Stakeholders

  • How to Plan Your Move to Lightning Experience

    For many businesses, now is the time to move to Salesforce Lightning.  But moving to Lightning can feel like a daunting task.  Where should you start?  How to you make sure you don’t disrupt the business?  So in this first post, we will take a look at how to plan your move to Lightning Experience.

    In the next post, we look at how to implement your plan and go-live!  But in the meantime, if you have any tips of your own, feel free to add them in the comments section below.  And let’s start planning…

    Planning your move

    migrating to Lightning is all about planning

    Before we start, let’s just clear the air.

    As an #AwesomeAdmin you probably already know there is planning required to make the switch over.  The old adage – ‘failure to plan, is planning for failure’ – is never truer than when changing how a user works within a system.

    But driving user adoption and making the transition as smooth as possible, doesn’t need to be overly complicated process though.  And by planning your transition you set yourself up for the best possible result.

    So let’s get started.

    WIIFM?!… What’s In It For Me?

    One of the first steps to planning any change should to be understand the ‘what’s in it for me’.  It is the first question most users want to know about any change…

    Salesforce Lightning adoption - answer 'What's in it for me' from your end-users point of view
    Understanding ‘What’s In It For Me?’will help drive adoption…

    Sure Lightning Experience looks great.  You can now customise the colours to match your company identity…

    But that doesn’t really engage end-users in using the platform.  After all we want them to use the system once we make the change, don’t we?…

    Be honest with yourself.  Would a typical sales, customer service or partner really care about that?

    Answering this question for each type of stakeholder is one of the best ways to ensure everyone buys-in to making the move.

    A great example is dealing with a stakeholder from Sales.  Lightning offers many new features which benefit most sales users.  Here are a few…. Sales Path to guide on what to do in the system to move to the next stage.  Kanban board for managing your pipeline with drag-and-drop ease.  What about Sales Console?  Use of macros practically anywhere in Salesforce?

    The point here is to you need to demonstrate you understand your end-users by understanding their problems.  If you understand the problem, you can effectively position a feature or benefit that solves it.  And this helps engage these stakeholders early on…

     Why should we invest in making this change?

    The next step is to develop a business case.  It sounds horrible, but it can really help in convincing your senior stakeholders on why they should support the change.  And to drive adoption when launched, you need their support…

    Salesforce Lightning Experience across multiple devices
    Even Astro loves Lightning Experience…

    This may not be applicable for all business, but I always try to work out a rough cost/benefit to any changes my team make.  Even if it is just an estimate.  And this loops back to understanding the WIIFM within your business.

    Every business problem – and in turn the potential solution – have a potential time/cost associated with them.

    This is the gold dust in developing your business case to answer the question most senior stakeholders within business would ask,

    As an example, a simple cost-to-benefit calculation could be based on decreasing sales admin time.  By improving the time taken to process and close a contract within the system, you can quantify the potential upside to the business.

    So if an average salesperson closed an extra 2 deals a day/month/year due to improving the sales workflow in Lightning, how much is that worth to your business?  (average contract value * extra deals per day = potential upside).

    Keep in mind, this is only an estimate.  But it can be a useful way to engage the business and to capture metrics relating to the success of the project once completed.

    Mind the gap…?

    Salesforce has spent the last couple of years attempting to make Lightning match the features of Classic.  But there are still some gaps between Classic and Lightning Experience.

    The next item on our list is to check what these gaps actually mean your org.  By doing so you ensure your users can still use all key features they need.

    If there is a feature gap or limitation, the next step should be to look at the publicly available roadmap.  This outlines the upcoming features planned for release and may cover the feature that is a priority for you.

    Also each published version of the release notes now include a section on what is and what is not included in Lightning Experience.  For the Spring ’18 section, please have a look here.

    Side note: The roadmap is scheduled to be updated after the Spring ’18 release, but a handy video to watch about the Force.com platform and upcoming features is the True to the Core video.  Or there is a breakdown of the expected features in the 2018 predictions post here.

    Resources

    Salesforce is clearly invested in supporting all orgs to move to Lightning Experience.  Releases now introduce most new features as Lightning Experience only.  But to help, there is a wealth of content available for free to sink your teeth into.

    For starters there is a great Trailhead module specifically on getting hands-on with a Lightning Experience roll-out.  There is also a quick overview of the steps on the Admin blog.  But personally I highly recommend jumping to the Power of Us site, which has been setup to cover best practice for making the jump to Lightning.

    Each and every org now also has the Lightning Readiness Check built-in.  And the check gets an update every release to give you more and more insight into your org’s compatibility into making the change.

    If you want more information about how to take a business-first approach to rolling out Lightning, I found this article over on SalesforceBen.

  • Why creating a roadmap is important

    How can planning a roadmap be used to support your Salesforce org?  Especially when it is used by more than just one team in your the business.  How can you ensure you deliver what is truly needed?  How do you prioritise your efforts?

