Tips & Tricks Learned From 1,000 Salesforce Projects

04/02/2019 by Katharine Atwood
May these tips we’ve learned from completing 1,000 Salesforce projects help you take your next project from successful kick-off to confident close.

Arkus hit the 1,000 client projects completed mark this month and amid milestone celebrations, we surveyed our team of project managers to gather our top project finishing secrets. If your company or organization is considering a Salesforce project, or already has one underway, this list is for you. The tips and tricks we've compiled here are about more than how to get quickly to a close. These are the critical components in the recipe for lasting success. Before we dive into tip details, we'll share some of our results:

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Arkus practices a unique lean and agile model that works well for us and for our clients. Read more about why we stick to our project methodology in this post. Knowledge and methods will also only take you so far when it comes to long term success. A good bit of our magic is made possible because of years of experience and lessons we’ve learned in practice. Are you ready to go from dreaming to getting your project done? These are the things Arkus’ project managers say make all the difference.  

Start With Why

Most organizations choose to enlist the help of a consulting partner and Project Manager when it comes to Salesforce. Crystal Saetern’s tip is to know the "why" and be able to articulate that along with your "what"  early on. It will save you a lot of time when working with a partner. Your Project Manager will ask you questions to help find areas to improve efficiency and how Salesforce might be able to help you, but only you will have a clear understanding of what you want to do and why you want to do the thing you're requesting for your organization. Once you can articulate the "why" and the “what”, your Project Manager can help you figure out the "how".

Prepare With Documentation

7x certified Peter White’s tip is also about how time spent planning before a kick off will save time long-term. It’s important to gather or create current processes with end-to-end steps in documentation. Keep it simple: use a bulleted list. Identify areas where you will need a subject matter expert and have them begin the same exercise. Prioritize the specific situations where the process could be potentially used and ask yourself if this is needed for day one or might be best to tackle later. Define any acronyms or organization-specific terms. Think about how you are going to present all of this to the project team during the requirements stage. Remember, you are doing a knowledge transfer to someone outside the organization.

Share Your Plan

Along with gathering documentation, Berkeley Baker recommends drawing out a plan for how your multiple systems should coexist once they are brought together in your migration to Salesforce. Include what each different department should be able to see and do, and share this plan internally at the start of the project. It will allow everyone to chime in and verify if all things have been considered. You can never be too sure what was missed if operations were formerly siloed.

Iterate Accordingly

9x certified Ryan Owens’ simple and critical tip is to not try to bite off too much within one phase. Take things one step at a time and iterate accordingly while always keeping the big picture in mind.

Make Lightning Strike Faster

Hayley Tuller’s tip is all about efficiency. Because Lightning caches pages in the client’s browser to speed up the user experience, she spent ages hard reloading pages before learning you can switch this feature OFF.  From Setup > Session Settings > Caching, deselect ‘Enable secure and persistent browser caching to improve performance’ will load your changes immediately.

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Just remember to switch it back on. It’s an org-wide setting, so you’ll want to restore this performance optimizing feature when you’re done building in Lightning.

Communicate

With 6 years of Salesforce experience, Scott Searle has taken many projects from start to successful completion. He stresses the necessity of effective communication as key for everything. When you make a commitment, meet the deadline with the information you agreed on or be in touch and renegotiate. If there is no work to be done or you need more time to formulate a longer reply, send a quick update instead of nothing.

Meet with Caution

Jason Atwood throws in a tip and an old Arkus favorite, “No standing meetings”. It can be tempting to set aside time every week to check-in, but those should happen as needed in a more agile manner. The number, length, and frequency of meeting should shift based on where you are in the project. There will be times where meeting multiple times a week is needed and others where there are no meetings scheduled. It is also human nature to wait for the meeting to provide the update, or do the work, artificially slowing down the project. Meetings are for reviewing work and making decisions, not for doing work. Always consider if that meeting can be replaced by a quick email, phone call or other communication to keep the ball moving.

Get Hands On

Samantha (Sam) Safin is a Salesforce MVP, former teacher, former admin, and full-time polymath and knows collaboration makes all the difference. Any system your company implements will only be successful if it’s used, and that means being involved. When working with any partner, it can be tempting to let them do the work - they’re the experts, and they know what they are doing with the platform better than you. But what they don’t know better than you is your company, your culture, or your processes. The best way to know if what you’re building together will work is to be actively engaged - test out your system, ask questions, learn what they are doing, and you will be better prepared to use and own your system after the project is complete.

Fully Invest

As an organization, you have selected Salesforce to be your CRM platform.  A partner is there to help guide you on a journey to success, however, it’s really you who owns the long term success of it. Ashley Leifer has been a certified Salesforce consultant for 5+ years and learned first hand what works and where the common challenges lie when getting teams set up with the platform. The decision makers' and stakeholders' jobs don’t stop at deciding to sign a contract with Salesforce, instead, that is just the beginning. She recommends thinking through long term how you plan on managing it, owning it, being a champion for end-user adoption, and growing it.

Ask for Help

Even the most together organization can be overwhelmed approaching a complex project. You might have a clear idea of what you want to do, or you may only know the way you’re doing things right now isn’t working. While these tips can help you get an idea of what goes into the project process, nothing can replace having an expert project manager guide you through your own specific project. Ask for help. A good consultant will walk you through each of these tips in action. A great place to learn more about a Salesforce consultant or partner, and find one that will best help you is the AppExchange.

What questions do you have about how to get your projects done efficiently and enjoyably? What is your favorite tip or trick for getting a project done? Leave a comment below, in the Salesforce Trailblazer Community, or tweet at me directly @ktatwd.