Best Practices , Revenue Operations
March 01 | Blogs
Goodbye Waterfall, Hello Sprints: The Iterative Approach to Implementation
Estimated read time 4 min

Adopt the modern, iterative approach for implementation to increase productivity, improve team morale, and reduce the risk of problems only coming to light late in the process when it takes a lot more unraveling to fix them.   

Is your development team still using the waterfall model to implement new systems like Salesforce? In the past, the waterfall methodology was very effective for developers because it relied on a linear, sequential development process that “flows” through each phase of a project like design, development, and testing. After all, why not finish each stage before moving on to the next? 

As tech stacks have become increasingly more complicated, what may have been the best path forward six months ago is old news today. That’s why high growth companies have switched to the iterative approach to project implementation and design.

Moving away from sequential, linear processes can help your team become more efficient, improve your employee morale, and lead to earlier identification of risks.  

How it works

When a development team approaches projects or implementations through the iterative process, it breaks down this implementation into smaller projects that all build up to a completed implementation.

Most sprints run for one to two weeks. During that time, implementation teams develop, test, and modify each iteration until they are happy with the final product. 

That’s because even the best planned projects encounter roadblocks, hiccups, bugs, and unexpected risks. Instead of waiting until the end of their implementation to identify errors and then backtracking to fix them, iterations enable teams to do this work continuously, adapting their game plan for each mini-project to account for any changes or workarounds.

Why it matters 

Choosing Salesforce as your CRM to manage your revenue teams presents endless possibilities. That is both  a gift and a curse. Deciding what to build now, what to put on the back burner for the future, and what to scrap entirely, is difficult for even the most experienced admins. 

Traditional approaches like the waterfall model try to create the ideal plan before getting started on the work. In this non-iterative process, your team will determine what the project will look like when completed. This is where your organization will spend most of its time. 

Once you have a plan of action, teams move on to building and then testing their systems. Remember, no one can move on to the next phase of implementation until the current phase is complete. 

Changes mid-project should be avoided. This is a “measure twice, cut once” approach. Despite such precautions, though,  no one will ever design and execute the perfect implementation and deployment. 

That’s why In the iterative approach, perfection isn’t the goal. The goal is to start building the implementation quicker. You’ll need the framework of the final product, but can complete, test, and resolve any bugs or risks along the way. 

Happy team made up a diverse group of 5 people smiling while looking on at a laptop

Top 3 benefits of the iterative approach

Applying the iterative process to Salesforce implementation and  development projects has become increasingly popular for good reason – or should we say three good reasons? Here they are: 

1. Improved efficiency

The iterative approach lets your team adapt to changes, not only in your business, but in the marketplace as well. Customer expectations can change over the course of a year and flexible organizations must adapt how they implement Salesforce to deliver value. This could include streamlining ticketing workflows or generating orders and invoices faster, for example.

Your team can also tackle more than one part of the implementation at a time. Instead of waiting for one particularly difficult phase to complete, people can begin the next phase at any time. Delays and new risks won’t stop you in your tracks because your implementation is not planned in a linear way.

2. Happier, more productive teams

Your Salesforce admins and operations teams are your greatest resource. When a project hits a roadblock in phase one, people dedicated to phase two shouldn’t sit helplessly waiting for the go ahead to work. This ties directly into employee and team morale. 

When projects using the waterfall process stall, your admin can be stranded with nothing to work on for months. This lack of control over one’s workday is compounded by increased stress about job security. An iterative approach gives your team frequent, smaller wins over the course of the implementation plan. 

3. Dealing with small risks rather than big risks 

Each iteration has its own testing component, so your development or implementation team can mitigate risks at the microlevel early on. In contrast, the waterfall approach leaves all testing to the end of the build. That means that if you uncover a problem, you might have to pull everything apart to fix it.  

The end result of using the iterative approach is a more efficient, refined Salesforce implementation and deployment that’s completed on schedule.  With clear gains and no downside, this is the way for modern businesses to move forward.

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