You’ve been working on your Salesforce implementation for a while now. And the good news is you’re almost there! But before you go live and get cracking in a real life environment, it’s a good idea to perform some checks to ensure you’re truly ready.

These checks are usually classified in four categories: people, data, system and processes.

People Readiness

You can have the best application in the world. But if your users aren’t ready, you’ll probably have a crisis on your hands in a few days. People are the heart and soul of your Salesforce project. As project leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure they’re ready.

At this stage, users should have been thoroughly trained.  Ideally, you should also conduct a user competency assessment. One of the easiest, most effective ways of knowing if your users are ready is to interview or survey them.

To do this, take a sample of your user base, making sure to include all key stakeholder groups.  Ideally, you should interview 10-20% of your users.  Here are some examples of simple, specific questions to ask:

    • Do you feel you have received enough training to run the new application?
    • Do you have the appropriate documentation (operating procedures) to run the application?
    • Do you understand the business rules of the application and the new processes?
    • Is your role and your tasks in the new application well defined?
    • Do you know where to get help if you need to?

Take care to acknowledge their answers and avoid defending your approach. If they feel the training wasn’t thorough enough, take it as a lesson learnt. Ask them their thoughts on what you should have included. This will help you to improve your project management skills and how you approach training on future projects.

Salesforce Implementation: are you ready to go live?

The interview is also a good opportunity to reinforce to users what to expect after go-live. For example, the first 10 days after go-live are usually challenging.  Users may need to work extra hours to process a standard daily workload until they get familiar with Salesforce. Think about how you’ll recognise your team’s extra effort during this critical phase. Consider whether paying them overtime or rewarding them in some other way may be possible.

Don’t forget to also consider customer and suppliers. It’s a good idea to prepare all customers if your project will impact them.

Data Readiness

Make sure you review data to ensure it is clean and avoid “firefighting” following the go-live. Typically, your data set should be complete and accurate. Your checklist should include:

    • Is your data correctly set up?
    • Are your integrations tested and operational?
    • Is your data quality review process in place?
    • Are all users correctly set up in Salesforce, as well as the relevant authorisations?

Many project managers underestimate the data conversion phase. As a rule of thumb, we recommend you give as much priority to data conversion as other aspects like processes and systems functions.

A bad set of data can completely destroy the perception that users and key stakeholders have of your new Salesforce application. Not to mention their preparedness to get on board…

System Readiness

It seems an obvious point, but… as project leader you should now check the Salesforce application itself. At a high level, review the functionality has been checked.

Firstly, perform a full review of the issue log for issues which are still open. You can then assess and weigh each issue that is still open.

If issues are severe enough to prevent the go-live, you will have two options:

1. Discuss and agree the workaround, or
2. Fix the issue before go-live (usually highly unlikely considering the amount of cutover activities)

In any event, it’s a good idea to communicate with users what they can expect. They’ll be much more supportive if they know what issues are still open, when they’ll be fixed and what the workarounds are in the meantime.

Most applications these days are hosted or accessible in the Cloud.  That said, it’s a good idea to perform some infrastructure checks before you go live. Typical checks may include:

    • Can everyone access the application?
    • Are we happy with the performance of the application?
    • Can we print, email, etc.?
    • Is the Outlook/Gmail integration working correctly?
    • Is the mobile access tested?

are your team ready to go live?

Process Readiness

As for any new application, your Salesforce processes should be well defined during the implementation. The process readiness includes four checks:

1. Have all business processes been defined and documented?
2. Do all users know where to access the process maps?
3. Do all users understand the process maps?
4. Have all the support processes been established?

Formal go/no go decision

Once you’ve conducted your readiness assessment across all four categories, you should be ready for the go/no go meeting. As part of the meeting, involve the key project stakeholders (including sponsors, owners and the steering committee) and present the project team’s findings and recommendations. Based on the results of your assessment, you can collectively make an informed decision to either go ahead with the go-live or postpone.

How can we help you?

Carnac Group is a Salesforce consultant serving both the Australian and New Zealand markets.  We advise clients on any or all aspects of Salesforce implementations, from project inception and Salesforce strategy through to day-to-day support and continuous improvement. If you’d like some help reviewing your project before go-live (or any other aspect of your Salesforce for that matter), please get in touch. We’d love to help.