Salesforce Project Management Best Practices

Salesforce project management is a hot topic recently, undoubtedly due to the recent release of a number of apps and plugins for various project management scenarios within Salesforce. However, there’s a problem with discussing this concept. Salesforce project management could actually pertain to a few different things, as there are a number of types of projects that may be undertaken involving Salesforce. It could mean sales or marketing campaigns, which are something CRM takes a large part in helping to manage, it could mean assessment of customer statistics and analytics (or those of customer service and support), or it could mean development of forms or extensions for Salesforce itself. So, to talk about the best practices of this topic is kind of an obstacle. To handle this better, let’s try to cover them all (with the exception of programming projects), as some aspects are shared, where others are not. First of all, before you engage a project, you need to talk to everyone involved, and find out what their concerns, needs and frequent obstacles are, and surmise how your activities will affect them. With this information, you need to work out a plan with set goals, step by step, for implementing your project, regardless of the meaning of “project” here. Following this, one of the most important things during the operation of the project is to prioritize communication as one of the most important things to maintain. As with any project in any field, clear communication over the hierarchy, of both ideas, progress, issues and concerns, is extremely important. Now, following this, data quality is extremely important, meaning that the creation of forms and reports that assemble the most concise and clear data relevant to the project (in cases of working with Salesforce, not on it) is extremely important. Furthermore, seeking out integration of other services to aid a project, especially when it comes to marketing campaigns, is a great way to get more out of Salesforce, versus just creating automata within the framework from scratch. Using the Salesforce app marketplace to find solutions like this for integration or added features that you do not need to design yourself is a good time saver as well as a reduction of costs and a greater insurance of integrity with said automata. Finally, when working on data within Salesforce, you need to be sure that a specific group of people are responsible for modifications and changes, and that not everyone working in the project can edit anything they please haphazardly. Assign editing to specific people, and ensure that others aren’t causing discrepancies by doing this themselves. One last thing to consider, though there’s little to say as it’s obvious in its necessity, is to do frequent backups of data if your project involves modification of data within your CRM. Salesforce is incredibly stable and resilient, but it only takes on hiccup in the machine running something at the right time, for data to get all kinds of messed up. No system is immune to this form of bad serendipity, although it is rare. Salesforce project management is mostly common sense and erring on the side of caution, as you can see. As for the circumstance where your project is all about development of technology for Salesforce … well, all I can say is use an IDE like Eclipse, don’t try to work in an unmanaged environment.
Amanda is the Lead Author & Editor of Rainforce Blog. Amanda established the Rainforce blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Salesforce usage.