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The Ultimate Salesforce Delivery Machine, Part 2: Governance

In the first part of the series, we discussed how important it is to maintain a healthy and prioritized backlog, and provided some tips to get there. The business owns the backlog – that is, they set the direction and roadmap for future Salesforce enhancements. Now the Salesforce team needs to start building and deploying to production, right? We’re getting there! First we need to talk about governance.

It sounds complicated, even a little boring, but at its simplest, governance defines the people, processes and best practices that guide organizations through change. Governance primarily consists of the following components:

Technical Change Management

Determines technical approach to managing changes and answers questions like:

  • What are the design principles and code standards that guide development and configuration decisions?
  • How is change managed through the development lifecycle?
  • What will be the deployment methodologies and release cadence?

Organizational Strategy

Defines the organizational goals and vision and answers questions like:

  • What is the purpose of utilizing Salesforce to begin with?
  • What do we want the customer/user experience to be?
  • What metrics will we use to define success?

Organizational Change Management

Determines the way change is managed and communicated and answers questions like:

  • How will change requests be managed?
  • Who will be responsible for approving changes?
  • How will we assess the people impact from the change and assist people in adopting the change?
  • How will changes be communicated to other stakeholders and the business in general?

Lack of Governance

Governance ensures that changes are thoughtfully implemented and carefully managed. Here’s how to tell if your Salesforce implementation lacks governance.

  • Lack of vision and alignment causes frequent disagreements between business groups.
  • Since technical change isn’t thoughtfully managed, deployments are rushed and solutions aren’t scalable or easily understood once implemented.
  • Adoption is low due to poorly handled communication around change, causing users to lose interest because they are unfamiliar with new features.
  • Lack of standardization leads to confusion, inconsistent development processes and decrease in solution quality.

If this is all sounding a little too familiar, read on for some tips on how to develop a healthy governance framework.

Start With The Vision

In the last article, we discussed how important it is to craft a vision to drive backlog enhancements. That same vision caries through to good governance. Start by documenting the Salesforce vision. What are your goals and how will those goals be measured? How will you deliver a better experience to your users and your customers?

There are several frameworks and document templates used to capture organizational vision and mission. Salesforce uses the V2MOM framework to define their values and vision.

Vision: What do you want to do?

Values: Foundational beliefs that aid in the pursuit of your vision.

Methods: What are some methods you will use to achieve your vision?

Obstacle: What are some obstacles you will encounter along the way?

Measures: How will you ultimately measure success?

It’s important to craft a vision in business terms rather than technology. Here’s an example of a V2MOM using an imaginary online car buying service:

Vision To delight our customers through world-class customer service and become the industry leading car buying service by 2030.
Values

Outstanding Knowledge: We want to educate our customers and be helpful every step of the way.

Incredible Transparency: Nothing is more important to us than credibility. We’re credible and work with integrity.

Methods

Always look for areas of improvement, continually collect customer feedback and implement new processes quickly

Deliver a world-class buying experience using cutting-edge technology

Obstacles Increased competition in the online car buying market
Measures

Sales growth of 20-30% each year

Decrease time from first touch to completed purchase by 10% year over year

Your vision cascades down to other aspects of governance. With a good vision, making decisions around change will be much easier as you now have a ‘North Star.’

The People

No governance framework exists without people, and building the right governance framework starts with the right people. They don’t have to be elected, but they do have to be passionate about the mission and understand the vision and organizational goals. They should also have a good understanding of the system capabilities. This group should be diverse and include business process owners, users, organizational leaders and IT.

IT understands the system landscape as well as the limitations. These individuals are the best ones to manage the development lifecycle.

Business process owners are experts in what they do. They are advocates for their customers and team members and can help prioritize the backlog.

End users know the system better than anyone else as well as the day-to-day pain points and areas of improvement.

Organizational leaders have the voice and the authority to drive change. They are well-respected and vital to organizational success.

Together, this group will manage the components discussed above. In regards to Technical Change Management, they will do things like establish design standards and code best practices as well as determine the tools and processes used for managing the development lifecycle.

From an Organizational Strategy perspective, they will determine how success should be measured, make decisions around cost and resources and designate product owners, project managers and other leaders.

They will Manage Organizational Change by owning the communication strategy, tracking and prioritizing backlog items, training end-users and continually looking for opportunities to improve.

Assemble Committees

Some organizations find it helpful to divide responsibility among committees. Some popular committees include an Executive Steering Committee or Change Advisory Board. These groups are responsible for approving or denying change requests, overseeing project budget and setting priorities. This group should meet at least once a quarter.

Another core committee is the Project Management committee. This committee is responsible for managing the day-to-day aspects of projects and general development efforts. They should also be documenting and refining best practices. This group will typically meet weekly.

Governance Frameworks

There are a few recommended governing approaches based on how complex or large your Salesforce implementation is.

Centralized

A consolidated/centralized approach is best for organizations that work within a single platform with a shared approach to data. A single governance framework is typically optimal for small- to medium-sized businesses.

Example: Salesforce Sales Cloud is used to sell aftermarket automobile accessories to retail clients and Service Cloud provides omni-channel support to handle customer service.

Decentralized

A decentralized/federated approach is best for organizations with multiple platforms or Salesforce organizations that can operate mostly independently. Multiple governance frameworks may be established to handle unique requirements. This approach is typically popular among large organizations.

Example: A large medical supply company sells products directly to hospitals and healthcare providers in one Salesforce Org and uses another to manage and track Research and Development.

Federated

Sometimes a little bit of both may work well. In a federated approach, a single governance framework is flexible enough to allow teams some independence. Certain aspects of governance are centralized with a common approach for all, while certain aspects are left to the individual Salesforce organizations to determine.   

Example: A software company has multiple divisions that operate independently. One uses Commerce Cloud to sell products directly to customers and another uses Sales Cloud to sell enterprise subscriptions.

Find What Works For You

Ultimately, the size, complexity and goals of your organization determine your governance strategy. The size of your governance body should align with the size and complexity of your organization and Salesforce instance.

How complex is your technical landscape? If you don’t have much automation then maybe a smaller governance framework will suffice. If necessary, your governance process may need to change over time to meet the needs of your organization. Continually revisit your governance framework to ensure it meets your needs.

Author: Grant Ongstad, Senior Salesforce Consultant

<< Read Part 1: The Backlog

Resources:

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/content/learn/modules/manage_the_sfdc_organizational_alignment_v2mom/msfw_oav2m_writing_a_v2mom

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/content/learn/modules/governance-basics

Salesforce Whitepaper: Foundational Governance by James Burns 2017

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- Ryan Redd, Envestnet MoneyGuide

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