A change management plan in Salesforce involves a specific set of actions to ensure a smooth transition between an organization’s goals, processes, and technologies, while staying connected with strategic objectives.
Salesforce change management can be applied everywhere, especially across industries that are trying to adapt to new trends (i.e. increasing competition, new regulations, and supply chain disruption). Let’s understand how change management processes can be carried out, step-by-step, using a typical Salesforce org as an example.
The State of Salesforce Change Management
According to Salesforce, only 12% of corporate transformation initiatives meet their targets, showcasing a business’s unwillingness and incapability to pursue a required change. Therefore, it is necessary in today’s competitive business landscape to optimize change management.
If we talk about the highly evolving Salesforce platform, changes are a periodic affair as they keep rolling in new features and updates in their releases. Additionally, there are frequent opportunities to add value regarding changing business goals or requirements.
With so many opportunities to make incremental changes in CRM, all you need is to have a qualified Salesforce implementation partner and a scalable change management plan.
1. Understand the Need for Change
There are multiple reasons why you may need to make changes in Salesforce. It can be anything from infrastructural addition to problem fixing. Whatever the need may be, you must analyze and measure its scale before implementing any change. Ask yourself, is this change simple to accomplish, or will it require a major shift in operations?
To help you determine what sort of change you need, you first need to understand the various types of changes you may be required to make in Salesforce.
- Transformational Change: i.e. changing your company’s IT infrastructure or mission statement.
- User-Centric Change: Both changing the responsibilities of employees, and adding new team members comes under people-centric changes.
- Structural Change: New mergers, departments, and leadership changes are prime examples.
- Remedial Change: High TAT is a typical example and will need on-demand development assistance.
Once you are clear about the type of change you wish to bring about in Salesforce, you can start discussing change ideas with stakeholders and development partners. Before onboarding a Salesforce implementation services provider, teams should make sure their change goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound). Additionally, the concerns of all department leaders need to be taken into consideration before finalizing change ideas.
Outlining Change Goals in a SMART Way
Say your organization is going through a leadership change. This structural change means everything from work responsibility and task allocation, to reporting, will need to be changed. If you use Salesforce for work administration, it would be crucial to make changes in your workflows in a SMART way. Let’s take each element of the SMART goal and see how we can do it for this scenario.
- Specific: Tell employees about the need for change. While some employees may resist initially as they may be onboarded into new roles and responsibilities, let them know that this structural change was necessary.
- Measurable: While your employees may share discomfort with the proposed change, you must present facts and figures on why structural change is important. You can show the performance of business units in the previous quarter because of previous leadership and individual roles and responsibilities.
- Achievable: Tell everyone that the change is crucial to increase work productivity. Show them that this is only possible if everyone agrees to the change. Let employees know about the changes in workflows and how it will help in streamlining work execution.
- Relevant: You must be able to convey why the change is relevant to employees as well as customers. Tell them that delay in work was causing dissatisfaction to customers and senior management and leadership/role change is the only solution going forward.
- Time-Bound: The structural changes need to be implemented in a time-bound manner. Onboarding a development team with profound Salesforce knowledge can help in time-bound change execution.
Outlining these structural changes as SMART goals showcases the importance of in-house discussions with stakeholders. By adopting SMART tactics, businesses can overcome change resistance, set up realistic goals, and achieve them in a time-bound manner.
2. Define the Scope Change
After getting a change request list*, Salesforce development teams start working on formulating a strategy. The purpose of strategy formulation is to make team members more aware of goals and how those goals will be accomplished.
Experienced leaders should conduct meetings with Tech-Architects, Project Managers, Developers, Consultants, and Admins and assign change requests based on their skill set and tech acumen. In these meetings project goals, scope, implementation tactics, roles and responsibilities of the development team, etc are discussed in depth.
Establishing a private communication channel like Slack can help develop the team’s communication on the go, allowing them to share feedback, and address issues in real time.
*A change request list is a textual/visual documentation of proposed changes. Every change has a title, description, status, name of the user who requested the change, name of the concerned department head, the urgency of change, due date, and time at which the request was raised.
3. Prioritizing the Change Requirement
With a huge list of tasks ahead, teams are susceptible to making late deliveries. To overcome delays in change management, development teams should prioritize the tasks on hand in a phased manner. You can prioritize structural and transformation changes first as they are more complex and may cause restrictions in executing other changes, i.e. dependencies.
However, you can also execute customer-centric and remedial changes along with transformation and structural changes, if the scope allows. The whole idea of prioritizing changes is to ensure one change does not create roadblocks in other change execution. By prioritizing changes and defining the overall impact of them, you can prevent delays and restrictions in the initial phases of the sprint.
4. Change Execution
Once tasks are prioritized, the development team takes over and starts integrating the assigned changes in the system.
While integrating, development teams should understand that not all changes will be executed in the expected timeline — some changes may require special handling. If a change is not getting executed in runtime due to some difficulty, it’s better to reassess and move forward unless it’s critical or it places dependencies on other work to be started and/or completed.
5. Quality Assurance Testing
Once you are done with the development phase, you can move on to quality assurance (QA) testing. QA testing is done to ensure the software is error-free.
In this stage, the Salesforce application components including workflows, configuration, and features are tested regressively using various loads and against varied test cases until errors and vulnerabilities are removed completely.
The quality assurance team maintains sandboxes (and even partial sandboxes) to migrate the code for testing. They perform unit testing and automated testing on various components (primarily where changes are executed), monitor the performance of those components, and create bug lists. By monitoring the bug list developers can address the issues. The process continues until all the bugs/errors are put to rest.
Check out some of the testing methods that come under QA Testing:
- Integration Testing: In this type of Salesforce testing, software modules are tested as a group and coded by different programmers. These tests are used in change management to expose any defects post-integration.
- Functional Testing: Salesforce QA teams validate the application against the functional requirements and specifications. Since changes are done in the Salesforce platform, functional testing methods are regressively performed on the components where change has impacted workflow in a certain way.
- Load Testing: Load testing is done to system performance under a specific load. Testers examine how Salesforce behaves with multiple users simultaneously accessing the system.
- Security Testing: Security testing is an important component of the QA checklist. It is done to uncover threats, vulnerabilities, and risks in change execution. Cyber attacks and unauthorized invasions are some reasons why you must consider running security tests in Salesforce.
Note: Regression Testing, Production Testing, and User Acceptance Testing are some other essential components of QA Testing.
6. User Acceptance Testing
After the QA team has done testing and has fixed the bugs, it is time for user acceptance testing. In this testing phase, end users are also included (apart from developers and testing professionals). End users test the solution navigation, component usage, and other aspects in a partial sandbox environment to see if the changes meet their expectations or not.
Based on the feedback, development teams make a final set of changes before deploying a solution to the product owner.
7. Deployment and Training
After changes are tested by developers and end users, teams should prepare for the change transfer. The development team usually transfers these changes through change sets or any third-party change management tool like InsideBoard App or Account Optimizer — simplifying changes for end users.
Before full-scale adoption, teams should consider onboarding professionals who can update your team with the changes and train them for better functionality usage. Most training specialists make users accustomed to changes by offering real-time support, updated release notes, manuals, and online training materials.
Change Management plays a key role in the performance of your business solutions. The more effective your process is, the fewer risks you will face during and after change implementation.
For a platform like Salesforce, where there are countless opportunities to make changes, it is vital to perform change management from time to time. Onboarding experienced Salesforce implementation partners can help you bridge gaps in your CRM functioning through effective change execution. This means you can achieve greater operational efficiency and realize maximum business value.