PATH is an international nonprofit organization and the leader in global health innovation. They accelerate innovation across five platforms – vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, devices, and system and service innovations – that harness their entrepreneurial insight, scientific and public health expertise, and passion for health equity. They mobilize partners around the world and work alongside countries primarily in Africa and Asia to tackle their greatest health needs.

We encourage you to learn more about PATH’s global impact on their website.

 

Background

PATH hired DaizyLogik to help them improve user buy-in within the Global Engagement division and incorporate Salesforce as a true CRM for the department.

This case study offers insights into how the DaizyLogik team led the effort to implement the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) on an existing Salesforce database for PATH by using a phased approach.

This body of work started with the output from the CRM planning phase, which we discussed in Part 1 of this Case Study (Understand Your Stakeholders: A Case Study in Agile Salesforce CRM Planning). This work included over 900 user stories that were groomed and prioritized, an existing Salesforce instance with approximately 700 active  users, 1.5GB of data to be migrated from DonorPerfect into NPSP, and integration with external applications such as DonorSearch and SoapBox Engage.

 

The Approach

Recognizing the scale of this project, our team started by defining a few phases of implementation, each with its own theme and set of goals. We started out with the Foundational phase, which layered the Nonprofit Success Pack onto the existing Salesforce database. From there, we continued with a Global Engagement themed phase, in which we built functionality required for fundraising and overall relationship and campaign management. The legacy data was migrated into the Nonprofit Success Pack. During the next phase, we worked to integrate Cvent and Campaign Monitor into PATH’s Salesforce.

Throughout this body of work a few key principles kept our teams grounded and focused:

FIRST THINGS FIRST. It is often said that when faced with a seemingly unsurmountable and challenging project, the best way to get started is to get organized.

DaizyLogik began the Nonprofit Success Pack implementation work by working closely with PATH to sift through 900 groomed stories and identify a logical order for building the new system. We did this by keeping in mind a few parameters: the stakeholder priority of each story, the impact of the story on existing users, and, whether the story was on the critical path. These criteria allowed the DaizyLogik and PATH teams to design and plan the phased approach.

For example, we identified that installing the Nonprofit Success Pack on the existing Salesforce database with minimal configuration would have an immediate positive impact across the organization and would become the foundation of all the subsequent customization work that was going to be more specific to philanthropic development.

ALWAYS PROCEED WITH THE GOAL IN MIND. The overarching goal of this project was to improve user buy-in within PATH’s Global Engagement division in order to effectively incorporate Salesforce as a true CRM for the department. By starting with the project goal, we then identified sub-goals for each phase. From there we were able to determine the critical path along which we would work to achieve each goal.

For example, the critical path of the Global Engagement themed phase included onboarding new staff directly on the Lightning interface, developing and implementing pieces of fundraising functionality that needed to work together and integrate into the existing database, and importing legacy data.

By using this approach, our team could assess at each project checkpoint whether a requested piece of functionality was supportive of the goal by determining if it was on the critical path.

HAVE A PLAN, HAVE A PROCESS. Once our teams had a plan in place, it was time to establish a process. DaizyLogik’s project delivery methodology is aligned with the Agile method of software development. That means that work is done in sprints with continuous testing by the stakeholders, and continuous integration of new functionality into a staging environment.

To facilitate this process and reduce risk, our team used best practices, including having separate Salesforce environments, or sandboxes, for development, user testing and integration. We also employed tools to effectively track each new deployment to a staging environment. Combined, these best practices allowed us to identify potential issues at the early stages of the implementation and fully test the new functionality with the existing Salesforce processes and integrations.

JUST-IN-TIME DETAIL. Our project delivery methodology encourages early and frequent user testing and feedback, and it allows for priorities to change as users become familiar with the new system and start to see the opportunities it presents. We recognize how easy it could be for the amount of details to become very jumbled in a project of this size, especially as priorities change, and for this reason, we encourage “just-in-time detail.” In other words, our developers and project managers don’t need to know all the minute details of each user story until it’s time to address it. Once we begin to plan each implementation sprint, our team seeks out the necessary details needed to fill in the blanks and make additional design decisions.

For example, if during the planning phase we identified a story that requested the calculation of certain donations roll-ups, it would be during the implementation sprint that we would ask for the specifics of what those roll-ups should calculate. This translated into great flexibility and time savings for both teams, as users were able to determine when a story was no longer a priority or even needed at all.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER. The advantage of the Agile approach is that it encourages development teams to break up large bodies of work into bite-sized chunks that can be completed, tested and used right away. As our teams finished customizing areas of the Nonprofit Success Pack, PATH staff could test this functionality immediately and provide valuable and timely feedback that contributed to improvements or ideas for future features. The act of hands-on testing was also an opportunity for staff to practice with the new system before its official launch. This approach ensured that on the day the new Salesforce went live, everything looked familiar and the staff at PATH were ready to begin using the system immediately.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. Most Salesforce build-outs culminate in a big one-time deployment to production and a data migration. These deployments can be nerve wracking, especially when functionality and data is added to an existing instance where additional integrations and processes are already running. To mitigate this risk, DaizyLogik in collaboration with the PATH team designed a step-by-step, clearly defined and repeatable deployment and data migration plan. This allowed for a seamless deployment and it translated into high data quality at the end of the migration.

 

Important Things to Remember

CHANGE IS INEVITABLE DURING ANY SALESFORCE CRM PROJECT. Teams should consider potential changes and have a plan to adapt to these changes into their project’s overall strategy. For example, we found that the Donor Search integration with Salesforce is different than its integration with DonorPerfect. This required us to add some additional customizations in order to bridge the gap between the two systems.

VALIDATE YOUR DATA. The data migration can be the most challenging piece of a Salesforce CRM implementation. Whether it’s the structure of the legacy data, the volume of the data, or both, you can never be too careful about planning the migration well and allowing ample time for the data to be validated. This is particularly important when your legacy data comes from a system from which the vendor must perform the extraction of the data. We have found that a good migration mapping plan combined with lots of end-user hands-on validation in a full sandbox greatly increased the quality of the data import.

PRIORITIZE TESTING. The benefit of using an Agile process, which includes early and frequent testing, cannot be overemphasized in a Salesforce CRM implementation project. When the project faces a tight, non-movable deadline it is possible at times for development to overtake the testing effort. This can translate into conflicting testing instructions that do not reflect the current state of the system. One way to avoid this is to space out the working sprints and allow the feedback to trickle back in, to be addressed or to be put into the backlog. When that is not an option, teams should consider prioritizing testing and providing as much support as needed to testers. We found that preparing the environment with test data, training the staff who would be doing the testing ahead of time, and setting clear deadlines minimized this risk and ensured that sprints could be sequenced closely together.

 

Conclusion

When it comes to a complex and team-oriented Salesforce implementation, the power of a phased approach cannot be overstated. From planning to execution, every new phase of the project is building on the project’s previous successes. Moreover, the value of a CRM increases exponentially when team members commit to using it. The phased approach adopted by the DaizyLogik and PATH teams for this implementation helped facilitated a complex change in the team’s business processes with ease. Team members and organizational leadership increasingly developed trust in the process, as they were able to immediately experience the improved functionality in a working Salesforce instance and become more comfortable with the changes. By using the Agile methodology, our team was able to unbiasedly address changes to the project as they came along, recognizing that priorities can and often do evolve.

The phased approach, aided by a step-by-step, clearly defined and repeatable deployment and data migration plan, helped ensure that at the end of the migration effort, PATH was not only working with high quality data, but had an engaged and well-trained team that was prepared to use it.

 


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