4 Star Wars Lessons for a Succesful Salesforce Project Release

At Cynqed, we have a general rule that everyone is allowed two mistakes. It illustrates our commitment to learning and development while also highlighting our first time right approach. When we agreed to write this blog in honor of May the 4th, our Marketing Manager said he’d never watched a Star Wars movie. So does that count as one, or nine mistakes in total?

Turns out, Star Wars can teach as a lot about software management. We’ve listed 4 things the to take from space opera phenomenon to succesfully get to and through every Salesforce project release.

1. First Test, Then the Rest

When Palpatine had the Death Star designed to be the ultimate weapon in the galaxy and to spread fear throughout the Galactic Empire, he might have want to invest a little more in testing that big boy.

Students at Leihigh University calculated that the built of the Death Star must have cost about $8.1 quadrillion. We just think it’s a little foolish not to spend an extra billion or so on testing, then. If he would have done so, the Rebel Alliance would not have succeeded in finding its Achilles heel before destroying it. And hey, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker were just two guys against a 140km diameter steel monsterweapon.

So what does that tell you about project deployment? That testing is everything. Your project can be the biggest, the most innovative, the most expensive. But everything stands or falls with testing. That’s why continuous testing is crucial in delivering great software. More importantly, you want to test the entire 360 quality view of your project (like the UX, security and performance), rather than only the functionalities.

A great way you can guarantee continuous testing, is shortening your release cylces. You can read more about this in Why Short Release Cycles Matter for Salesforce Implementations.

2. The Greatest Teacher, Failure Is

Ah, not the Yoda quote you were expecting, right? Just hold on. We have a few more further down.

We said before that at Cynqed, everyone’s allowed two mistakes. Do we then use the Force to choke someone after a third mistake like Darth Vader did when Admiral Ozzel blew up the attempt to wipe our the Rebel Alliance in the Battle of Hoth? No. Who do you think we are? We’re nice people (ask our marketing manager, we only judge him a little bit now).

Failure is natural. And as Yoda teaches us, failure is also the best teacher and leader if you want to build a supportive, engaged project team and management strategy. As TechBeacon writes, nothing shuts down innovation, motivation and collaboration faster than a company culture that’s based on fear. This goes for project leads, too. Say your tester misses a bug and it is then reported by the end-user. This can be a good time to reinstate and highlight testing guidelines, ask the tester why he made this mistake and to act on it. Was he or she just being hasty, and why? Maybe the test cycle was too short, maybe you need more testers to carry the workload? It is better to handle failure constructively if you want to optimize processes in the long run. Also, it avoids the additional overhead cost of replacing the employee who made the mistake, just like Admiral Ozzel.

And hey, mistakes during development stages are okay, because you’ll eliminate them after every release cycle. There’s another reason of Why Short Release Cycles Matter for Salesforce Implementations.

3. Accept Help

Little effort it takes to be a hero, great effort it is to accept that you are not.

Okay, Yoda never said that, we made it up. But it is true. Running from the First Order is no walk in the park. Especially when it’s on sand. You can ask Finn about this. The reason why he and Rey are such a dynamic and complementary duo is because they are down to earth enough to accept help when they need it.

The same goes for accepting help from colleagues when deadlines come close, other departments when you need information or even external parties when you can’t quite work out things on your own. Although Salesforce is renowned for its dummy-proof back end, expertise from seasoned experts is most welcome when things become hectic. Even when you’re completely on track, an expert’s opinion is never a luxury in preventing launch errors, subtle bugs and other unforeseen pitfalls.

“Not doing this can be less time consuming in the beginning, but if you convince yourself that you know exactly how your project is going to play out, you’re setting yourself and your team up for failure.”

4. Always in Motion, the Future Is

We cannot stress this lesson hard enough. Throughout your project cycle, things may change on a whim. Maybe your team composition changes, unforseen dead ends force you to take another route, external stakeholders don’t deliver in time, and so on. Yoda teaches us that the future is not fixed. And while you cannot foresee it, you can prepare yourself for things that may disturb the course of your implementation timeline. Do this by drawing up alternative project timelines, planning in buffer deadlines, or keeping external Salesforce partners on stand-by.

Not doing this can be less time consuming in the beginning, but if you convince yourself that you know exactly how your project is going to play out, you’re setting yourself and your team up for failure.

On the other hand, having a major setback does not mean your project is destined to fail. Remember, R2-D2 and C-3PO getting stuck in a sandcrawler’s belly eventually lead to the succesful desolation of the Death Star. Alternatively, Luke Skywalker could have given up when he was dropped in the Rancor’s lair by Jabba the Hutt. Survival seemed impossible and yet ingenuity lead him to kill the beast. Often, these unexpected stumbling blocks bring out the productivity and creativity you need to optimize your flow.


BONUS TIP: The Force Will Be With You. Always.

The Force is an energy field that connects everything and that is known by a variety of names throughout the industry. Some call it marketing automation, others refer to it as CRM. We just call it Salesforce or the Force.

Like the Force from Star Wars, Salesforce is not a power you have. It’s an energy between all things, a tension, a balance that binds your organization’s efforts together. Salesforce is a great way of sharing the art of mastery and learning. And as Yoda once said “Always pass on what you have learned”. With a 360-degree view, better data and the flexibility of this platform, every implementation becomes a little more tangible than working with processes that are scattered throughout your business. What’s more, implementing Salesforce or its extensions and applications doesn’t take years of Jedi training. With the Trailhead module, you’re mastering the art of Salesforce in no-time. And if you need more, there’s always the seasoned Cynqed Jedi’s to help you grow from Youngling to Salesforce Padawan. Without the light saber, unfortunately. But with just as much agility to bend the (Sales)Force to your will.

So finally, you’ll have to take Obi-Wan’s word for it. The Force will be with you. Always.

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