Admins / Architects / Business Analysts / Consultants

A Quick Guide for Sprinting Through Your Salesforce Backlog

By Richard Cunningham

Navigating the stormy seas of an extensive project/task backlog can seem overwhelming to anyone working on Salesforce projects – including administrators and developers. 

However, a touch of strategic design and lean business analysis can transform this daunting challenge into an organized plan of action. Let’s explore how to turn your backlog into an instrument of efficiency, quality, and value delivery.

Deciphering the Backlog Puzzle

A backlog typically consists of a mishmash of enhancements, new features, bug fixes, and technical debt payments. 

Organizing these may not seem worth the effort, but it’s a critical first step. This process involves considering factors such as:  

  • Dependencies: Dependency analysis helps map relationships between different tasks and prioritize them accordingly. For instance, a critical new feature that depends on a bug fix would warrant higher priority to the bug fix. 
  • Urgency: This pertains to the time-sensitivity of tasks. For example, changes needed for an upcoming marketing campaign have higher urgency than a long-term improvement to reports.
  • Business impact: This identifies which tasks would provide the most value to the business. Changes that could significantly increase sales or improve customer satisfaction should take priority over paying off technical debt, for example.

What’s the business impact of each change in the backlog? Business analysis answers this question by discovering what your organization needs and developing requirements ranked by business impact and urgency.

Imagine two feature requests in your backlog: one for improving the user interface and another for integrating a third-party service providing new leads. Business analysis determines the productivity value of the user interface change versus the business opportunities from the lead service.

READ MORE: Productivity Tips for Salesforce Admins

Designing a Value Strategy

How do stakeholders like users and managers decide on the value of changes? They should base their evaluations on your organization’s goals, mission, and values. Strategy design can help them clarify and align all stakeholders with the organization’s goals. 

Trailhead has a Learn Strategy Design trail to get your organization started. Its first module, Challenge Framing and Scoping, shows how to focus changes on the problems they solve. The other modules on the trail can help your organization fill strategic gaps.

Everyone involved in requesting, specifying, and delivering changes should be aware and aligned with the strategy. It enables you to organize your backlog for the highest return on effort.

Summary Steps

The following steps show how to strategically sprint through your backlog:

  1. Ensure each change has a well-defined scope. If any task seems vague or open to interpretation, put it on a list to review with stakeholders. If necessary, escalate to a strategy design session to clarify each change’s scope and definition.
  2. If one change depends on another, give the dependent change a lower priority than the change(s) it needs.
  3. Create a summary of the changes and review it with management to make sure they meet schedules and align with the organization’s goals. Ensure they understand the specific scope of each change and the dependencies between changes.

Well-defined changes with specific scopes will avoid adding rework tasks to your backlog. Aligning your backlog with your organization’s priorities ensures you meet management expectations.

READ MORE: Can Salesforce Do Project Management? Questions to Select a Tool

The Author

Richard Cunningham

Richard is the founder of Purposeful Architect, and chief blogger.

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