Recently I’ve been involved with a Lightning Transition for an enterprise size Salesforce customer, as unfortunately I still hear that some enterprise organisations haven’t yet made the move. So here goes with some of the process and learnings from my recent involvement in doing so.
Once upon a time… it started 17/Apr/18 2:43 PM, how specific right? That’s the date we created the Epic. Think of an epic as a theme of work, where you can bundle bits of efforts towards a biggish goal.
By that time Salesforce had introduced Lightning over 4 years already, it was time to stop resisting and being stuck in the past.
When we started looking at it the organisation used their Salesforce org already for over 6 years, an org with tons of cool & quirky customizations. From sections of sales cloud, heavily in service, omni-channel, live chat and Einstein bots, marketing cloud for both commercial and transactional emails and SMS, platform events, Lightning and Lightning web components, Heroku for parts of the website… you name it!
The Salesforce platform is their customer master, heavily used to support customers in real life. They have over one thousand users and 130,000+ customer community users, looking after just under two million customers. It’s a ‘decent size’ 🙂
When I started working with this customer I quickly saw many opportunities of functionality to get the most of Salesforce ROI, and worked in many ideas on that front.
Lightning transition was one of those. So in terms of the usability of the application from a user’s perspective, it was a great opportunity to use what it had to offer to make their processes more efficient. And being a seasonal business what opportunities could be bought to simplify for an easier user onboarding, so that it was more intuitive and more modular which means if we are smart about it becomes more reusable and decoupled for easier and more frequent releases.
By all means this was a collaborative effort; from the early days there were team members eager to learn about it, to recent non stop deployments, superb quality assurance throughout and how they have reimagined the Automation Test Suite so that can reference Salesforce standard components with a layer of flags so if Salesforce changes something their end we can quickly toggle things around (like meta-metadata?). So a big thanks to all the business users, from operations, reporting, training and the brutally honest pilot team; who have provided some amazing ideas for Lightning and feedback on how to improve.
In general terms for any customer, I think here the difficulty is having the headspace to make the move. We all have things in the pipeline we want to deliver.
This may be similar to Salesforce releases, yet you want to get the most of your investment as Salesforce keep us on our toes serving us with continuous innovation.
To me the magic trick here that played a big part, is that from that April 2018 we ran the transition assistant tools, that scanned the org and gave us a list we could tangibly prioritize. From there we broke those efforts down to tiny stories. We could play with and work through them sprint by sprint, cycle by cycle, release by release … without impacting any other deliverables.
It’s like the metaphor of a glass vase filled with rocks, if I ask, is it full? You may say yes. Then I put pebbles in, is it full? Then sand, full? And lastly with water.
The other thing to account for on transition is of course users, as when the interface changes (for better) you need to arrange some retraining, and we (humans) do resist change. What has worked very well is having user engagement throughout, the pilot group I mentioned was diverse so we had incredibly honest feedback and ideas to make the UI even better.
We had regular focus groups with the users and sent regular updates that covered the feedback gathered and what we had done about it, over time the users then played a key role in designing the new interface and the pilot group started to act as internal champions for Lightning.
Lastly, if you are doing the transition iteratively in a big team or multiple teams, make sure everyone is aware and that any new functionality being developed from then on is ‘Lightning’ ready otherwise you are just generating more work for your future self.
So keep your users at the heart of the change, listen to your users’ feedback on what they like about Salesforce currently and what they don’t like and look to improve when designing your new UI. Having a pilot team using Lightning was very beneficial, and start a trial as early as possible setting up a feedback loop. These users can then go on to become your Lightning champions and share their knowledge with other users. Don’t do it alone!
Use the tools provided, big shout out here to Salesforce product teams who are doing great job on providing tools like the transition assistant, the optimiser report, the service cloud set up wizard …
Create tiny stories. So that you can progress day by day without impacting anything else.
And the transition is only the beginning really. Take advantage of many Lightning features, declutter your org, reduce technical debt, have a modern looking UI. It’s not only the UI here but the modularity and tech that brings at your reach.
It’s an evolution, not a revolution! Use the power of iteration to pace the delivery both for your team and your users.
For more on the subject check out our DF17 talk.