the migration to Lightning.  I could expand my existing knowledge of the platform to ease their transition and provide thoughtful guidance while building roadmaps for conversion.  Immediately, my thoughts changed to how I could leverage the Lightning Champion program to help share the knowledge and give back to my immediate community by increasing knowledge within my team, educating clients, and then reaching out to the local user groups.

For the past few years, I have had a focus on improving the Ohana by making more knowledge available for the thousands of new Salesforce family members, whether they are users, administrators, or developers.  This is just another way to can give back and help others grow.

Walking the Path of a Champion

Regardless of the Champion path you want to follow, the minimum you need to accomplish is completing custom Trailmixes that give you a base level education about each facet of that particular path.  While the Trailmixes are the minimum required, I highly recommend having real world experience working with Lightning.  Learning from hands-on experiences is always the best way to absorb knowledge and rolling up your sleeves reinforces everything.

Luckily, I’ve been a Trailhead junkie and had already completed all modules in the Activation Champion Trailmix when I decided to champion up the first time.   Aside from the modules, the mix includes several helpful resources that are a font of information about Lightning.  I felt I knew a ton about Lightning before reading those resources and my ego was put in check once I dove in.  I realized once again that no matter how much you think you know about Salesforce, there is so much more you either don’t know or have forgotten!

The last step in becoming a Lightning Champion is the Champion Verification Meeting, which is facilitated by an individual at Salesforce.  During this meeting, you go through a mock presentation/Q&A session to prove that you actually know and have worked within Lightning, can speak intelligently about it, and are capable of being an evangelist for Lightning.  Fortunately, I had just completed a migration to Lightning earlier in the year and was in the processes of another Lightning migration assessment.  I was able to speak to the work I had done, some of the troubles the project team and client faced, and how we were able to improve the overall user experience by switching from Classic to Lightning.  I was joined by two other Champions on the call and it was awesome to hear their enthusiasm for Lightning and experiences with it.  It was one of those calls where you can really geek out and get into the details of the Salesforce platform and then ultimately gain some knowledge from others within the Ohana.

On Friday, August 31st, I completed the verification to become a Lightning App Dev Champion.  It followed the same process as the Lightning Activation Champion.  I was lucky enough to have another great verification meeting that allowed me to connect to other Lightning Champions and come away with additional insights I did not previously possess.

Droppin’ Some Lightning Knowledge

Now that I’m a 2x Lightning Champion I am trying to find valuable ways to give back to the Ohana:

  • Writing this blog to increase knowledge of the program and provide some guidance around the process. The more champions, the merrier.
  • Preparing to speak to the Pittsburgh User Group later this year about the migration process.
  • Creating additional Lightning focused blogs on Lightning-only features. There are over 850 features that are only available in Lightning.

Also, during Dreamforce, I’ll be manning a booth in the Admin Meadow on Wednesday, September 26th from 12:00pm – 1:30pm to help folks discuss options for increasing adoption of Lightning.  Stop by so we can talk adoption!

The Heart of a Lightning Champion

As previously mentioned, the program is meant to be a peer-to-peer community to expand knowledge of Lightning and provide support to those in need of either migrating to Lightning or enhancing the user experience within Lightning.  Sounds kind of superhero-ish to me, which is probably why the Lightning Champion mascots are wearing spandex…

It also sounds like another means for the Salesforce Ohana to become stronger by coming together to provide support and guidance to one another while strengthening the community.  That is why I became a Lightning Champion.

Author – Mike Speer
Check out more from Mike Speer on his blog: Droppin’ Knowledge.