Product Launch Project Management in Salesforce

Product Launch Project Management in Salesforce

Problem:

Launching a new product starts with an idea, then has to be vetted, developed, produced/distributed, marketed, and sold. This process requires company-wide collaboration and may also include working with multiple vendors. Keeping track of the entire process to ensure a successful launch can be daunting.

Solution:

Create a Program in Salesforce using Milestones PM+ with Projects for each business unit involved. At the Program level, the Gantt chart in Salesforce will show the health and timeline for each team’s Project allowing cross functional collaboration and planning.

The Program Gantt in Milestones PM+ in this image has Premium Edition features enabled for the Resource and Duration columns as well as drag&drop funcionality.

The Program Gantt in Milestones PM+ in this image has Premium Edition features enabled for the Resource and Duration columns as well as drag&drop funcionality.

Customize the Program to include any analytics that are meaningful to your business and add any report charts that will give upper management or key stakeholders a clear picture of how the launch is progressing.

Tips: 

  • By using Lookup Helper, you can automatically relate your Projects to any other Salesforce standard or custom object. If your teams are using Cases or Work Items for example, you can relate them to the Project.
  • Adding on Rollup Helper will allow the aggregation of any Project Data.
  • Product Marketing Manager/Marketing Team may want items in a Project such as:
    • Market Research
    • Competitive Analysis
    • Sales Enablement
    • Market Intelligence
    • Demand Generation
  • The Research and Development team may need items such as:
    • Design
    • Prototype Build
    • Prototype Testing
    • Evaluation 
    • Design Iteration
  • Taking advantage of Chatter on Projects, Milestones or Tasks will provide a vehicle for quick and easy cross functional collaboration.
  • Create templates from those Projects for future use to automatically create new Projects for the next new product launch.
  • If you are interested in using Stage-Gate® methodology, please check out our blog: Stage-Gate® Projects With Milestones PM+
  • In Lightning, you can view all of your Project Tasks in a Kanban view to help your teams prioritize work.
     
Prioritize work with Project Task Kanban in Lightning.

Prioritize work with Project Task Kanban in Lightning.

Managing Opening New Locations with Projects in Salesforce

Managing Opening New Locations with Projects in Salesforce

Problem:

When a business is expanding and opening new locations, multiple business units must collaborate in order to deliver a successful and timely launch. This process will most likely include contractors and/or vendors that play key roles in the project. For full transparency into the status of the project, all tasks and resources along with deadlines need to be available in one location. 

Solution:

Use Milestones PM+ and its template engine to automatically create a Project in Salesforce for each new location to enable the team to work efficiently, collaborate with stakeholders, and ensure a successful delivery. 

When you are creating your Projects(s) that will be used for Template(s) to create new Projects automatically, there are some items that you may want to consider.

  • Use Milestones to group Tasks together based on when they need to be completed or create any necessary predecessor/successor dependencies. 
    • For example:
      • You may have tight deadlines on working with contractors/vendors to ensure that all necessary items are completed prior to launch day.
      • Teams may need to schedule onsite visits to approve materials or plans prior to construction beginning.
  • Using Milestones PM+ Premium Edition enables Task assignment to Resources that are non-Salesforce users such as Contractors/Vendors.
    • Once Resource records are created for Contractors/Vendors, Project Tasks can be assigned to them for accountability.
      • If you would like them to have access to see/update the Tasks, they will need a Salesforce License. There are a few options provided in the Milestones PM+ Admin Guide.
    • A Resource column can be added to the Gantt chart for visibility into who Tasks are assigned to.
  • Consider keeping track of potential Risks or Issues that could occur for this project and any contingency plans that need to be in place if the risk is highly probable or highly impactful. 
    • Implement a risk management assessment and mitigation tracking processes for one or all of your important projects.
    • Log any issues that arise to increase visibility into trends where the opening of new locations may be going wrong or where future risks need to be mitigated.

As all of the objects for Milestones PM+ are Salesforce custom objects, they are fully accessible for reporting. This will allow you to identify and address any trends in where there is room for improvement in opening new locations. You can learn more about reporting on Projects in Salesforce in the Milestones PM+ Admin Guide.
 

