With having been part of 5 Salesforce Sales and Service cloud implementation projects I have realized that customizing the platform to the client’s need is not challenging but the build-up to the production release and approach that the integrator adopts to makes all the difference to have delighted project sponsors and end-users. The implementation that I am considering for the scope of this article can range anywhere between 6 to 16 weeks depending on the complexity of Salesforce lightning components, a number of external interfaces involved for integration with Salesforce and the number of clouds being rolled out (most common are Sales Cloud, Service Cloud or Community Cloud).
We can have a varied school of thought on how to plan for such small duration projects; should it be a complete roll-out of all features or an Agile Development approach where even a 6-week project is divided into 3 sprints of 2 weeks each. With my experience, I can safely say that breaking into multiple sprints will allow everyone to gain a lot more value out of the project as the lightning components and interface integration will evolve with regular feedback from the client. My team scored an average CSAT rating of 9 for the projects we have delivered in the last 1 year. Now let’s take a closer look at the key processes and scrum ceremonies one needs to follow that make the process truly Agile. Please note that one consultant will play the role of PO, Scrum Master, and Project Manager because that helps to have full visibility and control on the timelines for the cloud implementation.
- Requirement Discovery Sessions – This is the foundation stone and often referred to as sprint 0 for the project and generally ranges anywhere from 3 to 5 days of dedicated meetings and workshops at the client side sitting, discussing, and brainstorming the needs of the end-users. The consultant running the workshop as a pre-requisite should have basic knowledge of the CRM domain, a good understanding of the Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, or Community cloud and basic idea about the client’s industry will be an added advantage. The sessions are facilitated with flip charts, whiteboards, and process maps. The consultant should constantly ask the question Why do the customer team understand the pain point before advising and concluding any solution to the customer. This will be a good place to define if any REST/SOAP based Salesforce Integration will be needed or not.
- Define Stories in Jira or tool of your choice- Immediately after the workshops are concluded the consultant should start to document the discussed features with peripheral details into any tool like Jira and define the narrative and acceptance criteria on these stories. Even if the name of the feature is only added, more details can be added later.
- Point Sizing and Team Strength – The PO/Project Manager who facilitated the discovery session needs to competent enough on Salesforce platform to provide the points in a Fibonacci series (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21) to each of the stories put it into Jira. Based on the total points and agreed upon schedule with the client the PO decides on the number of Engineers needed for the whole work. This is typically done by doing a mock/draft release planning with a technical lead and PO making a guess on how many points an engineer can deliver. This part of the project gets better only with practice and experience that you gain in at least two rollouts.
- Backlog Grooming “ This is an ongoing ceremony for the Agile team. We typically spend 60-90 minutes/week for a SCRUM team of 5 to 6 members including developer and quality assurance. The PM/BA puts on the hat of a PO and interacts with the agile team and grooms into each requirement in detail and updates the story with acceptance criteria. The team agrees upon the scope of the stories and call them as ready for development. The grooming sessions are also used to decide on the technical solution to achieve the requirement the decision of configuration versus customization is decided now. It will be beneficial to have a Salesforce architect involved in the session so that the engineers don’t overkill the system with excess of apex coding like triggers, batch classes, and rely on configurations as much as possible.
- Sprint Planning “ This again is an ongoing ceremony that happens at a cadence. Engineers pick up stories as per their understanding and add to the sprint. The assignment of stories should be done with everyone’s consensus considering the engineer’s experience and story complexity.
- Sprint Demo and Retrospective – This phase utilizes the maximum benefit out of Agile Development for Salesforce clouds. The demo is organized by the PO to the stakeholders like the client’s functional users and project sponsor and gets their feedback early and if needed changes can be implemented in the next sprint. This helps the client to have focus throughout the project and hedges the integrator’s risk towards any possible changes coming after all work is done.
I would like to summarize by saying that any process can be used to deliver the same set of things but keep in mind that you need to Adopt a process, Customize the process and finally accept and embrace the process so that you believe in it to ensure your client and team stand with you even if there are some challenges thrown your way in the implementation. Finally, don’t forget to have some fun on this journey.
Mirketa has been helping clients ranging from small to Fortune 500 companies rollout Salesforce clouds with high customer satisfaction and user adoption rates. Get in touch with our Agile Salesforce champions to understand how we can help your sales business process achieve more with the powerful Salesforce platform.