    What is a roadmap?

    First thing first, let’s have a quick look at what a roadmap is.

    charles-darwin-quote
    Change is the only constant, how will your business adapt?
    A roadmap is a strategic business planning tool often used to outline the future vision of a system(s) or product.  It will show what changes and development is needed to get there and will visualise the items you plan to deliver over a specific timespan.

    So how does that relate to Salesforce?  In a world that is full of change and competing priorities, business is no different.  There will be new bugs and issues to fix.  New business priorities which may change the strategic direction, resulting in changes to the system. As a result, any roadmap will need to continously evolve as the business priorities change.

    A system roadmaps is most often used in Agile delivery environment, and will help stakeholders visualise where/when any planned improvements are likely to happen.

     

    But why is it important?

    Imagine your working on a jigsaw puzzle.  You know somehow it all fits together, but you are not sure what you should focus on first.  All the pieces just seem a bit random at the start.  Then slowly but surely you start to set a strategy in place.  A plan of attack for solving the puzzle.

    Maybe you start by putting all the edge pieces in place first, followed by any pieces that relate to distinct image that is part of the puzzle.   Then over time as you have more and more of the pieces in place, you start to see the image come together.  Now imagine you are working on the jigsaw puzzle with other people.  How will can you make sure you are all aligned and working towards the same goal?

    To me this is essentially what a roadmap is and why it is important.  Breaking the puzzle into smaller focus areas allows you to create a strong foundation for tracking your progress as you go along.  And by setting a strategy in place, you should be able to deliver the finished result quicker than if you just tried to solve it in a random / unplanned fashion.

    As an example of a roadmap, Monzo (a start-up bank here in the UK) openly publishes a Trello product roadmap for their apps, detailing the features planned running against a timeline (short term, medium term, etc).  If you want to check it out, you can view it here.

     

    How do you create a roadmap?

    Where do you start?  Planning your roadmap is an overall, continous process.  But by taking the time to define and maintain it, you continually evolve what the future vision looks like and become more proactive about where Salesforce will grow/develop – which in turn should minimise those ‘why didn’t I know about it’ moments.

    There are a number of steps you can go through, and by all means this isn’t a definitive list.  Also keep in mind that project methodolodies (eg Agile) may also play a part in the ‘how’ and ‘what’ you need to define.

    Identify stakeholders & research

    If you are starting from scratch, identify your key end-users & stakeholders (Sales, Finance, Marketing, IT, etc)?  By knowing who to go to, you can then research what is important to your business.  Ask what are their key priorities for the year ahead.  What improvements would they love to see made to Salesforce?  If you don’t have a relationship with your stakeholders, this will helps to open the door.  And will also come in handy later on.

    Innovation & ideas

    You might also have your own improvements or changes you want to make to Salesforce.  After the last post, you might have identified potential technical debt within your Salesforce which needs to be addressed.

    Also what about new features and innovations you want roll out.  Things like a move to Lightning UI?  All of this will need to be added into the mix too, as remember we need to balance out all of the priorities as we won’t be able to do it all at the same time. 🙂

    By combining the earlier research with your own ideas, you now have a list of different and competing business priorities.  But how do you sort through the list?

    Setting the business priorities

    Firstly some priorities which get raised will simply be so critical to the business that the priority and timeline will almost be set for you.  For everything else, here is where you can get creative.

    One idea is to get your key stakeholders together in a room.  In this session encourage people to be open and transparent, while keeping everyone focussed on what is best for the business  and not individual departments/teams.  Going around the table, everyone who raised a priority gives an elevator pitch to the group covering where they see the value of the request.  As each pitch is given, a card or post-it goes up on the wall.ideas on a whiteboard

    After the pitches are finished, give out three sticky dots to everyone (or you can simply use pens).  Next tell them to place two dots next to the idea they would prioritise first and one dot on their second priority.  The aim is to get some overall coordination on what to focus on first, where the priority is driven by the highest amount of dots – where you sort the cards by descending order.  Close out the meeting by going around the table again and confirm if people agree with the outcome.

    By involving your stakeholders in setting your roadmap, you allow them to buy in to the future vision of the platform.

    Unfortunately there can be circumstances where stakeholders can’t come to a conclusion.  This is when you would become a little more direct.  The group should at least try and seperate out the list into what is needed versus what’s a nice to have.  If this still doesn’t work, you may need to get an appropriate Sponser (possibly a senior leader within the business) involved.

    Visualise the roadmap

    Roadmaps come in all shapes, sizes and formats.  It is important to realise that they are generally high-level in nature.  Covering the themes and objectives you plan on delivering. Save the detail of what needs delivery for a project plan and the team involved in delivery.

