Salesforce Governance Simplified
Based on the original by James Burns
Globally, customers make the following comments:
The above are just some of the comments and these can all be addressed by Business Sponsors engaging throughout the whole project life cycle and specifically owning the Business Backlog.
- “The system does not meet our Business needs”.
- “We get too many conflicting requests for enhancements which we can’t deliver”.
- “The system is out of date since the Business processes have changed during the development”.
- “It’s too hard to use so we don’t use it”.
- "I only input data I have to once a month because I have to, because I get no value from the system."
- “Management can’t trust the data so they just use Excel”.
So what is the Business Backlog? It is a complete list of the requests that a Business wants delivered within the project. It ranges from complete new features like forecasting, a small alteration to an existing process such as modifying a stage within the Sales cycle, to minor changes like adding a new picklist item.
Why Business Sponsors Should be Involved
As stated above, customers often say that the system does not meet their needs or the system is out of date. The reason for this is that IT is not the Business User and not “mind readers” so the Business Sponsors need to be totally engaged to explain and drive the requirements through the complete application lifecycle. Let me explain:
- Many Businesses have unique Business processes with plenty of nuance and unless the Business Sponsors are engaged, these can be implemented incorrectly.
- If more than one Business Unit is involved with the project they can have conflicting requirements, so who makes the decision on when the requirements are developed? To me this decision should be made by the Business Units working together and, based on the overall corporate business goals and strategies, the project charter helps with this process.
- The most successful Salesforce projects are where they have documented a small number of Business KPIs which need to be defined and agreed on by the Business Sponsors then documented in the Charter. During the decision process these KPI should be used to prioritize all requirements and the Business Sponsors needs to monitor their progress in achieving their KPIs.
- If any system is going to be useful it needs to be used daily, especially a solution developed on the Salesforce platform. If this is not being achieved, then the Business Sponsors needs to investigate the reason why. It could be inconsistencies within the business process, lack of end user training, poor system usability or a lack of communication around the business transformation.
- Have you said or heard this statement “You did not document the requirements clearly enough to the Business Sponsors and you did not understand the requirements to the delivery team”. This occurs mainly due to 2 factors, poor communications and the lack of the Business Sponsors being totally involved in the whole process. We will go into more detail below under agile development.
- If carrying out agile development, then the Business Sponsors needs to be involved in agreeing the definition of “Done”, this makes sure that expectations are being met.
Early in my career I discovered how important it was to constantly focus on delivering value to the Business. One of Facebook’s core values as outlined in Facebook’s S-1 Letter from Mark Zuckerberg State “Move Fast: Moving fast enables us to build more things and learn faster” Due to the uniqueness of the Salesforce platform we can deliver solutions very rapidly. Many of our successful customers follow Facebook with “go fast not perfect” this really improved the delivery of value. So what does that mean when developing solutions? You should always be looking for that value transaction that the system is offering the end users, eg: Are these enhancements making:
So the aim of this point is when prioritizing all the requests, make sure everyone has a real measurable value transaction to the users. The Business People are the only people who know the business challenges in depth enough to make sure the value is delivered.
- The daily job of the Salesman on the road easier?
- Is it easier for the Sales Manager managing his business?
- Is the call centre agent’s productivity increasing?
- Does the Executive have the information to make decisions?
North Star (Charter) - If you document your business goals and the strategies to achieve these goals using Salesforce within the solution, the Charter will let everybody involved understand why the project is being carried out. However, it is very common for the scope of projects to expand, causing delays to delivering business value. The Charter will allow the team to prioritize the requirement to focus on the area that will meet their business goals as fast as possible. This Charter should be developed and owned by the project stakeholders and should include key business KPI’s which is communicated to everybody involved or affected by the project including end users.
The Business Sponsors needs to define the scope and size of the requests with help from the delivery team, and prioritise all the requests and define the project roadmap which the delivery team will implement based on capacity. The reasons are:
- Due to the nature of the Salesforce platform, you are able to deliver solutions to the Business very rapidly. To achieve a high Business value transaction, the Business Sponsors needs to own the backlog and hence the user stories.
- Using the Charter & KPI’s, the Business Sponsors needs to prioritise their user stories.
- IT needs to help in the sizing of the user stories and what can be delivered in each release based on IT capacity.
- If the Business Sponsor has a practical requirement which can’t be met due to IT capacity constraints, they can develop a business case to secure additional funding for this requirement which will allow IT to increase their capacity.
End User Feedback
As stated above, it is very important to focus on the value transaction, specifically with end users. To help in this process is to gather end users feedback:
- Very key to the overall success of a Salesforce program is to have a well-documented end user feedback loop, especially during the early sprints to make sure that the system developed will meet the goals of the users and help them deliver a better customer experience.
- The process should also communicate back to the end user the decision of their suggestion and the reason.
- Create a group of Power Users throughout your whole organization who can collect end user feedback.
- Another process to consider when the system is in production is to hold a small percentage (5-10%) of the development budget / capacity for all the small end user suggestions. While this can have a less significant business value it drives end user adoption and can also improve data quality.
Based on experience the biggest cause of challenges during project implementation is the lack of communications between all the stakeholder and interested parties including the end users. It is important to put in place a clear communication strategy, and the first document to share is the program charter. This will make sure everybody is on the same page. Also consider...
It is important to have a comprehensive communication strategy in place to develop a greater understanding of the project goals & strategy and why these changes are occurring.
- Program newsletters.
- Program web site or chatter group.
- User group meetings.
- Publish the planned roadmap and explain why the decisions have been made.
- “Brown bag” session lead by the Power users.
Key to any software solution is to encourage users to use the system. There are 2 approaches that can be applied, the carrot or stick. Based on experience for long term adoption the stick approach is never successful. So what are the carrot strategies?
- Value Transaction: Making sure the system and any enhancements always focus on delivering value to the end users.
- Simple to use: I have seen in my career too many systems that have been designed by IT which are very complex to input data and hence to use. This is due to the misunderstanding of the requirements by IT. In order to drive high adoption, you need to make the system as simple as possible to use and only request the minimal amount of data that is required for the current state of the process.
- High Data quality: A common statement is “Crap in, Crap out”. There are 2 main causes for this. One is complex data input which asks for currently unknown data, and secondly historic data which needs effort assigned to address it.
It is very important to develop a training schedule to match the release roadmap, and this training should be customized for each persona group. This may be a mix of email, webcast or hands-on. The focus of the training should be based on the value transaction for the persona. Finally this training should be delivered in a timely manner to support the release.
The exit-criteria are to determine whether a product backlog item is complete. In many cases the Definition of Done (DoD) requires that all regression tests should be successful. The definition of "done" “may vary from one Scrum team to another, but must be consistent within each team”. Ken Schwaber, Agile Project Management with Scrum, p.55]