After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Estimate the benefits
- Understand Elements licensing
- Build a business case
Benefits of well documented Org
It seems obvious that you need a well documented Org for it to be easy to maintain and agile. But those not involved in Salesforce development or Administration are not aware of how easy it is to lose control. The power of “clicks not code” and speed of development means that documentation lags development and often never catches up. Sometimes it is assumed that Salesforce documents itself.
Therefore it is important to spell out importance and benefits of clean-up and documenting your Org to senior management:
- Agility: the lack of understanding about the configuration of the Org is slowing down the ability to make further changes
- Risk mitigation: there is always the risk than making a change breaks the Org and causes disruption to the business operation
- Performance, usability and limits: eventually the customizations loaded on top of existing customizations have a technical impact; pages are slow to load, usability goes through the floor, you hit system limits, app start to fail.
There are number of places to look for hard numbers if you require them to justify the investment:
- Lost productivity due to delays to Lightning upgrade due to the time required to do the analysis.
- Analysis work and testing required before implementing any new change.
- Emergency rework required when changes that are made inadvertently break the Org / affect other areas of the business. Also factor in the impact on the business.
- Effort to identify fields that need to be deleted to avoid hitting limits.
- Cost to upgrade to next Salesforce tier to raise field limits.
- Debugging effort to work out how Apex triggers, validation rules, approvals, Process Builders etc etc are not working
- Wasted work building new customization because existing customizations that could have been used are too complex to understand
Building a justification / business case
You always have options. You don’t have to use the paid version of Elements. Below we give you alternatives. You will still need to build a case for the effort it takes to run a clean-up exercise and document your Org from an operational perspective.
Let’s consider each of the HOW, WHAT, WHY in turn and look at the options. Then we’ll look the power at of the combination of the 3 elements; the ability to link HOW, WHAT and WHY. Which is why it is called Catalyst!!
You could use a free Elements mapping, whiteboard, Powerpoint, Visio, Lucidchart, Draw.io. The key is keeping it simple.
The considerations are:
- What are the costs of editor and viewers?
- How will you manage version control and access rights?
- Do the tools help you engage end users to rapidly get shared understanding?
- How do you link them back to the changes made in Salesforce
- How are you going to govern and manage the content going forward – keeping it up to date, reflect change so that people trust this is still correct and relevant to your operational reality?
There are utilities that can export your Org into a spreadsheet. You could even use the free Elements trial and then run a report to export the Org Model. That gets you the metadata. Then you need to do the analysis. And keep it up to date.
Some of the utilities are free because they are side projects run by Admins. There are some commercially available utilities. Elements is a combination of many of these utilities delivered at enterprise scale with a roadmap of cool new features requested by users.
The considerations are:
- How will you keep the various spreadsheets up to date as the Org is constantly changing?
- Which Org do you export – Production or Sandbox? How can you keep them aligned?
- Much of the analysis will need to be performed by discrete utilities and the results combined.
- Some analysis will need to be done by hand
- What level of support, what is the development roadmap and financial strength of the these utilities, if you are basing your documentation strategy on them?
Spreadsheets, wikis and custom objects in Salesforce are the most commonly recommended approaches for creating documentation, for those that have not yet discovered Elements.
The considerations are:
- How will you keep the spreadsheet/wiki up to date as the Org is constantly changing?
- How do you know when new things have been added to your Org?
- How do you link the documentation back to items configured in the Org, and which Org – Production or Sandbox?
- How do you encourage collaboration so that you highlight potential conflicts?
Power of linkage
The ability to see line of sight from business requirements through to what was configured in Salesforce and why is very valuable. Therefore, there is a value for having the HOW, WHAT and WHY all delivered in a single view supported by powerful analytics. This dramatically reduces the analysis effort and risk associated with clean up and implementing changes.
First project and estimating the effort to document
Sitting here, it is impossible to estimate the time taken to document or run a clean up project. It depends on the complexity of your Org. The 14 day trial is intended to enable you to get some really great insights into your Org to help up you create those estimates. Even those will be a bit of a leap of faith.
I suggest the first project you that choose is small and tight in scope and offers the opportunity for some really quick wins. That way you can get senior executive support, prove the value of the work you are doing, and build a case for further work.
Alternatively, align the documentation approach to an existing, well funded project – such as Lightning upgrade.
Here is the Elements Pricing page
1. What is the greatest value of documentation?
A. Reducing business risk of changes
B. It is easier to get the consultants to work on the project
C. It gives OCD developers a feeling of completion
2. The purpose of the 14 day trial is:
A. Play with all the cool Elements.cloud Catalyst features
B. Show management how poorly documented the Org is and why it needs investment
C. Prove the approach, gather business case metrics and build a justification for next steps
Finally Unit 7: understanding how to connect multiple Orgs to a Space