Best Practices – Testing & Deploying Cloud Coach
With the September ‘16 release of Cloud Coach coming soon, it seemed appropriate to review some best practices for testing and deploying your Cloud Coach packages. Testing and deployment will also be one of the many things we’ll discuss in our Admin track during our upcoming conference: Delivery 2016.
Deploy to Sandbox
Anytime you’re dealing with a feature upgrade, we recommend that you first install the new package into a sandbox environment. In sandbox, you can easily review the changes without triggering a deluge of support e-mails or cases from your user base. Install it by appending the end of the install link to the URL bar of your sandbox after Salesforce.com
Compare New v Old Functionality
The release notes for the new version will provide a summary of each new change or additional to the managed package. As a first step, it’s advisable to review the videos embedded within the release notes – the videos will provide a detailed walkthrough of the new functionality. Once you have reviewed the release videos, it’s a good practice to assess the impact of the new functionality on your user base. As an admin, you may not be an active Cloud Coach user, so this may be a good time to bring in a few power users to review the functionality and provide their assessment of the impact.
Based upon your assessment of the release, create a roll out plan. This can include:
- A target upgrade date. Think about when an upgrade will have the least impact on the business and plan training accordingly.
- Updated documentation & training materials. This may be as simple as updating screenshots.
- Phased training. Break your user base into logical groupings and walk them through the changes. This may require some heavy lifting up front but will reduce the volume of repeat questions by the admin team.
Anytime there’s a major functionality upgrade there may be new things to configure. For example, in the upcoming September ‘16 release a project and project task detail tab will be added next to the Gantt. Since that tab didn’t exist in previous releases, you’re going to want to find out which fields your Cloud Coach users will want to see in that tab.
If you have an idea of the things that are important to your users, you can configure the new functionality to their liking. Once again, it’s best to be proactive about configuring new functionality. Your users will let you know what they do and do not like, and it’s usually easier to get that out of the way before upgrading.
After you’ve configured the new functionality, it’s time for the users to test the changes.
User Acceptance Testing
User Acceptance Testing is a critical aspect for a few reasons:
- Users should have different levels of permission, so bringing them into the sandbox to test the new release will highlight any issues there may be with field or object level permissions. The upgrade may work perfectly as a system admin, but be unusable to users if they don’t have the correct permission sets.
- It is an opportunity to gather user feedback in a low-stakes environment, so any configuration or usability issues can be ironed out before pushing it out to the wider organization.
- Testers are often champions of the product since they may have a sense of ownership over the success of the software due to their involvement in the testing and approval of the product. These individuals are critical to improving adoption and in some cases even acting as first line support.
Deployment – Change Sets
Once your testers have signed off on the upgrade, it’s time to install the product and deploy any changes to production. If you have made changes to the configuration in sandbox, add them to a change set and upload it before installing the new version in production. That way the change set can be deployed to production right after the installation of the upgrade has been completed.
Keeping a log of the configuration changes made in sandbox is recommended. When it comes time to create the change set, there won’t be any risk of missing key changes.
And that’s it! It may seem like a lot, but once you’ve established a process it is quite easy, and your users will thank you for the painless upgrade.