Software development best practices have come a long way in recent decades. As a result of the rapid moving market needs, developers have had endless possibilities to test out what works, and what doesn’t. One of the key learnings that has come out of this process is that the speed and frequency of release cycles influences the overall efficiency of a project flow and eventually, the outcome. This is even more important for Salesforce solutions and implementations: when you get it right, you’re rewarded with a very powerful software platform. If you mess things up, different bugs and lost opportunities make for a costly investment that eventually does not come to its full potential. In this article, we’ll look at some of key reasons why short release cycles matter for Salesforce implementations and optimized project ROI.
When you start working with a Salesforce implementation, it can be difficult to imagine exactly what sorts of configurations will be best suited for your needs. It often takes a lot of trial and error to identify what works for your organization’s unique needs and what gets in the way. As a result, it’s a better strategy to go through a number of iterations as you work your way towards an ideal solution. This means that you can develop and test, develop and test – fixing problems as you go along. The faster you can run these iteration cycles, the more experiments you can run, and the more precisely you can fine-tune how things work.
When you have large development cycles where lots of changes are being released at once, it makes it that much harder to identify bugs and fix them if there are problems. By shortening the release cycles and making marginal changes as you go, you have a lot more agility to be able to find problem areas and rectify them effectively. It may seem like it takes more time in the short-term, but as the saying goes – slow and steady wins the race. It’s better to get things right early before it can snowball into something much more significant.
When you are on a short release cycle, you are forced to focus on what matters and ignore the rest. You don’t have the freedom to tackle a thousand things at once. Instead need to prioritize what really matters for the next release that’s just around the corner. Salesforce implementations can famously include a thousand different features and use-cases, but a short release cycle is a psychological hack for forcing decisive action on what is going to move the needle. You can’t drift when you’re in this mindset, it creates momentum and speed in ways that nothing else can. Keeping up this consistent cadence can fit very well into an overall workflow – where it becomes a habitual piece of continually making your Salesforce solutions work better for your business. It becomes a consistent consideration for your team, rather than a once-off project that can drag and drag forever.
Shorter release cycles give you a huge increase in agility because you can respond to changing circumstances much more effectively. An implementation of a complex software system and the related processes will never go exactly as you imagined it. That’s why it’s important that you’re able to efficiently assess the situation and change course where necessary.
If you are on a long release cycle, you have fewer opportunities to adjust how things are going. Here’s why you risk ending up with a lot more time being spent in sub-optimal development states. Shorter release cycles allow you to fine-tune things as you go, while also giving you numerous touchpoints to reflect and make wholesale changes if needed. Where most of your competitors are spinning their wheels while they wait for a new release, you can be ahead of the game and making moves while they wait. We shouldn’t have to tell you what kind of competitive advantage this gives you.
There’s something about achieving goals and making tangible progress that really tickles human psychology. When you shorten release cycles and set smaller goals, you give that consistent dopamine hits to developers who can celebrate small wins as they go along – leading to more long-term motivation. This is a key piece of complex implementations where you’re trying to project manage complicated revisions and restructurings of business processes. A release cycle resembles a step in the right direction, and every cycle that you complete buoys spirits and morale. It might sound strange, but it works.
Tight Feedback Loops: alternating developing and testing phases allows for quick problem fixes, more test runs and further fine-tuning.
Easier to Bug Fixing: short release cycles make it easier to identify and fix bugs. It avoids snowballing of a lot of errors, which is what happens with longer release cycles.
Minimum Viable Features & Cadence: focussing only on what’s important makes you prioritize the crucial tasks and automatically pushes you to force decisive action during the project. Keeping up this cadence within your team or departments can favor future projects, too!
So, those are a few reasons why short release cycles matter for Salesforce implementations. Of course, short is a relative thing, and how you do it will depend on your company and its needs – but it’s a worthwhile principle to strive for. When you do it well, it creates a momentum that can totally transform your operations and unlock the potential of the Salesforce platform.