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A Guide to Effective Change Management in Salesforce for DevOps Teams

Written by
Team Copado
Table of contents

Change management in DevOps is everything that happens between development and deployment. Constant updates — from minor tweaks to substantial infrastructure revamps — demand an organized and streamlined approach to help DevOps teams avoid errors, mitigate security risks, meet compliance and corporate policies, and deploy without any disruptions that could negatively impact the user experience. 

But, this is a lot easier said than done, no matter how experienced and skilled a given DevOps team may be. The good news is that there are tools out there that can assist the DevOps team, helping them manage those checks and balances in change management. 

Using Salesforce — in conjunction with Copado's DevOps platform — your organization can streamline the change management process as efficiently as possible. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything your DevOps team needs to know to use Salesforce to support change management

What is Change Management in Salesforce?

DevOps teams are, of course, no strangers to change management. But, it’s important to zoom out a bit to understand how much weight smooth change management carries for the entire organization, and not just your team. Because, despite its importance, many organizations still struggle to implement change management effectively, with only 34% of initiatives considered “successful”, according to Gartner

Therefore, having the right tools, knowledge, and talent at your disposal can help ensure your DevOps team can be successful at change management, leading to consistently positive results for your organization.

What Are the Major Challenges in DevOps Change Management?

Even as tools and technologies help make change management easier for DevOps teams (Salesforce being one of them), there are still some major challenges. According to DevOps and Change Management Challenges by Abebaw (Abel) Zeleke, DM, here are what DevOps teams are facing:

Knowledge transfer: Though effective knowledge sharing is key for integrating DevOps practices successfully, it remains a hurdle for many organizations —  particularly when onboarding new team members or dealing with high staff turnover, especially in offshore companies.

Environment consistency: Applications may work flawlessly in a development environment but fail in Quality Assurance (QA) testing if the test environment differs from the development setup. Ensuring identical hardware and software configurations across development, test, and production environments is essential for the successful execution of DevOps. This uniformity allows for effective testing in the development phase and addresses issues before deployment to production.

Cultural integration: Integrating new team members into the cultural norms of the DevOps team is another challenge. The adoption of DevOps practices not only requires technical skill alignment but also cultural fit within the team. This challenge is particularly pronounced in companies with frequent staff changes in the current economic climate, where maintaining a consistent team culture becomes difficult.

How To Implement Change Management in Salesforce in 7 Steps?

No two DevOps teams or organizations will go about their change management processes in the same way. But, using a tool like Salesforce helps to democratize what’s an inevitable task of any IT department. 

While some of these steps are very technical, we’re offering practical tips, tools, and technologies that not only help ensure everyone in your organization understands the need for change management in any given circumstance, but that YOUR team can be successful.

Step 1: Define Change Management Objectives and Prioritize

To get started, your organization should have a system in place to discuss, determine, and prioritize change management goals. Sometimes, it’s left entirely to DevOps, other times, other teams need to be involved. This may also depend on the impact of the change itself.

Work with your leadership team and stakeholders to discuss any proposed changes to your Salesforce environment, detailing the scope, urgency, and impact of each change. Then, prioritize changes based on criticality, ensuring high-impact modifications are addressed first for a smoother transformation journey.

Step 2: Establish a Solid Foundation with Version Control

 If you haven’t done so already, your DevOps team will need a solid understanding of your current Salesforce setup, including all configurations, custom code, processes, and workflows. This step is essential to know how future changes might affect your system. 

Next, you'll need to set up your version control system and integrate Salesforce with it, as this will be vital for tracking changes, enabling team collaboration, and safely rolling back updates if needed, going forward. Git is the de facto version control for Salesforce, and Copado offers Git-based Version Control, Managed by Copado. Of course, once you have this step, you can skip <it in the future.

Step 3: Assign Clear Roles and Responsibilities

Once you have your version control ready to go, you’ll need to develop a detailed strategy that delineates the path to implementing each change, assigning specific roles and responsibilities to accomplish them. Utilizing communication tools like Slack and/or project management tools like Asana, you can establish everyone’s roles before implementing each change. 

Step 4: Implement Continuous Integration and Deployment (CI/CD)

Next, it’s time to streamline the development process by automating code merging and deployment, ensuring a smooth and efficient journey. Adopt a CI/CD system to facilitate early detection of issues and maintain a consistent pace of progress. 

CI/CD in Salesforce not only removes the inefficiencies that come with manual work but also allows for the addition of considerably more components. Earlier detection of bugs, enhanced collaboration, and undeniably faster deployment are just a few more of the benefits of DevOps CI/CD.

Step 5: Execute Changes in Phases

Integrate prioritized changes into your Salesforce environment in manageable phases to minimize disruptions and manage dependencies effectively. Be prepared to reassess and adjust your strategy as obstacles emerge, ensuring smooth navigation towards your goals.

Step 6: Ensure Quality with Comprehensive Testing

 Introducing powerful testing capabilities should be a top priority when undergoing change management. To start, it goes without saying that you should always test changes in Salesforce sandbox environments to prevent impact on your live setup. Of course, your Sandbox environment also deserves its own attention before relying on it to help you with other jobs like change management. For instance, if your sandbox is out of sync — versus your environment being synchronized and ready-to-go — you could have additional problems on your hands. 

