There is so much in Salesforce that can be adapted and customized, whether it’s to add some new fields for your team to fill in or to make everyone’s life a bit easier by automating some processes. But these changes take time! And time is often a resource that is scarce in the world of Salesforce Developers and Admins. With so many tools out there, finding the perfect tool can be difficult. But the right one will not only make your life easier, it will also help you save time and avoid ending up with a tool that just adds more clutter to your org. These tools can help you manage how you release your customization, understand the impacts of your changes, and back up your data, all while increasing efficiency.
Tools can come in the form of a Salesforce app or another system integrated into Salesforce. For everything you need to know about Salesforce integrations and apps, check out this article. Here below, we list a few of our favorite tools to use when releasing your new customized Salesforce features to your Salesforce org.
Having a plan and the ability to monitor that plan is vital to being able to release your customizations to Salesforce. Project management tools should have a good way to build out all of your tasks and structure them properly. This tool should then have the ability to manage and visualize the progress of both your individual tasks and, subsequently, your project as a whole.
Beyond that, it’s not just project managers who will be using this tool, since developers and other team members are typically working on the project as well. So, a good UI and the ability to properly communicate and collaborate are key to a great Salesforce project management tool. These features greatly improve your efficiency on key projects–by making sure vital information is delivered on time and to the right people–and also reduce the time spent on tedious tasks.
Here are our top two picks.
Price: Starting from $10 per month You can find it here.
Jira is a project management tool developed by Atlassian, which has also developed some other great tools, including Trello and Confluence. Jira is not specifically designed for Salesforce but fantastic for planning and tracking your projects. Creating a good plan may take a bit longer initially but will ultimately save vast amounts of time throughout your project, not only because you’ve worked out how to best utilize your team, but also due to the fact that you won’t have to spend nearly as much time managing the project.
Jira has been out for almost 20 years now, and while it’s concept of project management methodology is considered agile, it’s more in the vertical sense, which is great for smaller teams. Jira can also integrate with Salesforce and Panaya ForeSight for Salesforce, offering an amazing combination for safely releasing Salesforce customizations.
Our Favorite Feature: Roadmaps
Jira’s Roadmap gives a fantastic view of the timeline of your project, making it easy to visualize your progress and identify any tasks that need extra attention. The Roadmap is very user-friendly too, with options to toggle what detail your are viewing on your epics as well as the time frame within which you’d like to view them.
Image Source: https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/features
Price: Free You can find it here.
Salesforce’s very own project management system, Agile Accelerator, is great because it was created purely with Salesforce features. This makes it very easy to integrate into your Salesforce org, thus also easily allowing you to build your automation directly into Agile Accelerator, whether that means Agile Accelerator is the trigger to impact an existing feature or vice versa. It also uses the terrific Kanban system for its tasks, a tool that lends itself perfectly to agile methodology, which is all about making sure your team doesn’t lose time waiting for the next step or for another person to complete their piece. Agile methodology allows you to continuously pick up tasks throughout a project, saving not only time but money too!
Agile Accelerator does have its limitations and a fair number of bugs. One main issue, given the lightning speed at which most businesses work today, is that there are occasions when you must use Salesforce Classic, rather than Lightning, for the tool to work properly. This occurs especially when working with code and can admittedly be a real pain.
Our Favorite Feature: Mobile Tracking
In our digital world of working online, having Slack scrums, and holding Skype meetings, the ability to monitor and manage your projects on the go can really make life easier. Agile Accelerator was built on the Salesforce platform, so you can access it via the Salesforce1 mobile app. This means that you can view all the details of your project and check its progress without the need of a laptop or PC.
There’s nothing worse than completing hours and hours of hard work and then suddenly losing it all with no chance of ever recovering it! And yet, your work is not the only thing that you risk losing when releasing changes to a live Salesforce system. The data and metadata are at risk of getting accidentally deleted as well.
Two tools can help prevent such mishaps.
Price: Starting from $9 per month You can find it here.
GitHub is all about looking after your code and is primarily used by Salesforce devs to back up their code as they work. But GitHub also has a bunch of other great features, especially for collaborative team coding, that can be unlocked through other packages.
Our Favorite Feature: Code Review
With this feature, you and your team can post sections of code to be reviewed by other team members. This allows you to easily add their ideas and suggestions to your code, facilitating collaboration to deliver the best code possible for your project. Allowing others to review your code and add suggestions in this way saves time, not only because you learn new ways to make your code quicker and more efficient, but also because your team essentially creates part of your code for you!
Image Source: https://github.com/features/code-review/
Price: Starting from $1.95 per month You can find it here.
Data is key for businesses to operate, and OwnBackup makes sure that your data is not lost. It does this by running regular backups of your Salesforce data and metadata to an external secure database. Being preemptive about data loss is a great way to ensure you won’t lose time and efficiency on your project. Losing data can often be impossible to recover and also has the potential to end your project altogether.
Our Favorite Feature: Smart Alerts
The Smart Alerts feature will compare your data between backups and notify you if there is an extraordinary change to your records–such as if it has been removed or changed in any way. You can set the Smart Alerts to whatever parameters best suit your business and data. So if you don’t often change or delete your data, you can have very sensitive alert settings, keeping you notified of any changes that do occur.
Image Source: https://ownbackup.desk.com/customer/en/portal/articles/2938583-ownbackup-smart-alerts?t=667816
Salesforce as a system is a very complex web of databases and automation, with many features being directly dependent on others. So every time you customize Salesforce, there is a potential risk of impacting other features that you hadn’t intended to affect at all. Thus, impact analysis tools are vital for safely releasing customizations into your live system.
Here below is our top pick in the field: our very own Panaya for Salesforce!
Price: Starting from $350 per month You can find it here.
Finally we come to the best tool of all! Well, we like to think so. But honestly, Panaya ForeSight for Salesforce really can help make your life easier, as it is made specifically to help you safely manage and release changes into your Salesforce org and can save up to 50% of time on all of your projects. Plus, Panaya is also a project management tool! Now, you may be thinking, “There are well-established project management tools like Jira that we spoke about earlier, so why have two systems that do the same thing?”
We go into how Jira compares to Panaya as an agile project management tool here. But the thing that really sets Panaya apart as a tool for release is our prize feature: the impact analysis tool. This helps with understanding the impact of any customizations you’re looking to make to your system, tests these new customizations, and then releases them into your live system.
Our Favorite Feature: Scoping Impact
Being able to clearly see the impact of your changes enables you to understand what is actually going to happen when you release. This feature means that you can review the list of impacts and then amend the impacted features as needed to safely release your new work into the live system without issue.
Image Source: https://www.panaya.com/salesforce/
With the tools discussed above, you get a bit of a helping hand with managing your Salesforce project, understanding impacts, and backing up your system when releasing Salesforce customizations to your live system–all of which help you streamline your processes and save time. But alongside these tools, there are some additional best practices you can follow when making changes to features in your system, such as custom objects or fields.
Together, these tools and best practices will ensure that all of your changes are deployed safely, securely, and efficiently to your Salesforce org.