Salesforce.com is one of the biggest businesses in the world. When it comes to IT solutions, this presents one of those companies that will always be at the top of the list. The company has been around for a very long time now. However, it has not always been as successful as today. The quality of its work saw a serious development in 2006. This is when it changed dramatically to different and outcome-focused, customer-driven management practices that were more responsive. In the software development circles, it is known as Scrum or Agile. Many are the businesses that adopted these new practices as well but few had as spectacular results as Salesforce.com.
It is speculated that more than 70% of Agile or Scrum implementations fail to achieve their projected benefits. What is it that Salesforce.com did that these other businesses or failed to do that led to their failure?
Five things Salesforce.com did not do:
- Skimping on training and coaching
This comes in at the top of the list. Trainings and coaching sessions tend to be quite costly and therefore many businesses will skimp of them to cut costs. However, when the future of an organization relies heavily on success skimping on training will be detrimental to the growth of the business. It is also a very counterproductive form of saving on money. Salesforce.com placed a lot of emphasis on the training and coaching. It sent a large team of people primarily comprised of functional and program managers for training. It also bought training books for all staff members.
- Keeping management decisions a secret
Openness is important and that is what Salesforce.com has always been about. This is not something that is common to all businesses as they want to keep the decisions of the management to themselves. This is very unhealthy for the growth of the business. The company wants to make some change to the Saleforce metadata API?They will make sure that everyone in the company is aware of this change. It is important for the people working in a business always to stay up to date with goings-on in a business.
- Apply foreign methodologies rigidly
It is one thing to learn something and another totally different thing to ape it. When you apply rigidly methodology that has been conceived somewhere else to your business, then you will have serious problems. You need to be flexible with things that you adopt from another place. Improving on them by making a few changes will make them more suitable for the immediate needs of your business.
- Introducing changes like any other business process
In as much as change is always constant, every change that you make to a business should be ideal for the running of the business. This is easier said than done. Salesforce.com understood that adopting Scrum would not only involve adopting new business processes but also transform the management of work in the business. Introduction of such changes like any other business process would most probably cause some kind of shock and disorientation.
- Committed right from the start
Salesforce.com did not take up the traditional ‘wait and see’ method of implementing change. Most companies will do this, if the change works out they will adopt it. The leadership at Salesforce.com made it clear that they were committed to making sure that change worked out. Few companies are willing to do this.
Daniel Wellington is an IT consultant with years of experience in executive IT management. He also has experience with the Salesforce metadata API, which he writes about on his blog.