Salesforce is one of the most popular business applications out there, with over 150,000 customers, a number that continues to grow. Its low-code, simplified interface, and wide range of integrations have become the bedrock for achieving business results. However, a relatively user-friendly interface does not mean it's without challenges. Salesforce deployment best practices will help your organization streamline the rollout of your business solutions.
Salesforce initially went public in 2004. Since then, its revenue has increased to 221 times the initial amount. Salesforce started out as a customer relationship management service, but client feedback demanded more. The Salesforce Platform, Force.com, expanded developers’ ability to build bespoke applications and user interfaces. The platform became even more developer-friendly with Salesforce DX (Developer Experience). Acquiring Tableau made Salesforce a leader in business analytics, while Einstein allowed those analytics to drive business decisions. All of these options, and more, have transformed the Salesforce Platform into a service capable of supporting entire business ecosystems. However, to take full advantage, you need to use best practices during deployment.
The Salesforce Development Lifecycle
One of the most important parts of application lifecycle management in Salesforce is testing. That's why it appears so often in the six development cycles:
Plan Release: Create a timeline for the project that includes key stakeholders and end users.
Develop: The team takes the project and runs with it.
Test: Get down to a granular level in testing. Check each line of code before it's added to any other work.
Build: Combine all the assets.
Test: Test the entire system, to include how it works with external programs. Obtain feedback from users.
Release: After resolving all issues, release.
While repeated testing may seem like it would slow the process, it actually allows teams to move faster and minimize mistakes. Issues are caught when they're small and easy to trace. Best practices should mirror these cycles and include tools to make them easier.
6 Salesforce Deployment Best Practices
There are six Salesforce deployment best practices you should incorporate into your Salesforce development practices to ensure smooth go-lives:
#1: Implement release and iteration planning
This is not just about planning the project itself. It focuses on what you need to achieve your end goal. The team collects information on requirements. They use those requirements to create features and user stories, and then present that information for approval. This collaborative approach ensures realistic scope and timelines. It also helps identify the necessary subject matter experts for the project.
#2: Develop a Sandbox Strategy
An environment strategy should guide your feature and user story development process. This strategy should outline the data requirements for each stage of the development lifecycle, who is responsible for the environments, and who can access them. A successful environment strategy should be informed by your organization’s data policy and comply with governmental or industrial regulations. Using sandbox mode can help not just with testing but also with building your development pipeline.
Salesforce offers four different types of sandbox modes:
Full: Because this environment contains production data, access should be limited. It should be a fully functional environment with all of the integrations in place so that users with appropriate access levels can complete user acceptance testing.
Developer: Developer mode is intended for managing more isolated tasks, like testing and quality assurance. It has a storage capacity of 200 megabytes
Developer Pro: Developer Pro expands on the storage in basic developer Sandbox mode, allowing up to 1GB.
Partial Data: Partial Data relies on metadata and a sample of organizational data. This environment is appropriate for performance testing, staging, and training the change management team.
Different contracts include different sandbox modes. If you want to use full sandbox mode, you’ll need a full sandbox license. However, this license will also give you access to all other sandbox types, making it worth the investment.
#3: Create a Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)
Developers have their ways of doing things. However, when each person is working on their own project, with little communication and conflicting documentation, conflicts are bound to arise. That’s why it's essential to establish clear parameters to follow as they move through the SDLC process. Clear processes eliminate the risk of variances that will lead to issues.
Salesforce is a no- and low-code environment, so it’s important to develop processes for these users as well. Clear guidelines will give them the freedom to create without creating conflicts with those using a CLI.
This is also the stage where you should outline your continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/C) requirements. Your CI/CD pipeline delivers changes and maintains project flow. Ideal CICD tools facilitate collaboration while supporting integration and end-to-end visibility.
#4: Establish continuous testing
Customized code will require regular testing to ensure it works as expected. You can leverage automation to complement manual tests to test your Salesforce deployments end-to-end. Standard automation testing tools, like Selenium, Puppet, Jest, or Postman, tend to focus on experienced developers. However, when testing is not accessible to low- or no-code users, bottlenecks build up. Copado Robotic Testing offers a low-code automated testing platform that can help your users create these solutions without other programs' barriers.
#5: Set up version tracking
Version control is vital for organizations of all sizes. Tracking and managing code changes will make it easier to understand where issues occur and eliminate bugs. It's also essential when mapping your value stream so you can discover waste and cut out bottlenecks.
Copado Version Control is our turnkey solution to this best practice. It’s hosted by us and provides a secure, dedicated version control platform built on Git that integrates seamlessly with your other repositories and platforms.
#6: Establish appropriate permission levels
Salesforce provides the ability to manage access to records and objects through permission set groups, permission sets, muting permission sets, roles and hierarchies, and an organization-wide default (OWD) sharing model. Always follow the Principle of Least Privilege: provide the lowest possible permission set the user needs to complete their job. While you can always give more access as needed, you can't take it back if someone’s credentials are compromised.
Salesforce deployment best practices involve front-loading as much of the work as you can so that your program can handle just about anything when you go live. Copado offers companion software to this valuable platform, making it easier to implement all these best practices and continuously improve your results. Using Salesforce and Copado together, you can improve your software rollout cycle while strictly controlling your quality.