Sandbox Secrets: 6 Ways to Use Your Salesforce Sandbox

Salesforce Sandboxes are used for different purposes but oftentimes people do not understand their true value. A Sandbox acts as a replica of your Production Org which means that everything you do in a Sandbox, as long as it has been recently refreshed, mimics what happens if you did the same action in Production. Believe it or not, this is very useful when it comes to using Salesforce overall. Below are 6 ways that you can use your Salesforce Sandbox today!

Practice Practice Practice Building Configurations

Config may seem like a complex and looming, tech-heavy headache, but every Salesforce admin had to start somewhere! There are many types of Sandboxes but you should practice building config in your Developer’s Sandbox. Not only is it best to never build directly in Production, but by practicing building config in your Sandbox, you do not have to worry about making any mistakes that could compromise your data. You are free to play around as much as you’d like to truly get a grasp on what building config is all about.

Now That You’ve Built Your Config, Test It In Your Sandbox

Our second tip for using your Salesforce Sandbox is to test newly built config in it. We recommend testing in your Full Copy Sandbox so that the test environment is as similar to Production as possible. This means conducting a deployment of your newly built config from your Developer Sandbox to your Full Copy Sandbox. This seems straightforward but we cannot emphasize enough the importance of thoroughly testing config before deploying it to Production.

Additionally, sometimes config clashes with Apex code in ways that you would never see in the Salesforce user interface. To help handle this, be sure to run Apex Unit Tests after you’ve created your config. These tests will show you if your new config is clashing with any code, and what the resulting error is. By thoroughly testing in a Sandbox now, you are saving your team from running into problems down the road in Production.

Hint: If you only have one Sandbox, build and test in it. Try to NEVER build in Production!

Plan & Practice Your Deployment

Sandboxes are useful for practicing deployments. Without conducting a practice, actual deployments can take much more time than anticipated. Sometimes certain config needs to be deactivated before you can deploy or else you will hit errors and your deployment will fail. Additionally, when deploying a large amount of config or code, it’s easy to forget a component or piece to your outbound changeset. Salesforce will show a missing component error when this is the case. By practicing your deployment in a Sandbox first, you will save time and have an even smoother deployment to Production.

Practice Data Loads

Just like practicing deployments, you can also do mock data loads in your Salesforce Sandbox. This allows you to catch errors early so that your real data load runs quicker and as expected. For example, when data loading an to update many records, you may hit a Validation Rule error. That means some of the records you are updating violate a Validation Rule created after those records were created. You will have to spend time finding the Validation Rule, deactivating it, and then re-run a data load of these error files. By catching this error early in a Sandbox, you will know to deactivate specific Validation Rules before running the deployment.

Additionally, if you run the data load and make mistakes compromising the data, you are in a Sandbox and not touching real data. Practicing data loads in a Sandbox environment can not only save you time, but can also keep your data safe from accidental changes!

Test Apps From the Appexchange

Some apps from the Salesforce Appexchange, offer free trials or test drives in your Sandbox environment so you can see exactly how the app would run in your Org. Not all apps offer this useful trial but one that does is the project management app Inspire Planner. By using the free trial in your Sandbox, you will understand how Inspire Planner fully integrates with your Salesforce Org and how certain features work. You will see just how your data would look when using some of Inspire Planner’s features like its Time Tracker to compare Task Planned Effort time vs Actual Effort times. Downloading a trial version of an app and running a test drive in your Sandbox is great to get a feel for how an app would realistically run in your Org.

Credit: AppExchange

Train New Users in Your Sandbox

Training new Users in your Sandbox lets them get a feel for using your Salesforce program without pressure. They won’t be afraid to play around with the org and get comfortable with it since all of the data is a replica of Production, but they will be worry-free since their actions cannot truly affect your business. For example, when training new Users in Production, they could accidentally change data, email a customer, or even delete information. Using a Sandbox for new User training is the best way for them to get to know your org without feeling any pressure of making mistakes.

