Managing projects is challenging at the best of times, but managing Salesforce projects or those in other cloud based environments comes with hidden pickles.
So how do we go about managing Salesforce projects effectively to enable the best out of our teams, our customers and our beloved Salesforce platform. Let’s start by looking at five areas that are key to project delivery. I name these the 5C’s.
• Clear goal
• Concise requirements
• Clarification questions
• Challenge candidly
• Collaborate visually
To gain as much value as possible I have broken this article into two parts. Part 1 we will cover goals, requirements and questions. Part 2, challenging with tact and visual representation. So let’s get going!
Understand the whole picture, what is the desired outcome? Nothing operates in a vacuum. It is imperative that as a project leader and team you have a helicopter view from the business, and from a development team’s point of view you need to understand, at least at a high level, what else is in the pipeline that may or even may not impact your overall vision.
Tip: Some organisations do not always see the value of this, or perhaps haven’t thought about it either. See this as your time to shine, ask questions such as:
Q: How does this project feed into the wider plan?
Q: Will other projects within the organisation feed into this plan?
Q: What does this requirement feed into?
Q: Do other systems require updates?
Q: How does this affect our Salesforce org?
Q: Can you explain further the end goal for the organisation to what is needing to be achieved?
Q: How can we look at reducing the scope so that we can add value now?
Q: Are we creating potential for technical waste in the future?
Q: When we last spoke I understood that project […] was being deployed. What implications, if any, did this have on the business?
Q: How does this benefit the organisation?
Once you have that helicopter view, which you can refer to for future use as a live document, start to review and breakdown the requirements with the team. Here you want to be looking not only at what’s there in black and white but also what is not. Ensure that it’s a requirement, e.g. ‘As a user I want to be able to …., so that I can…’, such like the user story writing within agile methodologies. This should not be written as the solution ‘disguised’ as a requirement. The organisation has hired a lot of intelligent, creative and experienced people to do this, let’s not waste their IQ and time on trying to decipher what someone else with limited experience and knowledge in this area wants.
Tip: As many of us know, in the real world you often get the latter. A list of assumed solutions to the problem the business has and/ or specific requests for new fields, flows, validations…. etc. So when you receive the inevitable ask:
Q: As a user what is it that you want to be able to do?
Q: Is there a specific reason the following solution has been prescribed so that we can understand our design?
Q: I understand in the future the organisation plans to […] how does this align with the overall business strategy?
Q: Do you foresee any obstacles? (difficult but can be overcome) for deploying this solution?
Q: Have you thought about […]
Q: Are you able to expand on that?
The answers to just one of these questions will enable you to branch out ideas to understand the real requirement to take to the Dev team to do what they do best… deliver amazing features that provide scalable solutions and additional value.
Clarification questions ❔
Ask questions to understand the customers needs. This may seem a little repetitive, but once you have better structured requirements you can really start to dig into the depth of dependencies, never forgetting that platforms, people (inside and out!), organisations and the world (!), don’t operate in a vacuum.
Tip: Whether you are new to Salesforce, project management, the team or the organisation itself it really doesn’t matter, it is vital to ask clarification questions. Try these:
Q: Are there any other teams that use this […]? Eg. list view, custom object, page layout…
Q: Do these changes need to be accessed by the whole organisation or specific users or profiles?
Q: Is this a higher or lower priority than […]?
By challenging only these 3Cs you are sure to improve the quality of your Salesforce project teams and leadership, but as well increase the quality of data and development within your Salesforce orgs.
So that’s it for now, but be such to check out Part 2 where we will continue the journey of how to manage Salesforce projects effectively.
Q = Question
S = Statement
A = Action