Successfully Roll Out Salesforce Lightning

May 9, 2019



The heavy development is done (or mostly done). Features examined, customizations converted, new components built. Everything tested, tested, tested, and tested again. Your team is ready to roll out Salesforce Lightning Experience to your users. Because of the size of your organization, you’ve worked with leadership to determine that a rolling approach is the best way to introduce such a big change. Great! Now what?


Rolling out lightning to a large organization is a big deal, and we’re going to need to plan if it’s going to happen successfully.


Identify The Champions

“A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning.”

Pat Riley


Businesses are complex. The people and their processes that make up the humanity that drives the success of your Salesforce instance need communication. Because of this complexity, there needs to be a defined beginning and end, and there needs to be clearly articulated communication from all points to the end users who will be affected by the changes you’re about to roll out. They’ll need to know what’s happening, and they’ll need to know that there is a plan. Your CRM Science team will be there to provide consultation and support to help you through the planning process.


You, your immediate team, your CRM Science team, and your primary Stakeholders will need to work together to identify a group of User Champions. They’ll be on the front lines driving the success of the conversion to lightning. This can be anyone from the CEO to the Director of Marketing to the Power User who helps other users when they have quick questions.


With our Champions now in the room, it’s time to communicate the mission. Discuss what’s changing, discuss features that are going away, and new features that are making their workday more efficient. Ask questions and listen to their concerns. Make sure they understand how absolutely important they are to the process, they will need to be involved and feel ownership of the success of the entire Rollout. The information that you’ll get from your Champions will help all of you plan out a Timeline for your Rollout.


Plan Your Timeline

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

- Benjamin Franklin


What are your key dates? There was a motivation for making this switch. Is your company releasing a major product in Q3 and you have to have your efforts completed by mid Q2? Knowing your key dates will help you and the CRM Science team to start to plot out the schedule and structure of your rollout.


Our teams will find a cadence for the rollout. No matter how you separate your efforts, each portion should start to have a similar structure to it, and every portion should have a defined start, end, and length. When you gather them all together you’ll start getting a good representation of what your timeline really looks like. It’s ok to have things overlap as well. Gantt charts work wonders to help you visualize what the process will look like, and as an extra bonus, you can include it in your communications to help everyone else in the organization understand and get excited for things to come.


Identify the phases of your rollout. This is going to be one of the most complex tasks, and CRM Science will work with you to understand all the intricacies of your company’s processes and structure in order to help tailor your phases to your organization and maximize success. Make sure to communicate with the team, the Stakeholders, and the Champions so that everyone involved in planning is considering the current state of the Salesforce LEX migration efforts, the existing company processes for large scale changes, and considerations for the experience your end users will have throughout this process. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is everything 100% ready to go?

  • Do we need time for additional development between phases?

  • Do any departments/divisions/user groups have large initiatives planned that will be disrupted by Rollout activities?

  • Do you have a system in place for addressing feedback, suggestions, and bugs?

Dates locked in, now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start planning on how you’ll train everyone. Some popular training techniques are Training the Trainers, where you’ll give extensive training to a small group and they’ll help train the users within their teams, and Workshops, where the end users will dedicate some time to specifically learning how to use LEX and the customizations that you’ve built. Both are very effective and each has its pros and cons. No matter which method you choose, the CRM Science team has extensive experience in training end users and can help lead the effort, just remember that constant communication and feedback are the keys to success here.


Documentation, documentation, documentation! Great software means great documentation! Don’t just rely on training to make sure that your rollout ends with good adoption numbers, rely on documentation and your CRM Science team to help create it. CRM Science can help you create clear concise technical documentation so that you (and the next admins) can easily start to track down bugs or change requests. Cheat sheets for your end users designed specifically around their departments and general job duties will help to alleviate any wasted time or frustration for end users while they’re learning their new UI. Reference materials will help users get a better understanding of their new world, Salesforce’s own documentation, release notes, and especially Trailhead are great places to source from for this task and your CRM Science team will be able to help you sort through it all and get the best and most relevant.


