Don’t All Jump In At Once…The Importance Of Piloting Your Lightning Migration


Lightning can be a little scary…both lightning in nature and Salesforce Lightning. As far as the lightning that Mother Nature delivers, my only advice is to stay inside and try not to be in direct contact with electricity. Luckily, Salesforce Lightning isn’t dangerous and is nowhere near as scary as the real thing. Many companies, however, are afraid to make the switch from Classic. It’s understandable. It’s a huge change. But if your Lightning migration is done correctly, it will be worth it and not as scary as you thought.  Planning is key. Part of your Lightning migration plan should include first launching it to a pilot group of users rather than your whole company at once.  

As a system administrator or developer in charge of the migration to Lightning, you should fully understand the processes and flows that are built in your instance and what your users should walk through. That doesn’t mean, however, that you know exactly how each user will go about their day and how they are used to navigating through Salesforce; not everyone does everything exactly the same way. Some users have come to rely on shortcuts the system allows while others may take a different route. Also, Lightning functionality does not match Classic functionality one hundred percent. 

A pilot group should include all members of your management team and at least one user in each role within your company. Your management team needs to pilot the system so they can give insight into improvements and so they can understand what their teams are going to face when the move to Lightning happens for all. You should have discussed management’s expectations for Lightning before the migration began, but they will have additional feedback and expectations once they get in there and actually see how it looks and works. For the non-management users, select seasoned employees who understand and support your company’s processes and what is expected in their role. For example, if your sales reps are expected to add all their activities into Salesforce, it’s not wise to select someone known to not follow that process or someone who has expressed a dislike for the system. You also want to pick individuals who want the migration to succeed. When someone is in the pilot group, they should try to work completely in Lightning and limit going back to Classic as much as possible. You don’t want to choose someone who will run into one hurdle and immediately switch back to Classic without trying to work through the hurdle in Lightning and/or stay in Classic for a long period after that.  

The pilot group will help identify functionality that was available in Classic but not Lightning. The pilot group will also help identify things that the development team didn’t even consider. Migrating is a big project with so many parts. One person or team cannot expect to get it exactly right the first time. You need other people to move through the system in ways that you don’t, so they can tell you what else needs to be addressed.  

Training is a must for the pilot group. Don’t just turn on Lightning for your pilot group and expect them to find their way. You should have scheduled, formal training for the pilot group. They need to be shown any known limitations of Lightning ahead of time to ease their frustration. It’s much easier to accept a limitation if you know it ahead of time than trying to work through something and getting an error message. They will also need to know all of the cool new features, such as all of the improvements to navigation. Training doesn’t mean you need to walk them through every process. For example, whether in Classic or Lightning, the process to create a new lead is to go to the leads tab and click new, fill out the fields, and click save. But you should show them how to get there and the additional options they have for these steps in Lightning.  

Another must is that you need to give your pilot group users a way to communicate their feedback as they use Lightning. There are lots of ways to do this. You can create a Lightning Pilot Chatter group to post issues. You can create a custom object and a form for pilot group users to complete that will get sent to the development team. You can require that when they switch back to Classic that they complete a form on the screen that makes them explain why they are switching to Classic. That form information can even feed directly into the Chatter group. There are so many options…you just need to make sure you provide a way for pilot group users to communicate and also a way to track the issues and feedback. You don’t want someone just popping by your desk and mentioning issues.  

Finally, be sure to give your pilot group a good amount of time to really work through everything and provide thorough feedback. You also need to give yourself time to make adjustments and customizations based on the feedback you get. Based on the size of your company and number of users, this pilot group period could be at least a month or even longer. 

The migration to Lightning is not something you should enter into lightly. The more you plan for this, the better your adoption will be. Best of luck.  

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