Today I painted a room. While I was painting, which tends to be a fairly relaxing activity for me, I had a lot of thoughts going through my head about the similarities between executing a home improvement project and a Salesforce project. So, without further ado, welcome to the Twilight Zone of extreme metaphor! (queue the evil laughter)
Use a Dropcloth
With any painting project–even a simple one–there’s a chance of spilling or dripping paint where you don’t want. The same is true with your Salesforce project. So, protect yourself! Ask yourself these questions to help mitigate risk:
- Are there any business units with deadlines that conflict with my project dates?
- Did I get a data and metadata backup?
- Did I properly test everything in a sandbox?
- Did I get adequate user validation?
- Are there any data updates that I will need to make to production data once I deploy the changes?
- Are there any other developers or admins in the org that could cause an issue? (If so, can everyone agree on a code freeze or “admin freeze” to make sure no one changes things that will negatively impact your new functions?)
- Has the formal governance process been followed? (What, don’t have one? Check out our blog post on the topic.)
Keep the Paintbrush in your Hand
The fastest way to get a painting project done is to keep the paintbrush in your hand until you’re done. It’s amazing how much more productive you can be when you are able to just keep working. For a Salesforce project, consider doing whatever it takes to give yourself some uninterrupted time to build up and test your updates. Having some peace and quiet, free of distractions, can lower error and make things significantly faster. Even if it means coming in on a Saturday or working late, it is probably worth the extra effort. I love this XKCD comic that illustrates the exact thought process and what can happen if interrupted.
I’ve never had a perfect technology or painting project! Acknowledging this in your own work can help you prepare for the little issues that come about after deploying something. Here are a few tips to get ready for any “touch-ups.”
- Schedule! NEVER deploy on a Friday afternoon if at all possible. Tech support is less likely to be available, and it’s many times more stressful. Be kind to yourself and pick another time! We like to deploy on Tuesday mornings.
- Monitor. Keep an eye on things. Review data, reports, logs, anything to validate that things are working as they should.
- Talk to your users. The folks who are using the enhancements might have insight that you were never aware of.
“Take care of your brushes, and your brushes take care of you.” Sounds a little too simple, but a professional painter told me that one time as she efficiently cleaned her brushes and stored them in a special bag. By not only finishing the work, but getting things “done done,” you will set your project up for maximum success and get things ready for the next one! From a Salesforce perspective, this could mean reviewing and assuring project communications, updating your org’s project and user documentation, and getting assurance that everyone’s happy.
One of the rewards of completing a challenging project, whether at home or in the office, is learning from it and applying those lessons to future work. These painting tips may only apply as metaphors for the work we do every day in Salesforce, but I’ve witnessed my own team improve project flow and delivery consistently great results thanks to following pointers like these. A freshly painted room and a freshly inspired outlook on Salesforce best practices? Not a bad Saturday!