After delivering 800+ Salesforce projects, the importance of having well defined processes for sales, service delivery, project management, finance and regularly scheduled executive steering committee meetings is critical to consistently delivering quality of service. When good processes are in place and the various teams are trained on using them, efficiency goes up, management burden decreases and customer satisfaction increases because the overall delivery process can be explained to the customer, project dates and milestones can be tracked and honored, and each party to the engagement (customer, vendors and project staff ) all understand what is required of them.
In this blog post, I will offer some guidance we have learned over the years.
- Sale reps cannot create complex service quotes, they need support from a solution architect to validate requirements and design the solution. The sales reps should have a questionnaire for each type of service to be delivered which the customer is required to fill out. This questionnaire provides the functional , integration, data migration, report and dashboard requirements, project constraints, business policies and processes and the list of users and their titles. During the sales process, the account reps can compile this information by asking customer questions. Many times prospects will provide a demo of their existing systems which helps to understand their existing processes and the challenges which are driving the need for a new solution. The account reps should also schedule this meeting so we have an opportunity to record the discussion, providing a way for project members to acquire a deeper understanding of the need and solution required. Account reps should be updated frequently as to project status and any issues that arise. Having the entire team use Chatter is the best way to do this. Account reps are best suited to manage customer expectations, not the project manager.
- It is important to have a solution architect review the project scope and make whatever plan adjustments are required to the activities and project duration during the quoting process.
- Once the final plan has been reviewed internally, the project financial process should be run which will produce all of the necessary information determine the total project hours, project cost, project start date and duration. The rep takes this information and creates the SOW. The SOW needs to reviewed with the customer and signed off. If there is need for any change to the proposal (such as project duration or cost), then we rinse and repeat the process until we have customer sign-off.
- Project Managers must be technical enough to understand the customer requirements and be able to judge the quality of work that is being created, in addition to managing the project schedule We have found that 2 customer workshops per week should be in the project plan and during each meeting, review the new development and receive customer feedback. Depending on the work to be reviewed (ie: configuration vs development), in addition to the project manager, a business analyst and/or developer should attend the workshop. As each Phase is completed, customer sign-off must be received. All to often customers will change existing requirements or add new requirements as the project progresses that may involve reworking completed work. These changes to the plan should be entered, reviewed with the customer and the impact on the project plan should be discussed and sign-off received.
- At the end of the project, send the customer a questionnaire to get feedback on the delivered services and overall customer satisfaction. Have a meeting where delivery management and the project manager review the customer feedback and incorporate whatever changes are required to the delivery process.