How to use Salesforce for Project Management

Kirby Corbey |
 Salesforce |
 Dec 9, 2020

How to use Salesforce for Project Management tasks

Allow Salesforce to help your organization or business ensure a successful project management experience and improve client success and satisfaction all in one place. By using the features available within your Salesforce solution, you can track project milestones and streamline project team communication efficiently and effectively.

Introduction

When it comes to client projects, a successful outcome is largely dependent on successful Project Management. This requires alignment with all parties involved to ensure realistic expectations are set, timelines are determined, and risks are addressed, which allows for overall confidence and trust within the team. This success is accomplished by setting a realistic project plan, clear expectations of costs, an understanding of the project deliverables and milestones, and ensuring an orderly and streamlined process by setting these expectations with the team and identifying who will do what and when. This enables a higher probability of deliverables and milestones being met and ensuring quality control over what is being delivered, limiting any potential frustrations and can improve client experience and satisfaction.

How Salesforce can help the Project Management life cycle

One way to achieve consistency throughout not only the project management journey, but also the client lifecycle, is to use Salesforce. By incorporating project management into your Salesforce solution, you can monitor the entire client experience, starting with the initial opportunity, to sale, and throughout the entire implementation process and beyond. This provides detailed information all in one location. You can make sure your clients are getting exactly what they need, exactly when they need it. By utilizing Salesforce, you also allow your team members to effectively communicate with each other and run your projects like a well-oiled machine. Not only does using Salesforce provides a 360 view of your clients and their needs, but you are also able to easily recognize and alert post-sales team members of additional sales opportunities that would be beneficial for the client to pursue in the future.

Features within Salesforce that can be useful in Project Management

Currently, Salesforce does not have a specific project management solution built into its platform, but the following native and customizable capabilities can be used to ensure a successful project lifecycle!

    • Teams- building teams within Salesforce is done by identifying any users who work on a project (account) together. Within these identified teams, users are given access to the account and any relevant account information needed for the project’s overall success. Using account teams helps your project management team know exactly what their role is within the project, saves time by keeping communication coordinated in one spot, and helps management maintain a clear understanding of who is doing what. Creating these project teams is the first place to start to ensure client satisfaction and project success.
    • Cases or Tasks- working within the teams established, Salesforce can be used for creating and assigning cases or tasks to the appropriate users. These features allow for additional document file uploads, which will arm the assigned team member with more information and documentation on the work being requested within the task. Tasks can be built with reminders or email notifications sent to users- reminding them about potential deadlines for the task in which they are assigned, to help ensure timely completion and continue the momentum within the project itself.
    • Status fields- any status fields can be customized and added to your Salesforce solution to help gain visibility into a project. By creating a variety of the project statuses for team members to indicate where each milestone is, allows for the leadership team to have a better understanding of where the project is as a whole, highlighting any potential of deadlines that are at risk, therefore allowing for prompt communication with the client regarding any shifting expectations. An efficient way to view the project status as a whole is by using Salesforce’s Kanban view.

What is Kanban?

In Japanese, kanban literally translates to “visual signal.” For kanban teams, every work item is represented as a separate card on the board. The main purpose of representing work as a card on the kanban board is to allow team members to track the progress of work through its workflow in a highly visual manner.

How to use Salesforce for Project Management

    • Chatter- within Salesforce, you can always bring project teams together by using the Chatter feature. Chatter is a powerful tool for project collaboration that includes features such as group chats, notifications, alerts, and reminders which can be added directly into a case created for the project. This tool can also help create separate tasks around different topics, so team members don’t mix multiple topics together. Sending messages or notifying the team members is much easier if any task changes or further assistance is required, without having to move to a separate chat application outside of Salesforce. All relevant project management communication can be done within the Salesforce application itself, streamlining effective communication.
  • How to use Salesforce for Project Management
    • Dashboards- customizable dashboards and reporting tools within Salesforce helps keep the project management team up to date in regard to project statuses, with one easy view! With a simple drag and drop features, Salesforce can help you gain a clear understanding of your team’s project timelines and overall productivity on one page.

How to use Salesforce for Project Management

Enhance Salesforce Project Management tools

If you want to further enhance your project management capabilities within your Salesforce solution, you can look for a project management specific App from the App Exchange such as Mission Control, which can provide even more functionality that would assist with the project management lifecycle. Mission Control is a comprehensive addition that provides both individual and team-based features, concentrates on a waterfall-centric project delivery style, addition of Gantt Charts, resource planning features, and tracking capabilities for project hours and financials. We utilize this tool as part of our overall delivery process and are a partner with Mission Control if you are interested in pursuing this tool for your organization.

Inspire Planner is another paid app for your consideration that allows for functionality to include external partners or customers in your projects. It has features including resource allocation, Gantt charts and dependencies, project forecasting, templates, file sharing, and chatter integration. This app behaves very much like Microsoft Project if your team is looking for something comparable on the Salesforce platform.

Is cost a concern for your organization? Milestones PM or Agile Accelerator are free options available in the App exchange. Agile Accelerator is useful for both Agile and waterfall project management styles and is team-focused, rather than individual. Milestones PM+ is an individual focused, waterfall-centric project delivery style feature that also includes the availability of Gantt charts. They have both a free version, which includes project templates, Gantt charts, and dependency tracking, and a premium version which has an interactive Gantt chart, Salesforce event and task syncing, time tracking on objects, advanced project templates, and more.

Conclusion

While currently, Salesforce does not have a Project Management specific feature available, there are many great out of the box features that can empower your organization to provide a successful project management experience for you and your client. With all of your team using Salesforce to track their interactions with your client you are providing a complete and comprehensive view of your client and their needs. Using the Account teams and tasks and notifications features, Salesforce can help keep team members aligned and efficient. The Chatter functionality assists with streamlined and productive team communication and collaboration. The customizable status fields that can be created and viewed in the Kanban view or dashboards, allow management to keep a close eye on the progress of the project and provide the ability to monitor and address any potential blockers that may arise, which helps ensure not only client satisfaction but a successful project outcome for all involved.

And finally, if these existing Salesforce features don’t quite meet your needs and expectations, the opportunity is available to enhance your Salesforce project management solution by browsing your options with an App from the App Exchange! We hope this article has helped you learn how to use Salesforce for project management, if you need assistance, feel free to reach out. One of our certified Project Management professionals would be happy to help.

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.

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