Op-Ed: Three traps of too much experience

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We all know, that experience is necessary for being a great professional or passing the CTA. In my opinion, too much experience can be a trap. Being very experienced can make you rely on old knowledge, experience and hinder your openness to listen.  All the following apply to project works as well as the CTA journey.

Personal note: I’m painfully aware that all the following traps apply to me. The text is as much for you as it is a reminder to myself. I think, there’s no way I can always avoid these traps. I try (and probably fail) to emulate people like Gaurav or Doina. Both are legends in their field but stayed humble and eager to learn.

Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion and is based on my limited experience with CTAs. While I discussed the topic with several people, I cannot guarantee to be correct for everyone and every situation.

“It’s not if the smartest or most experienced who succeeds, it’s the one who sits down and studies.”

By an anonymous CTA


What happens to one, if you are an industry veteran, a highly respected expert? You have been the smartest in the room for years?

No matter what you do, it goes to your head. Slowly you start to think, that you already know everything that’s to know and you think you are right all the time.

That’s a recipe for disaster.

1) Outdated knowledge

If you have been around for a long time, you have a lot of knowledge from the past. Unfortunately, a lot of that knowledge is old and outdated. It’s almost impossible to keep up with all new development.

That’s even made worse by our tendency to remember the hands-on experience better than theoretical “Release-Notes” knowledge.

While a certain feature might have been not available years ago, what makes you sure it’s still not available. The same can even happen the other way around, some features never made it over to Lighting and you recommend something that’s not there anymore.

Relying on old Salesforce knowledge can be very dangerous.

Take-Away: Don’t trust your Salesforce knowledge older than 2 years and keep up with releases notes.

2) Applying commonly used before best-practices

We all apply best practices every day. We rely on them to make good decisions for our customers and users. The Salesforce ecosystem develops at a rapid pace.

Best practices change all the time. While ETL and Data synchronization was all the rage some years ago, API-led, a synch event-based integrations are the new go-to solution for most system integrations.

First the good news, your answer based on commonly used before best practices is not wrong and still might work, it’s just not optimal anymore. Furthermore, best practices change slower than features themselves.

Take-Away: Keep up with evolving best practices through the community and publications and have a look outside the Salesforce world

3) “Know it all”

To learn, to change, you have to be open and listening. If you are one of the best in your company, team or even industry, maybe even considered a legend, that necessary openness might be reduced. It becomes harder and harder to listen to people less experienced than yourself or even go back and re-learn things are supposed to already know.

From my experience, some of my best CTA students have the least experience. These less experienced students are the ones with the most openness to learn, to change, to sit down and study.
The trap of “Know it all” is in my opinion the most dangerous trap while the hardest to avoid.

Take-Away: Make sure you always do something, where someone else is better than you.


Thanks, Melissa Sheppard, Sergey Erlikh and Waruna Buwaneka for supporting me with that post.