The customization possibilities are nearly limitless with the platform. Many customers consolidate their systems and now run their entire business out of Salesforce. Regardless of whether you are looking to make a small tweak or roll out a whole new application, here are some tips for any Salesforce developer:

  • A failure to plan is a plan to fail. We’ve all done it before: started working on a project prior to really knowing what we’re getting into only to regret it later. Regardless of how easy it is to configure Salesforce, it’s still important to see the big picture in advance. When scoping out a project, be sure to allocate enough time to gathering requirements and documenting them. A well-written project plan will ensure that you have enough time for requirements, testing, training, and deployment. It may take longer, but you’ll have a lot fewer surprises and much happier users.

  • Stay safe in a sandbox. When it comes to daily work, everyone likes consistency and doesn’t like surprises. Salesforce makes it really easy to make changes to your configuration, but that doesn’t mean that you should just make them on the fly. It’s a best practice to always make changes in your sandbox first; that’s why Salesforce includes a sandbox with every subscription. Your sandbox lets you test your changes to make sure that they really do work before impacting all your users. You can even let your users log in to verify and provide feedback prior to deploying to production.

  • It can’t hurt to ask. Even though your business is unique and your ideas fresh, chances are that someone out there has already done something similar. That’s not a bad thing though; it means that you can leverage his or her experience to help you along. The Salesforce Success and Developer Communities are full of questions asked by people just like you. The answers come from all sorts of people, fellow customers, Salesforce partners, and even Salesforce employees. The right answers are highlighted, making them even easier to find. So, don’t waste your time struggling to figure something out. Search the boards or ask away; that’s what they’re there for.

  • Your time is valuable. If you’re not confident in your ability to easily and quickly make changes to Salesforce, reach out to a Salesforce partner. The AppExchange has a listing for every authorized partner that includes reviews, metrics, and other details. You can browse for a local partner or one that specializes in your industry. An experienced partner should be able to provide fast and accurate help so that you can spend your time on everything else on your plate. Time is money, so make sure that you know what your time is worth before comparing estimates from a partner.