6 Best Practices for Salesforce Release Management
Salesforce has become an incredibly popular option for coding due to its ease of use. This has opened the world of development up to a much broader group of people. It’s possible to create updates and software releases without the formerly prerequisite knowledge of coding.
However, simplifying the coding process has had some unintended consequences—namely that it can make deployments more difficult. Novice coders utilizing Salesforce “clicks-not-code” interface can result in releases that are made unstable due to their complexity and the developers inability to fully understand all the linked relationships.
Salesforce release management aims to organize the process of moving from development to deployment.
The deployment stage is a culmination of all your team’s efforts. A failure at this point will either lead to faulty applications or a lot of time and money spent to rework the update and fix the issues. Proper Salesforce release management puts systems and balances in place to avoid this.
Proper attention throughout the DevSecOps pipeline can optimize the planning, delegation, and execution of tasks. This results in stronger projects, successful deployments, and heightened data security measures.
1. Separate Projects into Groups
Your Salesforce development pipeline can be used to create a variety of projects with varying degrees of complexity and breadth. Development projects can be separated into three categories that will determine the amount and levels of attention needed for a successful deployment.
- Patch: These simple changes and bug fixes don’t run a risk of impacting the functionality of your system. They only require the basest levels of release management because they are deployed quickly and don’t often require much effort.
- Minor Release: A trigger that impacts a single business process will have limited impact. This is an example of a minor release. Testing will be required to ensure proper functionality of the releases, but these projects can generally be produced within a shorter time period—perhaps a few weeks.
- Major Release: These releases will have a significant impact on the system. Multiple dependencies will likely be involved. Ample testing and training are required because of the sizeable impact the release will have on the end user—whether that’s internal or external. These types of releases might be introduced once per quarter due to their size and the amount of requisite testing.
Your Salesforce release management tactics will depend on where your project falls in regard to these three categories.
2. Define Roles and Expectations
Now that you know what type of attention to give your project, it’s time to take the planning stage another step forward and assign team members to various tasks. A trued DevSecOps pipeline will include the efforts of multiple teams at the same time. Keep this in mind when delegating tasks.
Assign roles to the best available team members and make sure they are clear on what you expect to see from them.
This includes timelines, scope, and measurable deliverables. Developing, testing, integrating, backing up system data—all of these processes will need to be performed in conjunction with the others.
A failure to properly communicate the expectations of these roles can lead to downtime—which equates to lost money—and redundant tasks. Clearly outlining the expectations of each team member provides them with the information they need to accomplish their stated goals.
3. Automate When Possible
A successful deployment will include high quality code produced and tested in a reasonable amount of time. Many of these tasks can be redundant or monotonous which makes them perfect for automation.
Streamlining various tasks throughout the DevSecOps pipeline with automation reduces errors, speeds along the process, and contributes to a successful release.
Automated Release Management provides a series of essential tools that can be integrated into your development pipeline and personalized to address your exact needs. This includes essential services such as verifying code health, continuous integration & continuous delivery, complete data backups, and more.
Reducing the opportunity for human error in your DevSecOps pipeline and quickening your capacity for releases provides the greatest possible ROI and keeps your development cycle moving.
4. Test, Test, Test
Salesforce release management is an effort to streamline operations and ensure a successful release. And the best way to make sure your new development project will operate correctly upon deployment is to test every possible aspect of it.
Testing your code structure for bugs and correct operations before deployment will greatly increase your success rate.
Many of these tests can be automated. We discussed some of these powerful tools above. A great example is how static code analysis lets developers know the moment a coding error is made. Otherwise, this error might not be found at all and have a negative impact on the release. The other possibility is that the error or bug is found toward the end of the process, making it much more difficult and expensive to rectify before deployment.
5. Templatize the Process
Every development project is going to be unique in certain ways. However, there are going to be consistent aspects of the process, depending on which of the three categories the project falls into.
Establish standards for each type of development project and use them to shape your approach moving forward.
Create checklists with required steps and processes so nothing is left out. Your approach should change over time as you refine your practices based on successes and failures.
Having a solidified starting point which can then be altered to fit each new project will streamline the planning phase and make it easier to remain consistent in producing quality products.
6. Monitor for Inefficiencies
Your DevSecOps pipeline should be in a constant state of evolution. Pay attention to each step along the way. Do you notice any trends over the course of a few projects and releases? Are there things that are working while others are not?
Refine your approach over time through analyzing these various aspects.
Proper Salesforce release management will adjust itself over time to amplify the positive aspects of your efforts and rectify anything that can be improved upon.