Originally posted on http://blog.sfapex.com/blog/benefits-of-a-salesforce-development-lifecylce
There are multiple ways to develop on the Salesforce platform. There is easy point and click development or elaborate apex code and Visualforce page development. Point and click development can quickly be tested and implemented into Production for users. Large complex developments require passing through multiple development and testingsandboxes before being deployed to reduce business risk. These large development undertakings require a release management plan establishing sandboxes for development and testing, providing a pathway to Production.
Pushing new features into Production for the first time can be very stressful. There are so many ways in which things could go wrong. It is better to have the new application fully vetted before deployment to calm the nerves. A proper release management process can help reduce the risk and stress associated with deployments along with increasing development productivity, reducing cost, faster deployments all of which lead to improved customer relationships.
A Salesforce Development Lifecycle assigns sandboxes for development and testing. It creates a path for the code as it works its way to Production. Finally, it gives team members
their roles and assignment. Developers and testers benefit when they have dedicated sandboxes for coding and for testing. This provides space and freedom for each team member to work. It is hard to stay focused when you are worried about stepping on someone’s toes or waiting for a team member before you can start your task. A release management plan eliminates confusion and allows developers and testers to focus on their tasks for the project.
Imagine coding a new application only to find a long list of errors prior to Production deployment. A Salesforce Development Lifecycle establishes multiple stages of testing throughout the development process to find errors before the application gets too far along in deployment. Testing at each stage of development makes it easier to diagnosis errors as there is a smaller amount of code to search through. Extensive testing throughout the development lifecycle can reduce rework at the end which reduces cost.
Another cost saving available is the reduction of Full and Partial sandboxes. Salesforce is providing customers with more and more Dev and DevPro sandboxes to conduct coding and testing, reducing the need for multiple Partial or Full sandboxes. Instead of developing in a Partial and testing in a Full, develop in a Dev or DevPro and perform testing in a Full sandbox. Or instead of all developers working in one Full sandbox and testing in another Full, give each developer a Dev and test in a Full sandbox. This will eliminate the need for one Full sandbox resulting in significant cost savings. Establishing a Salesforce Development Lifecycle can create dramatic cost savings by reducing the need for Full or additional Partial sandboxes.
Salesforce development is a repetitive process of build, test and deploy. You can think of your release management as your assembly line. It assigns tasks and role for each step, providing clarity and consistency. Going in a straight and simple path is faster and easier than a path with many curves and sidetracks.
Improved Customer Relationship
In the end, Salesforce development is meant to help make the end user more efficient and productive in their daily life. Customers want quality applications as fast as they can get them. Your development team can build trust by providing quality applications that meet the users’ requirements. A dedicated process will completely test an application before deployment to ensure a quality product. It will help to reduce rework which will get the product to them faster. And it will cost less in the long run since the work was done with quality in mind. All of these count as “wins” with the end user and build confidence for them to continue to use your services.
A release management plan creates a pathway from start to finish for any development/deployment. There is no exact way to get to Production, it is different for each team depending on the project and resources. But a dedicated process will provide stability and consistency in the development process. This process should be updated every couple of years to reflect the changes with the company and development team. I encourage you to implement your own Salesforce Development Lifecycle and realize the success it can bring to your Salesforce organization.