Salesforce Project Managers oversee Salesforce projects end-to-end on a variety of Salesforce ‘clouds’ and levels of complexity. Their priority is to ensure the project is successful – delivered on time, and within budget.
The responsibilities of a Salesforce Project Manager range from typical organizational tasks and technical acumen, through to work that requires emotional intelligence, tact, solid communication, and many other ‘soft’ skills.
What Does a Salesforce Project Manager Do?
Let’s start by outlining what we mean by ‘entry-level’, ‘mid-level’, and ‘senior’ Project Managers. Years of experience is not the be-all and end-all indicator. Project Manager career progression focuses more on experience, the number of simultaneous projects, and project size (as an indicator of complexity) – as opposed to time in the role. In the list below, take the years as a suggestion:
Entry-level project manager: 0-2 years experience (possibly up to 5 years):
- Manage projects that have a budget/cost under 10k.
- Can expect to be handling up to 7-10 small projects simultaneously.
- Around 4-6 hrs a week per project (for pure PM tasks).
Mid-level: 5-7 years experience (possibly up to 10 years):
The definition for a “Mid-level” project can greatly vary depending on your firm, but here are some general indicators:
- Manage projects that have a budget/cost 50K – 100k.
- Can expect to be handling 4-6 projects simultaneously.
- Around 10-20 hrs a week per project, depending on your project load and the size of the project roster.
Senior project manager: 10+ years experience:
- Manage projects that have a budget/cost 100k – 1M£+.
- Can expect to be handling 1-2 projects simultaneously.
- Around 20-40 hours (full time) depending on the size of the project.
A Project Manager’s responsibilities will vary depending on the size of the implementation and their own technical acumen. In the Salesforce world, the more they are familiar with the Salesforce platform, the more ‘hats’ they can wear.
Where Do Salesforce Project Managers Work?
A strong project manager is one of the key factors for a successful Salesforce implementation, regardless of the size of the project.
Salesforce Project Managers work closely with different stakeholders through the client organization to coordinate the implementation team (management, subject matter experts, consultants, and developers) accordingly.
Salesforce Project Manager roles can either be ‘in-house’ (i.e. you’re an employee of the company), or consultancy-side.
Most Salesforce consulting partners will have project managers on their teams to oversee each project, which counts as an additional resource. This increases the cost of the implementation and is usually added to the statement of work as a % on top of the cost to implement the technical requirements.
Salesforce Project Managers and The Project Lifecycle
Salesforce Project Managers drive all the project stages, from planning, execution, through to reporting.
Discovery & requirements gathering
- Participate in client discovery sessions working with technical and functional team members to identify the right solution for each client.
- Work with the client to translate their needs into detailed requirements and eventually translate to user stories.
- Work closely with the Technical Lead to ensure the business requirements are accurately translated into technical requirements, and the team has all the information required to action.
- Team enablement: Confirm the technical team has all the technical tools required to start work (Sandboxes, Licenses, etc.).
- Approval: Ensure sign-off by the client of the different project phases (Build, QA, Deployment).
- Sprint planning: Manage scrum/agile ceremonies, including huddles, backlog grooming, increment planning, retrospectives and sprint demos (when applicable to the consultancy’s delivery methodology).
- Risk management: Identify and mitigate project risks, implementing strategies to minimize impact of issues, controlling deviations from the project schedule and estimated costs.
- Prepare and manage project schedules, burn reports, status reports and change orders.
- Report on the status of the project to internal management and the client management team, including escalating issues where appropriate.
- Maintain accurate forecasting for project resources according to the approved budget.
- Build and maintain relationships with clients day-to-day, exceeding client expectations and ensuring satisfaction.
- Support clients throughout the project and post-project implementation process.
Due to the level of responsibility allocated to a Project Manager, this role can be very stressful. That said, it’s an incredibly rewarding career choice (which many project managers stand by).
Become a Salesforce Project Manager
Salesforce Consultant → Salesforce Project Manager
Often a natural career progression for seasoned Salesforce Consultants that want to make the transition to a leadership role.
Project Manager → Salesforce Project Manager
It’s possible to join the Salesforce ecosystem as a Project Manager with no Salesforce experience. While it’s common for Salesforce Project managers to be well versed in the Salesforce platform, transitioning from outside the industry does mean you will bring transferable skills that will be invaluable in your new role.
Here are some competencies that will enable you to become an entry-level Salesforce project manager:
- Have experience configuring Sales Cloud (this is likely the cloud you will start with unless you want to become a marketing consultant).
- Seek out opportunities for attending client-facing interactions, such as requirements gathering, project kick-off meetings, and training sessions.
- Take the Salesforce Administrator and Platform App Builder certifications. Anyone looking to strengthen their resume should pursue these Salesforce certifications, in addition: Advanced Administrator, Sales Cloud Consultant, and Service Cloud Consultant. These certifications demonstrate the person has a deep understanding of the core Salesforce product suite.
- Find a mentor internally that you can support, and in turn, learn from.
- Understand the composition of a Salesforce project – the checkpoints, the items in scope, how to act when client-facing.
Start out with smaller projects to get acquainted with the different phases and challenges that are unique to Salesforce projects. Issues that are present in smaller projects are still present with large, multi-phase implementations.
It’s not possible to cover all the nuances of this role in a collection of guides, but if you are looking to make the leap to Salesforce project management, we encourage you to take the advice shared on board. Then, reach out to the Salesforce partners in your region to better understand the organization’s implementation method, and how to best tailor your experience for the role.
There’s no doubt that Salesforce Project Managers are deserving of their compensation – they oversee Salesforce implementation projects end-to-end on a variety of Salesforce ‘clouds’ and levels of complexity. Their priority is to ensure the project is delivered on time and within budget.
The Salesforce ecosystem is an incredibly diverse and exciting career path. A strong project manager is one of the key factors for a successful Salesforce implementation regardless of the size of the project.