    Personally, I have I tend to only set a roadmap for the next 6-12 months.  And then bundle everything else together under a header of ‘future items’, but you can be as creative as you want.  As mentioned earlier, these plans are subject to change.  Aim is to make it easy enough to adjust moving forward.

    When it comes to estimating the time and effort, there will be an element of making an educated guess on some of the work involved.  Ask around the Salesforce community and see what others estimate.  If there is a vendor/partner involved, they can also give you an idea of the effort involved.

    Another very simple example of a roadmap would be to group items by a theme down one column, and have your timescale running along the top.  Then your individual deliverables/projects become the cells in between.  Here is another example of what you could do simply in a spreadsheet:

    roadmap example
    Example of a roadmap
    There are plenty of other alternatives out there though, just do a Google image search for other examples!  As mentioned above, you can use a bit of creative license here.  Just make sure it is easy to understand what you are trying to convey.

    Communication

    Now we are near the finishing line of this whole process.

    After putting all of this together, play back the outcomes with key stakeholders to get a final sign-off.  Doing this allows any further alterations to be made.  It also ensures that everyone has bought in to the process and vision, meaning you can then focus on delivery.

    And remember to revist the roadmap roughly every six months.

     

    Wrap up

    I will reiterate that this is just one way to come up with a roadmap.  The process can vary depending on the size of your business, what the priorities are and even lines of accountability within your company.

    For an additional resource there is a great Trailhead module (Innovation Solutions), which covers the topics of roadmaps and implementation planning.

    I would love to hear from you and your experiences when setting a roadmap.  Please feel free to add in the comments below any steps you take in creating a roadmap.

  • The magic formula for project success?

    How many projects teams have you been a part of?

    Now let’s count up how many of those were projects were a successes?  Is your tally 100%? (If it is, congrats!)

    The more projects you play a part in, the more likely it is that you would have been part of a project that might not have been a success.  It might have missed its planned dates or not delivered on one of its core objectives.  Or even worse, it might not of set objectives to start with!

    Regardless of which project methodology (Agile, Waterfall, Prince2, etc) you subscribe to – is the magic formula that drives success?

     

    The ‘magic’ formula

    I am going to share the secret formula with you – but you have to promise to use it wisely!

    S = cm ( cl + de)

    Ok, ok – so I might be joking around a bit there, but let me put it another way.  Success = communication, clarity & definition.

     

    Success = communication, clarity & definition

    Communication:

    Before you take another step this is where you should make sure the basics are in place and for me that revolves around ‘communication‘.  I will definitely agree that it is important throughout a project’s life-cycle, but the start of a project is when it’s the most critical, yet this is when its most overlooked!

    Have you defined who you need to communicate with?  There will be key stakeholders, subject matter experts (SMEs) and end-users.  Depending on the project, they might be the same people.  How are you going to make sure people are involved at the right time?

    What frequency will the project team communicate to the various groups of stakeholders, SMEs?  Set expectations early on and adjust accordingly.

    The key is to ensure the project team and the business are ultimately aware of what they need to be, and when they need to be to make any relevant decisions.

     

    Clarity & definition:

    This is the fun part for a lot of projects! And more often than not it’s because the project team is a group of people who have never worked together before.  Which can add additional challenges and potential set-backs on top of trying to deliver the project.

    As a team develops it goes through various stages of development (see here for the theory).  Generally the most painful part is the ‘storming’ stage, as this is where people in the group may start to step on the toes of others within the team.

    This is where clarity and definition play such a pivotal part within the project.  By providing as much clarity and definition, the aim here is to fast track the project team through the forming and storming stages of development as soon as possible.

    What are some key ways of doing this?  The type of things I would consider going into a project would include:

    What are the objectives and goals of the project?  How do you know when the project is finished?  Believe me some projects aren’t so clear cut as to when the finish line has been crossed!

    Can you define what success looks like at the end of the project?  It is great getting to the finish line, but how will you and the team know what success looks like?

    Does everyone in the project team know what role they will play within the project?  Having clear roles/responsibilities can help reduce future issues and help the team come together faster.

    Is everyone talking the same ‘language’?  I don’t just mean English/Spanish/Mandarin… But what about common jargon/terminology used within the business?  This tends to be a big area where a lot of assumptions are made, and then cause major issues when delivering of the project.  You might be all talking about a football, but what kind of football – soccer, rugby union, rugby league…  Don’t make assumptions!

    Key deliverables versus wish list items  – defining this early on will help with stakeholder management and to prevent project ‘scope creep’.

    Get the team involved…

    You might not be able to answer all of these by yourself, so what better way to get the team involved early on?

     

    Share your experiences.

    There are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to project management.  But the most successful projects I have been involved in have really focussed on getting the small things right early on and building on that foundation.

    So for me, the magic formula is the basics done well…  Success = communication, clarity & definition 🙂

    Do you have any project success stories to share?  Or maybe some less successful ones, where you have some lessons you learned from?

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