How to Prepare for Salesforce Release Management

Preparing for a new software release can oftentimes be a time-consuming and even daunting task, especially if an organization is unprepared, but it can also be very exciting! Software releases generally mean new and improved functionality is becoming available, but if an organization isn’t prepared for the release, that leaves many unanswered questions. What could potentially be adversely affected? Would being unprepared cause some unanticipated downtime? What update was made that you weren’t aware of that could possibly make work more streamlined and efficient?

If your company utilizes Salesforce, this blog will help you create a process to efficiently prepare for Salesforce’s releases that they implement 3 times a year, so your company is as prepared and effective as it can be.

When making changes to a software solution, it is oftentimes an expected and anticipated event. One that a company participates with during the planning and preparation phases. These software releases generally are at the request of the client and come at a cost. There are also releases that occur when the software company that an organization utilizes schedules updates and enhancements within their baseline solution that they roll out and make available to all of their customers. Either way, updated software releases are often times very beneficial and aim to help organizations get the most out of their solution. When it comes to planning and preparing for the release, the more prepared an organization is and the more streamlined the process, the fewer roadblocks that are encountered, which leads to increased satisfaction and productivity!

When Are Salesforce Releases?

Salesforce users are provided an update of their software 3 times a year (Spring, Summer, and Winter), at no cost. Following these 3 steps can ensure your organization is as prepared as it can be for these rollouts and your end users are adequately trained on what changes they can expect, making for a smooth and positive rollout experience.
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Prior to completing the steps outlined below, this trailhead module is a great place to start. This training module outlines what you can expect with a Salesforce release and will help you be better prepared for when the automatic updates happen to your environment. Completing this trailhead for Salesforce Administrators is a good practice for any organization that utilizes Salesforce. This module will help them become better prepared for these releases and will enforce good practices in planning and preparation so your company gets the most out of your solution, and future releases are as seamless as possible, with little disruption to your end-users.

How to Prepare for Salesforce Release Management

Step 1: Open the lines of communication
The first step is to make sure that you are set up to receive email alerts to these important dates and links to the release notes! Salesforce sends out communication in advance regarding what new features your organization can expect, what is changed, and what is going away. These communications will also alert you to any webinars surrounding the details of the upcoming release and will also send you multiple alerts as the release date gets closer, reducing the chances that it will slip your mind!

Set yourself up to get the alerts!

Step 2: Plan for the release
Educate yourself on what is coming!
Detailed release notes for each rollout, defining what is coming, changing, and being renamed or deprecated can be found online: Not all of the updates available will impact your org, but you can read up on the topics that relate to the Salesforce platform that your company utilizes. Each topic is broken down by content, so you can easily find the topics relevant to your database.

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Salesforce release notes

Besides reading the release notes, Salesforce users can even have some fun with the upcoming release by completing the trailhead module that is associated with each specific release. Completing these activities will help your organization determine what will impact your company the most and give Administrators the time to communicate these important updates and changes to the end-users.

Winter ’22 release trail module

Step 3: Prepare your environments
Sandbox environments are upgraded 4 weeks prior to production instances. This is your chance to see the changes first hand. To ensure your Sandbox is set to receive the upgrade, check your instance. To do so, log into your Sandbox environment- from Setup: type Sandbox in the Quick Find box. Select it. Use the Location column to find the instance.
From there, you can use this guide to determine if your Sandbox environment is on a preview instance. This guide will also walk you through how to update your sandbox if needed in order to get the updates.

It is important to prepare for this process and plan ahead. If you don’t have your Sandbox updated in time for the release date, then you won’t be able to view the preview of the expected updates and changes. This cut-off date to ensure your environment is capable of getting the preview is usually the day before the release date to the Sandbox environment, so keep those dates handy!

If you decide not to update your Sandbox environment to allow for the preview, then your Sandbox environment won’t be upgraded until a later date.

Planning and preparing for software releases can be a time-consuming task, the good news for Salesforce users is that these releases only happen 3 times a year and are free! Releases often mean not only new and improved functionality, but older processes may be deprecated if they have been found to not be as effective as they were intended to be, Keeping your software up to date with these releases will ensure that your organization is getting the most out of the Salesforce instance as you can, ensuring productivity and usability. By following the steps outlined above, a Salesforce System Administrator can get in the habit of completing these steps prior to release dates and coordinate and communicated anticipated changes with end-users, so any company can efficiently handle any upcoming releases with ease!


Kirby Corbey

Kirby Corbey

Client Success Manager

Kirby is one of our Account Executives at Roycon. She has over 5 years of experience in a client success role within the software industry. She was born and raised in Montana and will continue to live there even though the winters can be pretty tough.