Two Weeks To Change A Picklist Is Thirteen Days, 23 Hours Too Long

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Even the simplest changes in Salesforce can have profound effects on the operation of the system.  Some will be harmless and helpful. Others will immediately break a process. But others will alter the way the system runs causing potentially irrecoverable damage to data.   The last result is the one we all fear most since it could go undetected for months. It’s not surprising that companies have struggled to simplify their change processes; requiring instead that all changes be reviewed by a change committee, center or excellence or most inefficiently of all the dev team.

We recently met with one of our Strongpoint customers – a large tech company that dominates its industry and has thousands of technical staff.  We asked them what they most loved about Strongpoint. They said “Speed”. They revealed that prior to adopting Strongpoint it was taking them at least two weeks to change a picklist (and sometimes longer).  Of course, actually changing a picklist takes only moments but in order to get approval they needed to write the user story, submit it for approval, dev would need to do an extensive impact analysis, then it would go to the change committee who would approve it and then back into the dev backlog to be assigned to a sprint, be changed and eventually get released.  With Strongpoint that had all changed.

In their new process, they opened a ticket for the change in Strongpoint which immediately advised them of the level of change control needed for the change.  Some lists had no risk at all and could be quickly changed in sandbox by an Admin and promoted to production using Strongpoint’s release tools after a quick approval.

Other lists had significant dependencies that needed to be considered.  Strongpoint automatically identified these and routed these to the dev team as before.  However, now the impact analysis showing all of the relevant objects was automatically performed by Strongpoint saving the dev team hours and hours of work so they could concentrate on actual coding.  Using the automated impact analysis, the dev team was able to quickly identify code or workflows that might be affected and to explore the automated documentation and dynamic dependency diagrams to prepare their impact mitigation plan in a fraction of the time.  If no code changes were needed the change could be routed back to the admins. Otherwise, the change was given it’s due and taken through the full software development lifecycle due to the code adjustments that were required.

  Most things are not this complex.

Most things are not this complex.

Another customer has taken an even more radical approach, their citizen developers are empowered to build in sandbox anything their teams need that has no external dependency. They don’t need permission until they either have their solution ready to go or need assistance from dev. All the while, Strongpoint is checking for unwise or potentially dangerous changes in sandbox so that the dev team or senior administrators can intervene to correct the approach.  Once completed, the solution is added to a release request. Strongpoint then routes it to the correct approval level and workflow. Scripted changes going to a proper review involving dev and management oversight, simpler changes going for quick approval.

When the dev team reviews the changes made by the citizen developers, they can see exactly what changed and all the objects that could be affected.  They can review the code for quality, checking for inappropriately used API and object references. It is much more efficient for the developers to review a solution that someone has built, than to try to understand the potential impact of what they might build.

None of this is to say that there is not a great case for proper agile development processes and practices.  If you are creating complex apps or code elements, complicated workflows with many stakeholders or adding scripting to objects that are already highly scripted, Strongpoint will flag those changes for Full Software Development Life Cycle and double check that your process was followed.

But most changes are not like that and now with Strongpoint, you can confidently identify which need extra scrutiny and which don’t and optimize your Salesforce development process accordingly.

Mark Walker