When you use Salesforce Sandboxes, you need to refresh them at regular intervals for their effective management. If you look at big organizations, they have release managers for development processes and their testing for different environments. They ensure that the best practices are always deployed when it comes to the successful management of Salesforce Sandboxes. However, their smaller counterparts, like start-up companies and non-profitable organizations, often have small teams, and due to budget constraints, they cannot afford dedicated managers for the release of software development processes on the payroll. This is where they fail to maintain Salesforce Sandbox management effectively.
Common problems small companies face
Take, for instance, A is working on a project. He will be on leave for personal reasons for a few days. So, before he leaves, he ensures that the project is up-to-date so that he can come back and resume working on it. However, after his return, he sees changes and his codes have been replaced because another person B on the team has refreshed the Sandbox. This obviously comes as a shock, especially if A had intended to use some of the code or configuration for testing after he returned. Now, for small organizations, this is a common problem. However, with discretion and some prudence, they can embrace effective Salesforce management practices when it comes to refreshing intervals with the following considerations that will be discussed in this post.
What happens when you refresh your Sandbox?
When you refresh your Sandbox, it generally goes to a queue and takes about a day or a week or more to get refreshed. Do not be surprised when you refresh your sandbox, and you need to wait for weeks for it to get refreshed. Take note of the time it takes for the Sandbox to get refreshed, as you must account for it in your project plans. It is obvious that you are working with deadlines, and you need to complete the project on time. If you overlook the refresh interval for the Sandbox you use, you and your development team will not be able to complete the project properly. Note that when you refresh the Sandbox, you will replace the present Sandbox with the new copy of the production metadata. When the refresh is complete, the data remains inactive, and in order to resume using it, you need to activate it.
Salesforce Sandbox Management – Best practices to embrace
Now, if you want to make the best use of Salesforce Sandboxes when it comes to the deployment of changes from one environment to another, you must plan properly. This planning also includes the salesforce sandbox refresh intervalas well. You should make plans with the sandboxes you intend to use and take into account their timelines for the refresh interval. Note, this should always be done at the start of the project, and not after you have commenced work on it. Having a sound knowledge and understanding about the different types of Salesforce Sandboxes will also help you plan well. You should ascertain what your development needs are and the tasks that you need to complete. You should make a list of them and later determine which Salesforce Sandbox you require to fulfill your tasks successfully. In this way, you can also save time and money. For instance, if you can complete the tasks in the Developer or the Developer Pro Salesforce Sandboxes, your organization does not need to buy a Partial or Full Sandbox if it is not needed for the development program tasks you have on hand.
Your goals should be clear and defined
When you are incorporating effective Salesforce Sandbox management in the organization, you need to document all the environments you are using and all the action steps required after you have completed the refresh interval for every Sandbox you use. As mentioned in the example above, do not make the mistake of not assigning the task to refresh the sandbox to one person. In case you do not have a release manager for the software development processes in your company, you must ensure there is only one person appointed to refresh the Sandbox that is currently being worked on. In this way, you can eradicate errors and not waste time.
Test data and Salesforce Sandboxes
You need to make a complete list of the sandboxes that require testing, and this same test data should be used for every developer Salesforce Sandbox as well. In order to protect the well-being of your organization, ensure that you do not place any kind of sensitive or important data into the sandbox. This data might fall into the hands of individuals that have malicious intent. This will harm the integrity of the organization, and worse, it can cost the company heavily. Make sure the data that is loaded on these Sandboxes are general and can be safely viewed by the developers that have access to them.
Deployment between different environments requires plans
The deployment between different software development environments needs planning. You need to determine how you can deploy changes between different orgs, the tools that you plan to use, the steps that you intend to take after the deployment has been configured, etc. In case you are focusing on issues with the UAT, you need to ensure they are being addressed in the sandbox directly where they are located in or are, the first being fixed in the developer sandbox and later moved to the UAT? When it comes to the above task, you need to determine whether you have a fixed process set up, or do you wish to re-work on the problems with a fresh approach?
Last but not least, you must ensure that the user templates for production are created correctly. In case you have not acquired extra licenses, you should deactivate users who are not logging in and testing the sandbox. This authority should only be given to the developers working on the project keeping all your releases under Salesforce in mind so that they are not affected by the above.