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tldr: I'd like to just put every user in the same role, but I'm not sure what consequences that'll have besides messing up role-based sharing, which we don't really use. What else could be impacted?

Our role hierarchy is a bit of a mess, it was implemented by some consultants but really doesn't fit the business at all. It has way too many roles in it, but we're actually a pretty small company. We also have every object set to "Public Read/Write" in the sharing settings, and always want everything to show up on all reports (unless the report criteria excludes it, of course).

It causes all sorts of confusion with reporting, for example:

  • users who were created without roles regularly don't show up in reports, leading to some angry salespeople
  • sometimes people don't select the top level of the "Role Hierarchy" for a report and wonder why it's calculating totals incorrectly
  • even worse is when those two things happen, nobody notices, then someone makes important decisions based on those reports. This is the bit that freaks me out

I'm wondering if we can just put everyone in the same role and be done with it?

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The role hierarchy doesn't make sense for all orgs. You might be in one of those situations. Ideally, you might even not use a role at all; Salesforce is quite happy with no users having a role, especially if your organization hierarchy is flat enough that this makes sense. You can also put all users in to a single role, as you propose, which will probably solve your problem. Fortunately, this sort of thing is mostly easy to undo if you make a mistake, so you can experiment with it. You might want to use a Sandbox to test the proposed changes, if you have one available, before making the changes in production, but it sounds like it shouldn't be a major problem with your current situation. You can revisit this idea in the future if your organization model gets complicated enough to warrant it, but I wouldn't stress too much over the details. If you think it's right for your org, it probably is.

  • Excellent, thanks! Is it really possible to get rid of roles entirely, though? Wouldn't dashboards and such still need to have a role level selected, or does this disappear when no roles exist? – Matt Wanchap Jun 5 '19 at 6:25
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    @MattWanchap The system always requires a role to exist, but for users, they are technically optional. Given the two choices, I'd say you probably want to put all users in the same role, as it may facilitate things in the future, but your mileage may vary. Try both, each in a sandbox, and see which one works better for your use case. You can always change it later if you change your mind. – sfdcfox Jun 5 '19 at 6:29
  • There are definitely org configurations that require roles to be assigned, at least to certain users. A common problem when no role is set is the "portal account owner must have a role" error. I suggest you do a search on that error to read more about it. – Phil W Jun 5 '19 at 6:56
  • @PhilW Totally agree. My recommendation would be a single role rather than no role at all, mostly because of future use, like you said, but for a really small, simple org, might not matter too much in the beginning. – sfdcfox Jun 5 '19 at 7:02

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