Why and How to Formalize Salesforce Design Standards

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Growing your Salesforce program over time can deliver significant value to your organization and increase your return on investment. But to realize these benefits, you need a Salesforce governance strategy to grow your program in a thoughtful, organized way.

When you think of Salesforce governance, elements like a Center of Excellence that centralizes decision-making and oversight, a change management program to ensure successful rollouts and an organization strategy that minimizes the risk of technical changes likely come to mind.

But there is another, equally important pillar to a best practice Salesforce governance strategy: Design standards.

Why You Need Formal Salesforce Design Standards

Formal Salesforce design standards clearly label everything in the backend of Salesforce with a standard naming convention.

Having standard, widely accepted naming conventions makes it easy to:

  • Find and identify code
  • Understand why code was written or why it was configured in a certain way
  • Determine the purpose of specific code

By fulfilling these needs, design standards bring order to what can easily become very chaotic. As a result, they reduce the risk of having large data volumes, complicated integration requirements and extensive security considerations.

Design standards become even more important over time as Salesforce ownership changes hands. That’s because they make it easy for someone new to come in and understand what’s going on in the backend of Salesforce, why things were done a certain way and whether or not specific pieces are essential to how Salesforce is currently used within the organization. Without this roadmap, someone new might be left guessing about any of these questions and could easily make a mistake that impacts data and/or users.

How to Formalize Salesforce Design Standards

Formalizing Salesforce design standards involves three key steps:

  • Determining what design standards should be.Think through how you will use naming conventions to make it easy for anyone to understand how and why each field was created or customized in a specific way. To make sure you accomplish this objective, ask questions like: Do we clearly define requirements in the application? Have we defined user personas?
  • Deciding where to apply these standards.As a baseline, you should apply design standards to workflows, validation rules, field labels and descriptions. The best programs also apply design standards to categories like configuration via code, Apex and Visualforce.
  • Enforcing set design standards.Once you determine what your design standards should be and where to apply them, you need to actually put those standards into action. Enforcing your design standards includes more than putting them in place to begin with. It also involves making sure everyone follows those standards going forward.

Beyond these three steps to start formalizing design standards, several best practices exist when introducing design standards specifically for Apex coding and Visualforce. For example, you should:

  • Use @future appropriately
  • Avoid hardcoding identifiers
  • “Bulkify” your code to handle processing of large data batches and helper methods
  • Use the limits Apex methods to avoid hitting governor limits
  • Optimize Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL)
  • Avoid SOQL Queries inside FOR Loops
  • Use collections, streamlining queries and efficient FOR Loops
  • Query large data sets
  • Write test methods to verify large data sets
  • Use standard set controllers

Are You Ready to Formalize Salesforce Design Standards?

Ready to discover everything you need to know about formalizing design standards for your Salesforce program and how else you can set your organization up for success with a best practice governance strategy? Check out our white paper on Salesforce Application Governance to learn more.

Ojay Malonzo

Read more posts by Ojay Malonzo