Tracking Billable and Nonbillable Time for Customer Projects

Tracking Billable and Nonbillable Time for Customer Projects

Problem:

When working on a project for a customer, both billable and nonbillable hours need to be accounted for in order to have a full 360-degree view of the health of a project to aid in analyzing where improvements can be made or where a company is doing well.

Solution:

One potential solution is to create projects automatically in Salesforce using Milestones PM+ and its template engine and customize it so that you can track both billable and nonbillable hours. For this, you will need to install Rollup Helper as an add-on to roll up the hours totals.
 

Summarize billable and non-billable hours logged using Rollup Helper. Please note some Milestones PM+ Premium Edition features are enabled on the Gantt chart in this image.

Summarize billable and non-billable hours logged using Rollup Helper. Please note some Milestones PM+ Premium Edition features are enabled on the Gantt chart in this image.

If you are using Milestones PM+ Premium Edition, you can simply have users log time in a convenient time entry grid that will then automatically relate the time entries back to the appropriate Tasks. The time entered can then go through our Time Entry Approval process that is already built in. With this option Rollup Helper, is not required.

Milestones PM+ Premium Edition Time Entry Grid. 

Milestones PM+ Premium Edition Time Entry Grid. 

If you are using Milestones PM+ Free Edition and want to use Rollup Helper, users can log their time on each individual Task record.

  1. To customize your Project to include totals for billable and nonbillable hours, first create custom fields:
    1. Time
      1. Checkbox - Billable?
    2. Project Task
      1. Number Field - Total Billable Hours
      2. Number Field - Total Nonbillable Hours
    3. Project
      1. Number Field - Total Billable Hours
      2. Number Field - Total Nonbillable Hours
    4. *Optionally create fields on Milestone for Total Billable and Nonbillable hours if you would like to see the totals at that level as well. This may be important if you want to also track estimates of work against actuals at a resource group or phase level.
  2. Create Sum rollups from Time (Hours) to Project Task using the Billable checkbox as a filter.
  3. Create Sum rollups from Project Task to Project using the rollup results from the first rollup as the source for this one.

Take advantage of Milestones PM+ reporting capabilities to identify trends for both billable and nonbillable time. For example, here are some reports you may want to create:

You can learn more about reporting on Projects in Salesforce in the Milestones PM+ Admin Guide.
 

Project Management for Marketing with Milestones PM+

Project Management for Marketing with Milestones PM+

Problem:

Preparing for an event/tradeshow or other large marketing project requires marketing teams to meet deadlines, collaborate with stakeholders, and ensure that their team is well organized so that the message is delivered successfully. Marketing project planning can prove to be chaotic if there isn’t one convenient location for all of the planning and execution to be tracked.
 

Solution:

Use Milestones PM+ and its template engine to automatically create a Project in Salesforce for each marketing initiative to enable the team to work efficiently, collaborate with stakeholders, and ensure a successful delivery. You might consider relating the Projects to a Campaign and automatically creating the Project from a template based on the type of campaign.

  • First, create different Projects for each project/campaign type, then use those Projects to create templates. The templates can then be used to automatically create new Projects from Campaigns or any other standard or custom object in Salesforce. For example, you may want to create a Project for an advertising project. You may need to create a project template for working on a new creative logo.
  • When creating your Projects, use Milestones to group Tasks together based on when they need to be completed or create any necessary dependencies. 
    • For example:
      • You may have tight deadlines on working with creatives/graphic designers months ahead of the event in order to have booth signage ready on time.
      • Teams may need to book travel/hotels well in advance if you are planning to attend an event where hotel rooms are a premium (such as Dreamforce).
  • If you are using Milestones PM+ Premium Edition
    • Sync your Project Task to a Salesforce Task or Event so that your users can see all of the activities they have due on their Salesforce Calendar, keeping them organized and productive. You can take this a step further if you are using Salesforce Outlook or Gmail sync so that their Project Tasks will be available on their Outlook or Gmail calendars as well.
       

