7 Ways to Improve Salesforce Release Management
Salesforce was originally designed as a CRM. However, it’s become a popular development platform due to its intuitive functionality. Salesforce utilizes a point-and-click interface that is easy to use, opening up the world of development to a wider audience.
This focus on functionality informs many parts of the Salesforce platform. However, as Salesforce is actually a CRM and not a dedicated development platform, there are aspects of the coding process that can be improved upon.
Deployment is one such aspect. This is when new features and updates are made live. Failures at this stage can result in costly delays. The new offerings won’t function correctly, leading to customer frustration. Developers will then need to seek out the error and revisit their work to correct it.
Release management provides structure to the various stages of a software build:
This process helps establish the credibility of any new lines of code before they are introduced to a live environment. Confidence in the quality of your rollouts saves you a lot of time on the backend.
How do you establish a successful process for quality releases?
Here are 7 considerations for a successful Salesforce release management plan:
1. Analyze Your Current System
The first step is to look at your current processes and identify areas that can be improved.
Even businesses without an explicit Salesforce release management protocol probably have a couple systems in place that are beneficial to your final product.
Have you noticed any problems in previous releases? Are there certain aspects of the process that experience bottlenecks in production? Have team members provided any useful feedback regarding current processes?
This information can be used to direct your actions.
Take some time to figure out which areas of your process require the most attention and work to address their issues in order of importance.
2. Streamline Collaboration
Many development projects include the work of multiple team members. This is a great way to quickly finish projects while also sharing ideas for an optimal product.
However, multiple people working on lines of code at the same time can create some problems:
- Overwriting of code changes
- Corruption of shared file servers
- Merge conflicts
Source code management tactics and software are an important aspect of comprehensive release management. For instance, AutoRABIT’s Version Control is a way to manage software revisions or updates over time, and is the foundation of effective team-based development.
Proper management of your team will help them to optimize productivity and prevent time-consuming mistakes.
3. Test New Integrations Before Deployment
New code commits should be analyzed prior to launch. This helps to find and rectify errors before they negatively impact the system in which they are to be integrated.
The best way to accomplish this is to keep a running system of checks going as developers introduce new code commits to the shared repository.
Any errors are then sent back for rectification before moving any further in the process. Step-by-step assurances of quality will greatly reduce the potential for future errors and unsuccessful deployments.
Continuous quality checks can be automated to look for inaccuracies within the coding structure.
4. Find a Deployment Schedule that Works for You
Your cycle of new releases can be configured to best fit your rollouts, production schedule, and need. Customers, employees, and even shareholders will benefit from knowing when they can expect new updates and offerings. A deployment schedule offers this information to them.
Establishing a routine helps your team create habits and find new avenues toward efficiency.
Analyze previous deployments for how long it took from planning through launch. Try to find an average for these projects and set realistic expectations for your team. Release management sets regimented tasks with the goal of creating repeatable success.
5. Incorporate Automation When Possible
Fast release cycles need to find ways to encourage speed in development processes. Automation is a great option for many industries to take tedious tasks off the hands of their developers so they can focus on more important responsibilities.
We’ve already mentioned how automation can be used to test new code commits for errors. This is a great use of automation, but it’s not the only possibility.
Automation can also be used to deploy new features and applications once they meet preset quality standards.
This is a great option for small updates, for example, which reduces costs and improves the end user’s experience.
6. Set Up Repeated Reports to Monitor Progress
Reports can be made available on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to track a variety of areas in your Salesforce release management process. Deployment reports, merge reports, and others can provide insight into the efficacy of your management efforts, and where some opportunities for improvement lie.
Reports provide actionable insight into your business processes and improve accountability.
Review this information frequently, especially as new processes are being integrated. Pay equal attention to what is working and what isn’t. Speak with team members working in underperforming areas for their firsthand insight into potential improvements.
7. Back Up Your Data to Avoid Repetitive Tasks
Backing up your Salesforce data should already be a part of your overall strategy. But in case it’s not, now’s the time to address this issue.
Accidents happen. Cyberattacks happen.
You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you lose access to your Salesforce data either through a mistake or a malicious act.
Backups save you money in the long run in saved time redoing old tasks to get caught back up after a data disaster. Remember that backups are only the first step—you will also need a plan for restoring your data from the backup repository.
Release management is a necessary consideration for optimizing your Salesforce development platform. Streamlining these processes will provide compounded benefits over time, but only if proper attention is paid to the matter upfront.