Next, conduct thorough Quality Assurance (QA) and User Acceptance Testing (UAT) to identify any vulnerabilities and ensure adherence to high standards, as well as to ensure stability and security of the changes. You can also invite end-users to validate changes in a controlled environment, ensuring the changes meet user needs and expectations. Copado Explorer makes this by solving manual testing headaches, eliminating chaotic feedback across Word, Excel and Slack. With this tool, your team can tacckle defects and convert explorations to scripts for seamless automation.

Additionally, Copado’s Robotic Testing delivers lightning-fast speeds, helping you to catch potentially disastrous bugs before your users do. This automation testing tool for Salesforce results in exceptional releases on an industrial scale, all while being 100% cloud-based.

Step 7: Finalize and Deploy

After successful QA and UAT, make any necessary adjustments based on feedback, preparing for final deployment. Once you’re sure the change is ready to go, deploy the finalized changes to the live environment, ensuring a seamless transition for users. 

Now, wash, rinse, and repeat for any future change management!

Monitoring and Evaluating the Change’s Impact

While DevOps teams are certainly focused on the actual change management process from beginning to end, many neglect the “end” part. That is to say, it’s important for the organization to monitor and evaluate changes that are made, before implementing new ones. This is so that necessary improvements are made, which is a key component of change management’s key principles, which we’ll cover in a bit. 

In the meantime, some ways that DevOps teams can understand the impact of their efforts include:

  • Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Choose clear metrics that reflect the goals of the change, such as system uptime, deployment frequency, and user satisfaction.
  • Use monitoring tools: Implement tools like Prometheus or New Relic for real-time insights into system performance and user experience.
  • Set up automated alerts: Configure alerts for when KPIs hit critical thresholds to quickly identify and address issues.
  • Gather user feedback: Collect feedback from end-users to gauge the change's impact on their experience and satisfaction.
  • Review incident reports: Regularly analyze incident reports for patterns that may indicate the change's effectiveness or areas for improvement.

Best Practices for DevOps Teams to Keep in Mind

Now that you know how to implement change management in Salesforce, let’s talk about the best practices to keep in mind as well as the key principles that should drive your change management approach, even with Salesforce as your helper:

  • Build a dedicated change management team: Assemble a dedicated team responsible for managing DevOps and CI/CD changes within Salesforce. This team's expertise and focus are crucial for navigating the complexities of change management, ensuring successful outcomes.
  • Embrace Agile methodologies: Adopt agile practices to remain flexible and responsive to changing business needs and customer demands. With Agile Planning, we’ve helped organizations level up their collaboration in order to deliver top-quality results.
  • Commit to continuous improvement: Always look for ways to refine and optimize your change management process. Use feedback and performance data to drive improvements, iterating your strategies to better meet the needs of your organization and its customers.
  • Establish clear Change Management protocols: As you continue to implement more changes, you’ll want to define and document the processes for requesting, reviewing, approving, and implementing changes. Involving cross-functional teams in these procedures ensures a comprehensive approach to change management, while also speeding up onboarding processes.
  • Conduct targeted training: Prepare your team for upcoming changes with detailed training sessions. Educating them on new processes, tools, as well providing guides and information best practices like those in this guide, is essential for smooth transitions.
  • Pay attention to trends: As in any aspect of IT, it’s important that DevOps teams and C-level leaders keep their eyes on trends in the industry. Watch out for the impact of AI, new tools and technologies, and how organizations plan to make tasks like change management even more efficient.

Streamline Your Organization’s Change Management with Copado

While Salesforce gives DevOps teams the right platform and tools to conduct change management protocols, sometimes your organization may need a helping hand. This is where Copado comes in. Not only do we offer additional integration tools with Salesforce, but our DevOps Platform is a leader in the industry, making tasks like change management that much easier and efficient for DevOps teams.

Still have questions?Talk to us today to learn more and book a demo!

Read More:

Case Studies: Successful Change Management in Salesforce

Here are two particularly impressive case studies of the success that comes with clinical change management:

Prysmian Group

After experiencing rapid growth over the past two decades, the power cable and optical fiber supplier Prysmian Group desperately needed an enterprise tool to manage the development lifecycle. After successfully integrating Copado’s DevOps platform and achieving end-to-end visibility, the brand has expanded into exciting new markets, including offshore wind farms and solar energy production. 

Kimberly-Clark Professional

Kimberly-Clark Professional - a janitorial supplies and personal care products manufacturer with millions of global customers - is the perfect example of the benefits of enhancing efficiency. After leveraging Copado in 2018, the company now has four times more releases each month, including a 50% decrease in fail rate and 18 times fewer tracking issues. Leveraging Salesforce quick deploy methods with Copado (among others) has been an indisputable success.

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About The Author

#1 DevOps Platform for Salesforce

We build unstoppable teams by equipping DevOps professionals with the platform, tools and training they need to make release days obsolete. Work smarter, not longer.

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