Once your work is in the hands of the users, both the beta testers and the final users, it’s extremely critical to have an organized mechanism for collecting feedback from the users. As administrators and developers, it’s easy for us to miss something during our own testing. Simply because we have a more nuanced understanding of how something was built or how something works, when we test we may miss situations that an end user will run into every day. Their feedback, and an organized way to manage and address it is absolutely critical, and your CRM Science team can provide guidance to help you put that structure in place. No matter how pretty or efficient a process is, no one can get anything done with it if there’s a rogue validation rule stopping them from updating a record!


Hopefully, you’ll have recognized one recurring theme in the last paragraphs; Communication!




“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw


From the top down, there should be no surprises. Communicating the process, where you are within it, and what the expected results are, is far and away the absolute most important part to successfully rolling out the Lightning Experience.


Surprises are for birthdays and presents. Clear management of expectations is what builds success. You and the CRM Science team will take the time to make sure that information is not only going out, but that the information is being received and digested, and especially, that there is information coming in. Take feedback, plan and make changes based on it. Make sure to thank people for taking the time to give feedback, and let them know how valuable it is.


Roll Out Events

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.”

- Tom Peters


Everybody loves a party! Take a page directly out of the Agile textbooks and make each and every phase of your rollout a celebration. Communicate well in advance, express your teams' excitement, and build excitement within the group you’re directly working with. Your users will be a lot more positive about their experience if they don’t view it as a chore, and they’ll be a lot more involved if they feel like they’re part of celebrating the success of the project.


Don’t forget to do your due diligence too. Our teams need to be on-hand to provide support and encouragement, you don’t want your users to feel like you showed them a few screens, had a cake, and then abandoned them.


At the end of each successful phase, communicate that success. Let everyone know how well the training and rollout went, how much the users are enjoying the new Lightning Experience, and how much they enjoyed training, celebrating, and learning. Target your next group of users and get them excited!


Manage, Track, & Build on your Success

“Numbers have life; they're not just symbols on paper.”

- Shakuntala Devi


Back to the data! It’s easy to get mixed up in all of the excitement of a phased rollout process, but you’re going to need to get some good reporting involved to help you stay on track, get better, and give you hard metrics for how successful the project is moving along. The CRM Science team has a lot of experience in this department and we’ll be excited to help you gather and report on this information.


You should be keeping track and measuring your success against User Adoption. Salesforce makes this easy with their Lightning Usage App, which will give you some great information about your users' habits and your overall adoption. Here are a few of the information points they’ve listed out:

  • Daily and monthly active users in Lightning Experience and the Salesforce app

  • Daily and monthly switches to Salesforce Classic (total number of switches and the number of unique users that switched)

  • Profiles and users that switched to Salesforce Classic the most

  • The standard pages in Lightning Experience that are viewed the most

  • Types of browsers used in Lightning Experience

Beyond specific adoption metrics, you should keep track of the feedback, bug tickets, and feature requests, as well as the turn around your team has in planning for and addressing those things. This information will help drive our continued development efforts and our iterative improvements.

The CRM Science team will help you communicate and share your numbers as well, and your Stakeholders will be happy to see them because it’ll help to inform them of the ROI for such an undertaking.Your end users will be pleased to see that we’re continually concerned with and making efforts toward addressing their needs.


Town Hall Meetings and Follow-up

“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.”

- Bertrand Russel



About a month after you’ve completed each phase of your rollout, it’s important to head back to the users targeted in that phase to have a catchup chat. A great forum for this is a Town Hall meeting.


A Town Hall meeting allows your end users a chance to ask questions and deliver feedback in a direct and conversational manner. Your CRM Science team can help organize and lead these meetings, and together we’ll be able to have an immediate impact on the end users by answering their questions, and listening to their needs. It’s also a great opportunity to hear how they’ve settled down and are living in LEX now that the excitement of the initial rollout has settled down a little.


Treat these sessions as information gathering, just like the other parts of your rollout, make sure you have a plan to gather feedback, and address it.






Written by Michael Beswick, Team Lead


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