Inspire Planner - Project Management in Salesforce Simplified

6 Easy Ways to Use Salesforce for Project Management

Every project manager should look for ways to become better at what they do. Many project managers also use Salesforce in one way or another to support projects and run their teams. However, Salesforce is so vast that utilizing its capabilities for project management can be tough. To help, we’ve consolidated a list of our favorite 6 easy ways you can start using Salesforce for better project management today!

Manage Your Team: Account & Opportunity Teams

On any project, teamwork is key. People who work well together can complete projects quicker, better, and have more enjoyment doing it. To help teams work together, Salesforce has useful two options; Account Teams and Opportunity Teams. By utilizing these team settings, your Users will be set up to successfully work quickly together, making you a better project manager.

Account teams are Users who all work on an Account together. They are given access to the Account, any Account Contacts, any Account Opportunities, and Account Cases. Using Account teams helps your team know exactly what their role is on each project, saves time by keeping communication in one spot, and helps you see who is doing what for each Account.

Opportunity teams are Users who all work an Opportunity together. Depending on your Security Settings, the Opportunity team will not be able to see Account information like Contacts, Cases, and the Account itself. Use Opportunity teams when you need someone to work on a specific Opportunity but you don’t want them to have access to Account information.

Help Reps Stay on Task with Task Notifications

Task Notifications are a new Salesforce feature from the Winter ‘18 release. They are visual reminders of Tasks that need to be completed by the User. Up to three reminders can pop up on the User’s page at a time, allowing them to stay on top of what they need to do and keep your project timeline running smoothly. This feature is easy to enable but is currently only available in Lightning. If you use Lightning, you should set up Task Notifications to keep your team on track and stay ahead on your project deadlines!

Collaboration: Files & Chatter

Chatter can be used across your entire Salesforce org, so why not use it to help your teams communicate? By creating a “Team Chatter Group” you can easily keep all communication and collaboration with team members in one central location. This way, everyone is updated on project happenings and it’s very easy to find project information.

Files are great for team collaboration too. You can make documents private to a team or public, use Version Control to see how many past versions of a file exist, and ensure files are always up to date. Users can even follow files and set up automatic notifications of any changes. Taking advantage of Chatter and Files for collaboration will help your team communicate better, keep information centralized, and help your team finish projects faster and better. Happier teams will make you a better project manager overall!

Field History: See Who’s Changed What & When

Field History Tracking allows you to see all changes that happen to a specific field. By clicking on a field’s history, you see all prior and new values in the field, who changed each value, and at what time this change occurred. As a project manager, you can make decisions off of these changes like adding an approval process so only certain Users can approve changes to fields, or even giving only certain Users access to changing fields. You may also be able to identify why certain fields change so much and see if there is a way to prevent the need for so many changes. This will save your team time and headache as they will only have to enter information once and be finished with the record!

Hint: Don’t forget to add the Field History related page to your page layouts too!

Use Reports to Stay Updated On Project Timelines

Managing project timelines is a huge pain point for project managers. If one of your team members gets off track, your entire project could be delivered late. To help manage projects that are at risk of being delivered late, you can use Salesforce Reports.

You can easily create a Report of Open Opportunities and filter by a time period, like within the past week, past 30 days or more. The fields you can run this filter on include:

    • Last Modified Date
    • Last Activity Date
    • Last Modified By

You can use the same style of report for Accounts too. This report will you see which of your projects haven’t been touched in a while and what team you may need to follow up with. Using reports to stay aware of which projects are prone to coming off schedule will help you take actions to keep them on track and become a better project manager today.

Utilize the Salesforce AppExchange: Inspire Planner Project Management Tool

Despite using native Salesforce for project management functions, it is not a complete solution since Salesforce’s main function is to be a CRM. However, you can use a project management app from the AppExchange to have a complete project management solution on Salesforce.

Inspire Planner project management app is fully integrated with Salesforce and has all vital features to make you a better project manager. You can have project templates, use time-tracking features, share projects internally and with external users, set up multiple predecessors for Tasks, track estimated vs actual completion times for projects, and more. Getting the Inspire Planner app will put you on track to becoming a better project manager today!

Inspire Planner is a user-friendly project management app for Salesforce