Over time, orgs inevitably become cluttered. Having a larger implementation normally results in an even bigger mess. The important question is whether it’s worth the significant effort often required to clean that mess up. And where should you start when decluttering Salesforce orgs?
Why you Should be Decluttering Salesforce
There are many good reasons it’s worth investing the time to clean up your org. The most important one is improving the user experience. If your users are experiencing problems or are starting to notice a bloated platform then you have a problem. They might start thinking negatively about the platform, resulting in a possible drop in adoption rates. Worst of all this might cause measurable harm to the business with issues like data not being recorded properly or processes taking much longer than they should.
Beyond these reasons, cleaning up an org will make the life of the Salesforce team easier. Your platform will be easier to maintain and scale, with fewer surprises lurking around the corner that could cause issues. It will also ensure a better grasp of platform security, an invaluable benefit. If you don’t know where everything is, it’s very hard to say you’re confident your system is secure.
How to Approach Decluttering
There are two main approaches to cleaning up you org: you can clean up gradually or you can start afresh. Both approaches have their pros and cons:
Gradual – this allows you to take cleaning up at a more measured pace. If you devote a percentage of your sprints to cleaning up, then you will start to see a difference. Make sure to prioritize and align with whatever you are working on. The issues with this approach can be that you need to be very vigilant that you are not introducing more issues in trying to unpick any mess you currently have. There is also more time for issues to compound while you focus on fixing another part of the platform.
Start afresh – this is an enormous undertaking that will take a long time, but will allow you the chance to redesign the org with the latest features and in a more sustainable way. It is often easier to design from scratch than unpick complicated connected systems. This is a more disruptive approach on the other hand and many platform owners will leave it as a last resort.
When choosing your approach you should do an honest investigation of how long it would take you to fix what you have vs how long it would take to start afresh. You can use tools to get an idea of the current shape of your org and highlight the different issues. Once you have this calculation and have factored in costs, you should work out whether the cost of a gradual approach makes sense, or whether it is better to simply start from scratch.
Where to Start
First, decide if you want to start fixing code or configuration. Admins can have a few quick wins with reports and then move on to look at high visibility areas such as page layouts, fields or objects. This can get a bit trickier due to dependencies, so it’s worth doing with care. More advanced areas to investigate might be workflows or permission sets. A guiding principle when looking at these areas is simplicity and usage. How can you simplify the end-user experience? Do your users use all of the functionality you give them? If you have fields or roles that are barely seeing any usage, then perhaps it’s worth considering if they cant be retired or how you can drive adoption.
For the developers and architects, consider where you might be able to use clicks rather than code. Code can sometimes be a reflexive instinct and while there is nothing inherently wrong with coding (and some areas will require it!), it is a lot more complex to maintain and build upon than the out of the box framework Salesforce provides. Reviewing low-quality code and code duplicates when you run across them is also highly beneficial to your platform. More than anything else, coding should always be a conscious choice vs configuration. Never an assumed default.
If nothing else, it is important to understand what is happening in your org. This means periodic reviews are essential to maintaining a sustainable and successful platform. Really focus in on what is and isn’t needed in the platform and where there are areas that could benefit from improvement. There isn’t much of a leap from ‘mess’ to ‘broken mess’ and that can result in unhappy users and management as you scramble to find and fix whatever went wrong. An efficient org will lead to efficient maintenance and efficient business processes. An all-around win-win scenario. Decluttering Salesforce is worth investing your time into because you will see tangible results.