Our Head of Regional Delivery in North America gives an introduction to VRP's Salesforce delivery strategies, the first of a series of articles.Read more
This is the second article in a series exploring Salesforce® delivery strategy. It’s been launched to help you understand how your VRP’s services, and the strategies used to deliver them, can best fit your needs, resources and end goals. This article reveals how to choose the best Salesforce delivery strategy for your needs.
In the previous article, my colleague Charles Ackerman gave an introduction to VRP’s Salesforce delivery strategies. If you want to refresh your memory, or you haven’t read it yet, you can find the article here. Now that Charles has passed the baton over to me, I’ll be exploring the next part of this topic — how to select the right strategy to match your goals and requirements, and achieve your objectives as smoothly, swiftly and cost-effectively as possible. Let’s get started.
Selecting the right tool for the job at hand
We’ll begin with a question. Which tool is better: a hammer or a screwdriver? The answer, of course, is “it depends” — a typical consultant’s reply! After all, the tool depends on the task, and before making a decision it would be helpful to know if we are going to use it for a nail or a screw. And if it’s a screw, is it a Philips, flathead, hex..?
Likewise, there is no single best Salesforce delivery strategy, no “one-size-fits-all” silver bullet for every scenario. It all depends on what your needs are. A better question would be, “when should we use each delivery strategy?” Your answer to this will help you make your decision.
Matching up scenarios and needs with strategies
As well as understanding when a delivery strategy should be used, it’s important to know when it definitely should not. To make it easy for you to consider both, we’ve put them side by side in the table below:
|Delivery strategy||Use it when…||DO NOT use it when…|
|Outsourcing / Staff Augmentation||You want direct control over the work that will take place.||You want a result rather than a person, or aren’t sure exactly what you want.|
|Managed Services||You don’t want to worry about the details of Salesforce maintenance and operational support.||You want to make significant changes, or want to know the exact people working on your system.|
|Health Check||You know your org needs to be cleaned up, but don’t know where to start.||Your main focus is building new functionality.|
|QuickStart||You are new to cloud CRM or want a very standard, “greenfield” setup of new functionality via Salesforce.||You want to make changes to existing functionality, or want very personalized configuration.|
|Discovery & Design||You have complex needs that require a thorough analysis and solution design, or want to understand more before making a large financial commitment to an implementation.||You already have technical sophistication and want resources to do the work that you direct.|
|Agile Sprint Team||You have a predefined dynamic backlog, or your scope is flexible or needs validation in the real world.||Time and/or scope are predetermined (e.g., a new regulation mandates certain changes).|
|Scoped Project Delivery||Your scope and/or timeline is not flexible or you need a specific deliverable within a predefined timebox.||Scope is poorly known or subject to change. You want to work in a purely agile way of working.|
|Product Development Outsourcing (PDO)||You are an ISV who has a new product to launch in the market, or you have a product on a different tech stack and want to enter the Salesforce ecosystem and need to build a Managed Package.||You do not have a product to sell or want anything other than a Managed Package.|
You may require multiple delivery strategies over the course of your engagement, depending on the extent and complexity of your needs. For instance, you might implement Salesforce via a QuickStart, or create a new product via Product Development Outsourcing (PDO), and then get some help with maintaining your new solution or product — in which case, VRP’s Managed Services can step in. We can help to advise you on what’s the best fit, and why, at every stage.
Important additional considerations
Before you settle on your chosen delivery strategy (or strategies) once and for all, there are some vital final considerations to make. These can help you make doubly sure that the strategy is the right one for you, and that you’re ready and able to give it the best chance of success. Here they are:
Outsourcing / Staff Augmentation
Do you have the correct level of technical expertise in-house for the project you want to undertake? Also, does your organization have the relevant experience of managing technical resources such as Salesforce developers? If not, you may not want to choose this Salesforce delivery strategy — consider looking into a delivery strategy that doesn’t require you to be as hands-on.
Before taking on Managed Services, make sure you understand what all parties’ responsibilities are — VRP, your own team and also Salesforce. For instance, VRP’s team may take on the administration of your Salesforce solution, and they may triage any issues to identify if they come from your solution or a bug with Salesforce’s platform itself — and if it’s the latter, bug-fixing is ultimately Salesforce’s responsibility.
For a Salesforce Health Check to be as effective as possible, and really get to the root of any issues you’re facing, it will require engagement from stakeholders on your side. Make sure all the relevant people understand that this is necessary and will require some time and input on their part. It’s also very important to have a clear scope, to understand the objectives and what is being investigated.
A QuickStart Implementation is ideal if you’re looking to get up and running with core Salesforce functionality as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. But if you need something more complex — creating new features, for instance — this may not be the route for you. Ensure you understand what you need your Salesforce solution to deliver now and in the future. It’s important your subject-matter experts are ready to give us input on how to shape your solution. We showcase the out-of-the-box configuration to give you a clear picture of the possibilities from the start. Given the speed of QuickStart implementations, a reasonable amount of effort is required from the key stakeholders on both sides.
Design & Discovery
This delivery strategy is another case of “you get out what you put in”. Unless you and your stakeholders engage with the process to the level that’s required, it won’t deliver its full potential for you. Make sure everyone’s clear about what will be needed in terms of their time and input and that they allow some space in their schedules to provide it. VRP can help you with setting expectations.
Agile Sprint Team
“Agile” really is the key word here — how well does your team understand agile methodology, how sprints work, what will be delivered in each of them, and so on? Do they recognize that there needs to be some adaptiveness/flexibility on their part, and regular feedback? If not, it can have a negative impact on the communication and collaboration needed for an Agile Sprint Team to be as successful as possible.
Scoped Project Delivery
In this case, “scoped” is the word to think about. If you don’t start out with a firm understanding of what you need and when you need it, the project scope won’t be well-defined, with clear milestones and timelines. It may keep changing, resulting in unexpected delays, costs and other negative impacts. If you can’t obtain this clarity, and it’s challenging to define the project scope, you may want to consider an Agile Sprint Team instead.
Product Development Outsourcing (PDO)
Do you definitely need a Salesforce Managed Package? What is your end goal with it? If your answer isn’t “a product to take to market”, it’s likely that you don’t need Product Development Outsourcing. If you just need a Salesforce solution to use internally, solely within your own organization, for instance, then PDO may not be the way to go. Once again, VRP can help you decide here.
Still unsure how to choose your Salesforce delivery strategy?
I hope that this article has helped bring some clarity to what can be a complex topic. But if you’re still not 100% sure how to choose the best Salesforce delivery strategy for you, we at VRP Consulting will be very glad to help. Don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Now that you’ve taken a deeper look at the different strategies available, and how to select one, the next article in our series will explore how they fit into other major delivery concepts we use at VRP — our service models such as consulting, managed services and outsourcing. Don’t miss it!
Look out for the next article in our series, and in the meantime, if you’d like to discuss how VRP Consulting can ensure you get the right service and delivery method for your needs, or discuss any aspect of how we can help your business, just contact us.
About the Author
Senior Delivery Manager, VRP Consulting
Alexandru Stoica is a management professional with over 11 years of management experience, with the previous 8 years spent in IT project management. He has managed projects and programs for Fortune 500 companies, in the banking, retail and manufacturing verticals.