Release Best Practices

3 Best Practices to Prepare for Salesforce Releases

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An essential part of every Admin’s job is staying on top of the latest Salesforce releases. Three times a year Salesforce releases new features and updates to our technology, enabling users everywhere to take advantage of the latest and greatest that our platform has to offer! As an #AwesomeAdmin, getting the benefits from these releases is made even easier by knowing the basics and best practices around releases. Admin Evangelist LeeAnne Rimel recently took to Trailhead Live to provide Salesforce Admins with a fantastic session outlining how to get the most out of releases with her guidance, tips, and best practices. You can watch the whole recording here and follow along below.

Release 101

In case you’re just finding our resources for the first time (welcome!) let’s give a quick overview of what a release is:

A Salesforce Release is how Salesforce delivers new features and functionality to our customers. They occur three times per year (Spring, Summer, Winter) and new features are often based on input from the Trailblazer Community via a prioritization process.

Releases will include pilot, BETA, and generally available (GA) features:

Pilot – Usually the first phase of public testing, Pilots normally include a small subset of participant Organizations. These organizations must request to opt in to a Pilot and then be nominated for participation.

BETA – This phase involves rolling a feature out publicly for testing. BETA features are normally given limited Support as they are not yet fully functional or finished features.

Generally Available (GA) – Once a feature has passed the Pilot and BETA testing phases it will be formally included in a Salesforce release and Generally Available (GA). GA features are considered fully functional and, in most cases, fully supported.

You’ll hear us talk about all of those on the Release Readiness Live Admin Preview, which is a live webinar broadcast with a panel, demos, and Q&A. Be sure to register and tune in—they are a lot of fun and you’ll learn a ton!

Get hands-on

The best way to learn how to use new features? LeeAnne’s advice is to roll up your sleeves and get hands-on. To start testing, building, and getting curious with those new features you can use:

  • a pre-release environment
  • a sandbox pre-release
  • a Trailhead module org
  • special enablement steps, etc

Pro tip: Be sure to hang on to your pre-release environment! It will be on pre-release for every release cycle, so customizations will stay there and you’ll be able to test in each release.

Train your users

One of the most important aspects of the Admin role is easily user training. This is especially true during releases. Being able to think through which features are meaningful to your users and how they will utilize them is a skill that will set you and your company up for success with adoption and productivity. A great way to think about it is “what end-user features will be most helpful to my users?”

LeeAnne’s biggest tip for success here is to work smarter not harder: utilize any communication channels you’ve already created to share knowledge and best practices about new features. Examples include webinars, in-person events like a “lunch and learn,” pre-recorded videos, Chatter, Trailhead, or an email digest or newsletter. Remember to customize to include tips and tricks that are specific to your Salesforce implementation and how your users use the platform!

Know the release timeline

In order to stay on top of upcoming changes, you can follow this general timeline:

Around 1 month from the release going live in your org, you can sign up for a pre-release org. Three to four weeks away, you’ll see the Sandbox preview and be able to earn the release badge on Trailhead. Around two weeks out is when you can watch our panel of #AwesomeAdmin experts and Product Managers on Release Readiness Live. It’s important to note that releases will go live on a rolling basis, but you can check when it is coming to your org here.

You can also refer to the blog posts on admin.salesforce.com, where we share the upcoming important dates and what they represent. Check the blog topic filter: Salesforce Releases to see the latest. We recommend adding the dates to your calendar.

Exploring the Trust and maintenance calendars by cloud type and org instance or domain will help you find even more in-depth info that you’ll want to note.

Ready to tackle this release like the #AwesomeAdmin you are?! We know you can make this the best one yet for your org and your end-users. To learn about what your Ohana, peers, and customer experts are doing to maximize the latest release check out this Q&A full of insightful tips and practical advice.

Resources:

Release Readiness Trailblazers group on the Trailblazer Community
Trailhead
admin.salesforce.com
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