Admins / DevOps

Salesforce Release Readiness: 4 Ways DevOps Can Keep Your Team Happy

By James LeBlanc

Branded content with Copado

Looking to get a jump on the next Salesforce release? A DevOps-driven release readiness strategy can help your team leverage new Salesforce innovations faster – without a mountain of maintenance or days of downtime. 

Through the power of automation, you can minimize grief, eliminate bottlenecks, and deliver valuable features that accelerate business success. Let’s take a look at a few common roadblocks to Salesforce release readiness. We’ll show you how next-generation DevOps can give you three ingredients to help make a happy team:

  • Faster sandbox refreshes
  • A proactive approach to functional, regression, and end-to-end testing
  • No more unnecessary deployment errors

Roadblock #1: Sandbox Refreshes Are Time Consuming

Everyone is itching to test drive new Salesforce releases and build applications on the latest platform capabilities. Refreshing your sandbox environments to take advantage of Preview Mode gives you a safe space to try out new platform features and functionality.

Traditionally, doing a full sandbox refresh and post-refresh configuration can take several days (or longer) to complete. Development teams spend countless hours as they manually slog through tedious steps (like password resets) and review spreadsheets/Confluence documents to compare a myriad of configurations between sandboxes and production – from scheduled jobs to user credentials to managed packages and connected apps.

To keep pre-production changes from breaking live digital experiences, teams must configure sandboxes to mask sensitive data, omit customer emails, and point away from production endpoints (like your ERP). All this sandbox setup and environment building requires heavy resources and takes development teams away from high-value software projects. And it’s redundant work too!

Solution: Automate post-refresh activities to save time and minimize interruptions 

An enterprise-grade DevOps solution can equip you with the speed and visibility you need to breeze through maintenance in minutes versus days. By replacing manual steps with automation, teams don’t have to go offline to tackle sandbox refreshes – and they no longer risk losing in-flight work. DevOps capabilities for the post-refresh process include:

  • Deployment Task Automation: Automate post-refresh activities once and for all!
  • Test Data Seeding and Masking: Eliminate the need for manual data loading by seeding multiple related objects with anonymized data from a single template.
  • Automatically Run Apex Jobs: Create data records and run batch jobs and other Apex activities.
  • Metadata Batch Updates: Named Credentials, Custom Settings, Custom Metadata Types, etc.
  • User List Updates: Ensure development resources have appropriate access to newly refreshed sandboxes.

Roadblock #2: Salesforce Changes Break Tests and Spark Cycles of Test Maintenance

Imagine a salesperson losing a deal because they can’t generate a quote on the spot. Or an admin who can’t input information into the right drop-down and capture business-critical data. Every Salesforce upgrade updates existing functionality, removes things, and adds new features. Any change to code can cause a ripple effect of defects. And the later you uncover the issue, the more costly and complex it is to fix.

Solution: Intelligent test automation speeds up regression testing and flags brittle tests for easy updates

Not all test automation platforms are created equal. Do your research to find an intelligent test automation solution that can create ultra-resilient test cases so you don’t have to worry about them breaking during future Salesforce releases. Harness the power of built-in maintainability to make sure your tests work the first time, every time. Leverage self-healing AI to flag changes to the text and UI layer and get smart predictions for easy updates.

Leveraging a test automation platform built on the open-source Robot Framework empowers you to extend your testing and automation with any Robot Framework or Python library. This makes it easy to replicate the clicks and taps of a human tester and automate end-to-end tests within your sandbox environments. And because the Robot Framework scans text on the page instead of scanning Xpaths, updated locator IDs aren’t a challenge either. 

Roadblock #3: Discrepancies Between XML Tags Make Files Not Deployable

XML tags are notorious for being a sticking point before, during, and after Salesforce releases. Some new features and functionality will only exist in sandboxes in Preview Mode, which complicates the deployment process. To fix this issue, teams are forced to sacrifice precious time as they painfully comb over metadata merges from sandboxes to remove the conflicting XML tags by hand prior to production deployment. 

Solution: Implement a solution with global “find and replace” rules to easily remove XML tags

Adding “find and replace” rules to your development pipeline makes it super easy to pinpoint XML tags – you don’t have to worry about managing them ever again. Implementing rules helps you remove XML tags between sandbox environments pre-release in Preview Mode and Production. For instance, you can set up a rule to remove new user permissions based on new profile metadata available in a sandbox to keep your deployment to production from failing. 

Roadblock #4: Manually Enforcing Endpoint URLs Is Not 100% Reliable

Setting an endpoint URL for your sandboxes and integrating APIs can be a hassle as you configure the latest Salesforce release and refresh sandboxes. The wrong URL can break customer trust or even leak sensitive data, and it can take hours to set up and maintain integration endpoints during each release. 

Solution: Environment Variables update integration endpoints and keep them intact

Setting endpoint URLs and API integrations makes your release process much more secure and reliable. With Environment Variables, you can leverage a container that stores data strings unique to each environment, including Salesforce IDs, integration endpoints and usernames. This enables teams to make commits, deployments, branch validation, and test cases environment agnostic.

Outcome: Better Collaboration, Happier Teams, and Faster Salesforce Innovation

How much more productive could your dev team be if they weren’t bogged down with maintenance and manual configuration? DevOps is all about three things:

  • People
  • Process 
  • Technology

The solutions you implement are only as effective as the people who operate them – and that’s where DevOps best practices come in. With faster feedback loops and more frequent releases, you can break down the silos, shift mindsets, and level up communication and collaboration across your business. 

Where Do You Spend the Most Time Recovering from Salesforce Releases?

Ready to overhaul your Salesforce release readiness process and take the burden off your team? From task deployment automation to Robotic Testing, Copado has the DevOps capabilities and proven best practices you need to solve the challenges that come with Salesforce updates. 

Discover how Copado crushes these four roadblocks and enables teams to deliver valuable features that drive business success – learn more here

The Author

James LeBlanc

James is the VP of Product Marketing at Copado.

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