Choosing a Salesforce SI (Systems Integrator) or a Salesforce development partner is a difficult choice. Their expertise will help your organization see what’s possible with Salesforce, and how to get the most out of your Salesforce investment.
With so many partners in the Salesforce ecosystem, it can get overwhelming, fast.
We’ve created a list of best practice tips and questions to use when evaluating a potential Salesforce development partner.
Question 1: When you talk about making something “Custom” what’s your philosophy about using customization in Salesforce?
By asking this question, you’re looking to determine a partner’s desire to use custom code and/or leverage “low code” solutions such as Salesforce Flow as much as possible. Ideally, any customization decisions are made holistically based on architecture, volume, technical limitations, and performance.
Question 2: Have you developed similar solutions?
This is checking the partner’s experience with problems and goals similar to yours.
Question 3: Is your Salesforce development team in-house or subcontracted?
In-house Salesforce developers often have tighter quality control and process standards and can check more compliance checkboxes, if required.
Subcontractors offer more resource scaling needs and are generally more affordable.
Question 4: Can you share your thoughts on testing and quality assurance?
If the partner does not have a defined QA process, it could be a red flag. There are many methods to run QA, but a process is required for successfully launching complex projects.
Question 5: How do you manage bugs during QA and post-deployment?
This question helps set expectations for what you could experience after the deployment and should have some reference in the Statement of Work.
Question 6: Do you have a Software Development Lifecycle defined?
Again, there are many philosophies here, but having a lifecycle defined is a best practice and a sign that the partner has mature processes and a thoughtful approach.
Question 7: What tools do you use to manage deployments?
Your company may already have defined deployment practices. Understanding the tools a potential Salesforce partner uses is helpful to gauge compatibility.
Question 8: Do you run projects using Salesforce Developer Experience (DX)?
Surf or ski, DX offers a lot of development power and complexity. This couples with other DevOps processes and is often integral in selecting a partner, especially if you use DX already in your org.
Question 9: Do you conduct code reviews (automated or other processes)?
Another maturity question. Is the SI or Salesforce development partner cross-checking their code? Robot checks are a good starting point – but peer reviews are even better.
Question 10: What percentage of test coverage will you commit to as a deliverable?
It is a requirement that all tests have assertions.
Salesforce enforces a minimum number of assertions because assertions are necessary to ensure your tests are testing the functionality of the code.
Salesforce partners that go above the minimum will leave you with a product that will be relevant and resilient for much longer.
Question 11: What is your IP (Intellectual Property) agreement?
- Will we own our code as part of the project?
- How do you manage pre-\existing IP?
There are various models for managing IP. Some SIs make all code “work for hire” which means you own the work product. However, some may offer to license delivered code which isn’t necessarily a red flag, but it’s good to have your legal team review your options and share any concerns.
Validating pre-existing IP helps understand how any partner-owned/developed IP is incorporated into the work (frameworks, etc.)
Question 12: Do you utilize any open source libraries to complete deliverables?
- If so, can you provide assurances regarding licensing on these libraries?
Open source can rapidly accelerate delivery and lower the cost of projects. Still, poorly implemented open source can leave you vulnerable to security concerns and licensing/IP concerns if not carefully managed.
Question 13: What is your change management process?
Change Management is an essential factor that often goes overlooked when implementing new features into your organization and seriously impacts the project’s success.
When interviewing consultancies, you should have a keen eye toward the end goal and work with your partner to foster a successful rollout.
- Are they considering data management as part of their process?
- What about impacts on users when going live?
- How will they ensure minimal impacts on Production?
Best Practices for Finding a Salesforce Systems Integrator
We hope this best practices list of questions was helpful as you embark on finding a Salesforce development partner.
It’s also important to share your goals and culture with the prospective partner so that everyone can come into the project with a good understanding of each other.
As mentioned in our blog about what to look for in a Salesforce partner, you could outline and share the following:
- Your goals and objectives for hiring a partner.
- What you want to accomplish with the partner and how it will impact your business.
- What value you are hoping the relationship will bring you.
- What do you need from the partnership, and for how long do you expect to be leveraging the partner that brings value.
At Red Argyle, we take development seriously and have clear answers to the questions above. We’d love to talk if you’re ever looking for a development partner to tackle your complex and custom challenges.