Like sands through the hourglass…

I have a confession to make – the hardest part about these blog posts is coming up with a catchy subject line. Not sure how I feel about this one, but it’ll have to do.

Actually – I have two confessions to make…I¬†occasionally¬†make changes in my production org.

At this point, I am betting half my readers are nodding along, saying “Yeah, so? What’s the big deal?” While the other half of my readers are horrified at the very thought. And the more I thought about this issue, I realize that neither side is wrong. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Perhaps I should to clarify. What I really mean is that when and how to leverage a sandbox is completely¬†dependent¬†on the needs of the organization. Flashback to 2005 – I was working at a small(-ish) software company and sandboxes weren’t even offered by Salesforce yet. You had no choice but to make changes in production, so that’s what my users were used to. And once APEX came out, I wasn’t ready to use that either, so I thought that I had no need for a sandbox.

Flash forward several years, and I’m working at a Fortune 1000, and as a 3-Certification, 6+ years of experience & Salesforce blogger, I was not allowed to touch production. But what was a rude awakening at first, turned out to make complete sense for that organization. We had thousands of people using Salesforce, spread across every time zone on the global, and we had to take the most¬†cautious¬†of approaches so as to maintain system-wide stability at all times.

Now readers, as you may or may not know, I’ve somewhat recently taken a new job & I’m trying to figure out the balance between these two extremes. I know that using my sandbox is best practice, but the needs of this company change so rapidly that it doesn’t make practical sense to always spend time doing configuration changes in the sandbox.

So what’s the answer? As is so often in life, the answer is “It depends.” A skilled analyst needs to assess the pace of change at the organization and balance that against the impact to the end-user community when there are bumps in the road. You can’t move so slow that Salesforce can’t reflect how the business is operating. But you can’t move so quickly that end users are frustrated with all the change & struggle to use Salesforce productively.

For more of my thoughts on Change/Release Management, check out my post on Salesforce’s official blog.

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