Fundamentals Practices to Know about Successful Salesforce Deployment with Flosum
Over time, you may tend to make a lot of changes to your Salesforce instances to make sure that it runs smoothly by serving your purposes at best. Proper deployment practices are essential to run it efficiently and ensure its overall functionality. Many of these changes to be made overtime may be very simple and basic, but highly meaningful. Sometimes it may be minor updates and add-ons, but some other times, these may be massive scale changes like new application development.
Minor or major, one primary requirement for all such changes is the need for deployment. An ideal deployment is the essential final step in any given Salesforce project. It is during the deployment when all the changes made to your instance are made live. There could be a lot of riding at this final stage of the process, and one should know to execute it well. Those who are in charge of Salesforce deployment need to know everything to power it up and ensure that the deployment goes smoothly as desired. Considering this need in mind, we created this custom list of deployment best practices for Salesforce to help the beginners.
Salesforce Implementation vs. Deployment
To those who are new to it, the terms as deployment and implementation may seem to be the same, but it is not. These terms are often used interchangeably, and even though there are many similarities between these two, implantation and deployment are two distinct processes, whereas:
- Salesforce implementation is the end-to-end process, including installing the Salesforce suite and setting it up for your purpose. Implementation is more complicated and time-consuming than a standard deployment as implementation needs appropriate customization of the Salesforce suite also to the server the unique goals of your business.
- Salesforce deployment is a standalone activity that happens at the tail end of the Salesforce projects. At the baseline, deployment is the act of moving all the changes from Sandbox (development and testing environment) over to the live production environment. With the deployment, you are pushing all such modifications to the end-users and customers.
So, we can see that deployment also comes as the final stage of implementation and even at other times as a stand-alone activity. At any given instance, deployment may take only much lesser time than the implementation of a standard (deployment takes only hours, whereas implementation takes weeks or months to complete).
Measuring deployment success
If you are into a Salesforce deployment project and want to assess its effectiveness, then here are a few markers of success that you should keep an eye on.
- Business continuity: It is a worse situation if you have to push the deployment to live only to see that only a few parts of the org break into the process and further disrupting the standard workflow. If it raises employees’ challenges from doing their routine jobs and tampering the operational continuity, you are doing a lousy job with deployment. A finely executed deployment may not have any adverse effects on your business continuity.
- User acceptance: Anytime when you deploy anything new to the organization, it will have an immediate impact on the users who are supposed to use the system. So, to ensure the deployment’s success, it is essential that the users need to be oriented well about the changes and trained about the functionalities. You should give them a chance to clarify these doubts and reassure them that the new deployment will help them do their jobs better than before.
- Backward compatibility: When a new system is getting introduced to the existing one, compatibility challenges may jump up quickly and adversely affect your org’s work as a whole. This, most of the time, even causes malfunctioning of the critical pieces of technological operations. So, ensuring that your Salesforce deployment is backward compatible with your existing technology systems is very important. Do conduct a thorough compatibility testing before pushing the deployment into production.
There are various ways to deploy the changes in the Salesforce production environment adopted by FLOSUM as using Force Migration Tool, using the changeset, or the IDE for Force.com.
Force Migration Tool – Also called Ant Migration Tool, the Force Migration Tool will help you use Metadata API to recreate the data manually from the sandbox environment to the production environment by putting text commands in the terminal window. However, this is a labor-intensive method which may need a higher investment to set it up, but can give you greater control over your deployment process and is also suited well for CI (continuous integration) and CD (continuous deployment), which are two critical aspects of Salesforce development.
Changeset – Changeset is a collection of custom features and components bundled together to be delivered from one Salesforce setting to another setting, in which it can be deployed quickly. Changesets should pass a minimum level of coverage at test class, through which Salesforce can ensure that any given code which is pushed into the production environment may not use many resources in the multi-tenant environment of the organization. Since the changesets may not support every Salesforce component, they may not be used to port every functionality from the sandbox environments to the live production environment.
Many of the components as sales processes, standard picklist values, divisions, updates on security models, organization mail addresses, etc. should be moved manually. Changesets also may not support all the Salesforce functions and components, so they cannot be used the same in all the cases while moving on from a sandbox to live production. The items which are excluded from the sets may include the sales processes and picklist values etc.
Force.com IDE – This is an Eclipse plug-in that will help the developers build applications on the Lightning Platform and port them from one environment to another. It is highly powerful and developer-friendly, whereas Force.com may enable you to use and include more metadata components than the changesets, but it also requires some more technical knowledge to leverage all its benefits. On the other hand, when misused, it may also cause more significant damage.
Deployment best practices
Next, let us have a quick overview of the best practices to follow for successful Salesforce deployment.
- Plan in advance-Remember that the best Salesforce deployments are planned meticulously so that everything is properly accounted for while going to live.
- Build first in the sandbox environment– Sandbox is the safest place for you to build and test applications without any adverse consequences on the real world. Ensure that you maintain the sandbox as an authentic replica of the real production environment by keeping the same data, object records, metadata, and all applications the same as the production.
- Test thoroughly – Always test and retest your deployments. You can see that your final Sandbox QA checklist may, most of the time, yield different results from the production checklist as these two might have gone out of sync in the time between configuration and deployment. Remember, the changes to your production environment may not automatically get reflected in your Sandbox. It is crucial to consistently update the sandbox to reflect all production changes and perform the final QA testing on the production environment.
- Always give it a pre-deployment try – Conduction of apre-deployment trial is much appreciated as the actual deployment will take a lot of time and effort. As the existing deployment cannot be run until the regular work hours get over, the conduction of a pre-deployment will enable you to quickly push the changes to the production environment before actually pushing them to live and letting it affect the end-users.
- Have a comprehensive strategy for release management – You may be working simultaneously on various Salesforce deployment projects at a time. So, the release management may be the process through which you manage the schedules, plans, and maintaining control on each of these deployment projects. So, having a proper release management strategy will help organize these well, no matter how many projects you handle simultaneously at various development stages.
- Practice proper governance –Propergovernance is the process of ensuring efficient use of all information technology resources and enables the organization to achieve its objectives. So, to ensure proper governance, you have to build a COE (Center of Excellence). This is a group of resources that are typically the key stakeholders and decision-makers of the organization. This should be a fine mix of those who are enforcing the organization’s best practices, who are overseeing the significant projects, and it is also vital to ensure that your data is up to date and properly maintained.