Passed your L2 exam? Now what?!

edited August 2023 in Blog

Author: Hillary Sich is a Certified Master Anaplanner and Consultant Manager at Allitix.

P.L.A.N.S. is the underlying guide to building a good model — and following these model building best practices will insure you're building the best model!
If you've passed your L2 test and are diving into work, here are some additional hints I've learned to keep your Solution Architect happy.

Use notes!

  • Lists: Describe what the list is used for
  • Modules: Describe what the module does, relationship to other modules, and unique functionality
  • Actions: Add more details than in the Action title
    • Functionality
    • If temporary, when to remove from the model
    • Run frequency
  • Line items
    • Use in development to copy formulas to as a temporary holding spot when troubleshooting
    • Line item specific functionality
    • Development notes

Adding line items

  • Format before function — Always set the line item format before adding a formula.
  • Set the summary method to NONE as a best practice, then update as necessary for model function. Keeps cell count optimal by only using sum method when needed.

Clean up after yourself!

(The model is not your childhood bedroom!)

  • Remove unused line items
    • Check to see if the line item is referenced by any other line item in the model
      • If not, check to see if the line item is used as a filter in a dashboard
      • A little tedious, but worth the effort depending on the number of cells in the line item
  • Organize actions immediately — you will forget what the action is for by tomorrow!
    • Use consistent naming conventions
      • i.e. – Update list from DH view (this tells the next model builder what the action is used for)
    • Organize ALL actions into a process
      • Use a numbering system to indicate which actions belong to which process
        • Process: 1 Update from Data Hub
        • Actions: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 with descriptions
    • Delete any unused actions
    • Saved views
      • Delete unused saved views as you go
      • If unsure if a saved view is used in the model, do not delete!
      • Name saved views used in testing with “test” in the name to easily identify the view for later clean up

Did you get the result you expected?

(Troubleshoot along the way.)

  • Dashboard early and often — this is the best way to see results from the eyes of the end user
  • Drill down is your friend
    • Sometimes the best way to see the error in a formula is by looking at the underlying data, not the formula
  • It is all about the dimensions (when it is not about the data)
    • Triple check the dimensions referenced in a module/line item to insure all dimensions have a match or a Lookup

Those pesky zeros

Zeros in source data do not overwrite corresponding values in Anaplan.

  • Consider a clear import action before importing new data
  • Always use line items formatted as “No Data” for clear actions. These lines do not take up any space in the model and accomplish the goal of erasing all existing values in the target module.


In conclusion, don’t get discouraged when you stub your toe in development. Anaplan is a powerful tool with functionality that extends well beyond what is taught in L1 and L2 model building training. Keep learning more each day. The best advice is to reach out for help rather than spinning on a formula. Use the Anaplan Community, Partner resources, and resources within your company to keep moving your knowledge forward!

Any tips you would add? Happy building!


  • I like '(The model is not your childhood bedroom!). Good article 👍️