You can run into various issues when deploying custom objects in Salesforce. These include missing components, such as fields and record types, or test method errors on any new validations and data dependencies. So to help you prepare your deployments to prevent such errors, we’ve come up with these seven Salesforce deployment tips to help guide you through your deployments. You can also use Panaya ForeSight for Salesforce alongside these tips, giving you the ability to safely and efficiently deploy Salesforce Custom Objects to production.
#1 Plan Your Deployment
Every project needs careful planning, and deployments are no different. Deployments executed in stages can reduce the risk of errors by allowing you to regularly deploy a small number of specific components instead of everything all at once. In this way, you can check if the deployment is successful at each stage, making any changes if necessary before the next deployment stage. Breaking down your deployment like this can actually speed up your deployment in the long run, since it reduces the risk of ending up with a long list of errors from trying to deploy everything in one go.
Planning such a deployment involves specifying which components to deploy and in what order. When you have a large deployment, you may find this difficult to do without a Salesforce deployment tool. Panaya’s ForeSight project management feature allows you to plan your releases by specifying the components in each release.
#2 Make Sure It Works
Thorough testing is key to a clean deployment. It’s a best practice to perform a QA test and UAT test, as these ensure that the Salesforce custom objects you’re deploying are working as expected. You should use separate sandboxes for this, first deploying to a refreshed developer sandbox, then to a recently refreshed UAT sandbox prior to production. If you have Enterprise Edition, you get a partial sandbox, which is perfect for UAT testing!
And just like your deployment needs careful planning and management, so does your testing. Luckily, Panaya ForeSight has a great feature for this too. Its Salesforce test management tool will help you make sure your custom objects work perfectly for deployment.
For more testing tips and best practices check out our Salesforce changes and customizations best practices and tips.
#3 Understand the Impact
When deploying to production, you will be making changes to a live system, and some of the components you are deploying will have impacts on that live system. You need to be aware of these impacts so that you can plan for any possible amendments or training that may be required.
So how can you understand what impacts your deployment will have? Unfortunately, there are no tools in Salesforce itself that will give a full impact analysis. There is the “Where Is This Used?” tool that has just been released in the Salesforce Winter ‘19 release. But this only shows where a field is being referenced, not what that field might impact. Panaya ForeSighthowever has a feature that will show you exactly what your components will impact. This feature from Panaya allows you to safely plan and deploy your Salesforce custom objects and other components, knowing exactly what impact they will have.
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#4 Include Everything
Every change you make will have an impact in production, even when you change something that already exists. So when you are preparing for your deployments and creating your change sets, make sure to include all new and updated features for each change set. It can be very difficult to remember exactly what you’ve created and changed. Salesforce is highly connected to its features, and components that you didn’t even know about often end up changed!
If you do miss out on some components during your deployment, the deployment can error. This tends to happen due to one component (you knew about and included) that is dependent on a component you missed. Panaya ForeSight will show you every single feature that is connected and therefore dependent on the Salesforce custom objects you are deploying. So when you make any changes, you can rest assured that Panaya ForeSight will pick up all affected/dependent components and highlight them prior to deployment.
#5 Use the Right Tool
Deployments are a lengthy and complicated process. And unfortunately, Salesforce’s built-in tools aren’t the most useful in addressing issues that may arise. During setup, you can add your changes and new components to the standard change set tool. If you’re using this, the best practice is to add things as you change/create them, since Salesforce won’t tell you what needs to be in your deployment.
Alternatively, there are other great tools like clickdeploy.io that make deployment much easier. ClickDeploy.io is also free. However, most free tools leave room for good old human error. Panaya’s RDx, on the other hand, is built for the very purpose of full release management. With Panaya ForeSight you can easily see which components—such as Salesforce custom objects—have been created and/or changed and then add all changed/new components at once. Or, like we mentioned earlier, you can allocate the changed/new components to a specific deployment in your deployment plan.
#6 Phase Your Role Out
Don’t just spring the new Salesforce custom objects and changes on your team! For a smooth rollout you should make your new custom objects and changes available to a few select people first. We call these people superusers. They will be fully aware, trained, and on board with the new deployment and can get used to the new objects in your live environment.
There are many good reasons for having this type of staggered release. For one, it gives you time to train all of your users. Secondly, it means that you will have superusers who can help train and guide other users on your new objects. This process really helps your users get on board with new features, which in turn increases the efficiency and proper use of your system.
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#7 Don’t Forget Security Settings
Security in Salesforce is vital to maintaining a high level of data security. So make sure you apply security settings to your org when deploying custom objects. The key security features that you will need to set up are profiles and permission sets, since they control what your users see. These include any Salesforce custom objects you are deploying.
When you build your custom objects in the sandbox, you can easily forget to set the security settings on the custom objects for all profiles in your system. Even if you have set these settings up, as we mentioned earlier, you will want to only give permission to superuser profiles to see the objects. When you deploy any custom profiles to production, you will overwrite the profile settings in production. You need to be aware of this in case there have been any changes to these profiles since you started working on your objects.
Security in Salesforce can be hard to wrap your head around, so check out Part 2 in our How to Clean Your Salesforce Org in 6 Steps series, for a great how-to guide on users and roles.
So there you have it. In the past, you may have executed one big deployment to all of your users and with lots of errors as well as impacts to your org. But now, following these Salesforce deployment tips and tricks and using Panaya ForeSight for Salesforce, you can happily deploy your Salesforce custom objects in confidence.
There are lots of other features alongside custom objects in Salesforce that need careful management—not just during deployment, but with each and every change. So we’ve also written up some helpful tips on how to manage features like picklist values, workflows, and custom fields and how Panaya ForeSight can help you manage changes to these features with clear visibility into any possible impacts for smooth, efficient updates each and every time.