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Roadmap to Success

Here is how we train and onboard our customers to ensure that your team finds quick success with DevOps for Salesforce.

March 5, 2020

Getting a release management solution in place for Salesforce involves both technology change and process change. Both are equally important.

Our goal is that we make the technology change simple. We can implement the product for your account in one day. Your admins and developers can be making Git commits and pull requests with relative ease.

However, we have seen first hand that being a process-partner in addition to a technology-partner is just as important for our customers in finding success with DevOps.

Accordingly, we have worked with customers over the past 4 years to develop what we call our “Roadmap to Success”. This is a customized onboarding and training program designed to ensure that our customers actually become successful using Blue Canvas to achieve a happy DevOps flow for Salesforce.

Every organization is different and it’s constantly being updated and improved with each implementation, but here is a simple template for how we might rollout Blue Canvas for your team.

Who is involved

Technical account manager

Each Blue Canvas customer gets a designated technical account manager (TAM). They are assigned to you as a single point of technical contact that you can go to for advice and escalate issues to.

Your designated experts

We work with a designated expert model in which every customer selects 2-3 people to act as trained power users of the product. Designated experts get special training on the product and on DevOps best practices. Our goal is to train them to be leaders for your wider team. Your team can turn to them with questions, not just about Blue Canvas but about source control, Git, DevOps, CI/CD and any other topics related to your release management implementation.

Your executive sponsor

The executive sponsor typically has a minimal role in the actual technical implementation, but they should be involved in defining and understanding key success criteria. They ultimately want to ensure that the rollout is successful and so we involve them in the process.

Blue Canvas success team

In addition to your TAM, you of course also have access to our customer success team at support@bluecanvas.io who can help resolve issues for you as they come up.

Step 0: Define Success Criteria

Time: 30-60 minutes

We start the process with a kick off meeting in which we define success and work to set and understand your goals. Everyone is at a different point along their DevOps journey. Some teams are converting from change sets, others are switching over because Jenkins is not working for them.

First, we’ll understand your current process and set goals. We like to set goals for the first day, the first 30 days, and the first 90 days.

We will also work to understand your current sandbox strategy and share best practices for what we have seen work with teams of your size. We will understand your team’s familiarity with Git and DevOps concepts to inform our training plan that will happen in Step 2.

We’ll also decide on designated experts. This meeting takes about 30-60 minutes and is typically done just before technical implementation.

Step 1: Technical Implementation

Time: 30-60 minutes

In our technical implementation call we will connect your org and sandboxes as branches to your Git repo. Automatic syncing starts here, and your orgs will be backed up to Git branches in real time. Even without notifying your wider team, their changes will now be in a Git repo with audit-ability and backup protection - all within that first hour session.

All metadata is converted automatically to the DX directory format. This allows you to get the benefits of Salesforce DX (smaller commits, more modularized codebase) without having to convert to the scratch org model of development or using DX packages.

We can also discuss and setup permissions for which users will be allowed to approve deployments into specific environments and branches.

We’ll run a test pull request and train your designated experts on the platform and prepare for the larger team training.

Step 2: Train the larger team

Time: approx. 60 minutes

Once your environment is connected it’s time to train your team. We will do a full training in which we explain:

  • Git and version control
  • How commits happen
  • How to rollback changes
  • How to create pull requests and code review
  • How to deploy and merge
  • How to cherry pick changes so that you are only doing small changes
  • How to avoid code clobbering and manage merge conflicts

Our pull request based deployments and automated commits make this process fairly smooth and straightforward for admins who are used to change sets. And the use of the Lightning Design System makes it feel eerily familiar.

Step 3: Follow Up Session

Time: ~30-45 minutes

Approximately one week after the training (though we can schedule this at your convenience) we offer a follow up Q&A session with your TAM. This provides an opportunity to look at any questions that have come up as your team uses the platform.

We may introduce new concepts like Bulk Releases now that you have run some successful deployments.

The goal is that by this session the team is fully trained and onboarded with the platform and confidently using Git to deploy Salesforce metadata. They are running code reviews and all the best practices that you would hope for in a release management setup.

Next Steps

From here, there are any number of branches that the Roadmap can take. Many teams are off to the races at this point and happy with their setup. Larger more complex teams will continue to need more help with training and rollout.

At this point, we remain available to schedule calls, trainings and milestone checkpoints as needed.

The Roadmap to Success is designed to provide the means to protect your Salesforce investment and ensure that your team actually becomes successful using the platform. It’s a flexible guideline based on what we’ve seen work with other teams. Our goal at Blue Canvas is that you should never walk your DevOps journey alone.

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