Manage Internal Projects / Implementations with Milestones PM+

Manage Internal Projects / Implementations with Milestones PM+

Problem:

When internal IT teams are implementing new business processes, enhancing systems, or integrating systems, care must be taken to ensure that the work is well documented, on schedule, on budget, and that knowledge is transferred throughout the process. The key phases of the systems development life-cycle must be followed and any organization specific project management processes must be adhered to whether it is in support of a PMO, Prince2, or PMP based methodology. Whether your technology projects involve Salesforce project management, Mobile app development project management, or creating a new customer portal/customer community, each project will likely have core steps that should be followed on every project to ensure high-quality project delivery.  For example, has the desired functionality been documented? Do you have stakeholder agreement on the functionality to be implemented/changed, and do you have a testing plan to make sure that users don’t experience bugs or usability problems which lead to poor user adoption? 
 

Solution:

Use Milestones PM+ and its template engine to create a Project in Salesforce for each IT project type. Make sure your project/project template, enables the team to meet the following goals:

  • Work efficiently.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders.
  • Ensure a smooth transition for User adoption.

Check out how nPower used Milestones PM+ to integrate their core business systems and processes on the Salesforce Platform.
 

Using Milestones PM+ to Manage Employee On-boarding

Using Milestones PM+ to Manage Employee On-boarding

Problem:

In order to retain high quality new hires and accelerate the time it takes to have the new hire up and running, key steps must be completed in a timely manner. Some steps will apply to all employees such as new hire paperwork, drug screens, and education or employment verification. Other steps may vary by department, role, geographic location or whether they work in an office or remotely.

Solution:

Use Milestones PM+ and its template engine to create a Project in Salesforce for each new hire so that no steps are missed and ensure the successful on-boarding of your new hire.

With Milestones PM+ Premium Edition, optionally add Resource and Duration Columns to the Gantt chart and use Drag & Drop, Manage Project Plan and Printable Gantt features.

With Milestones PM+ Premium Edition, optionally add Resource and Duration Columns to the Gantt chart and use Drag & Drop, Manage Project Plan and Printable Gantt features.

When creating your project templates, you may want to consider using Milestones to group Tasks together based on when they need to be completed or create any necessary predecessor/successor dependencies. 

  • For example:
    • You may have required paperwork that has to be completed before the new employee’s start date because the offer is contingent on items such as passing a drug screen, background check or education verification.
    • There may be key items to complete on the first day such as id verification, system access, facility tour, etc.
    • Training Plans may include the trainer setting expectations and providing resources. The Milestone for training may have defined dates for when the training should be completed by the new hire.

Using Risks will help you keep track of potential issues that could occur for this project and any contingency plans that need to be in place if the risk is highly probable or highly impactful. Implement a risk management assessment and mitigation tracking processes for one or all of your important projects.

  • For example, retaining talented or highly qualified employees. If onboarding tasks are not being completed in a timely fashion, the new hire may have a bad impression of the company and resign. This may cause the company to lose a valuable resource as well as cause increased time and expense hiring and onboarding a replacement.

Using templates to automatically create new projects with all of the necessary Milestones and Tasks will ensure consistency in your onboarding process.

  • You may consider using different templates for each different type of: 
    • Position/Role 
    • Function 
    • Location 
  • Learn how to create templates from our Template Training Guide.
     

Customer Onboarding / Project Templates with Milestones PM+

Customer Onboarding / Project Templates with Milestones PM+

Problem:

When onboarding new customers, there are often several repetitive although highly important tasks that have to be completed in order to ensure customer satisfaction. These steps may include:

  • Resource management - identifying the skills, resource types, and availability of the people that you have to assign to the project. These may be team members from different teams so you may have to get other resource managers in your company involved. Starting a project knowing that resources will be available will ensure customer satisfaction through an on-time project delivery.
  • Lock In Scope -  whether it is a SOW, project charter, or any other type of contract or specification for the project with stakeholder(s), you need to ensure that the end customer will have most (if not all) of their key requirements identified and goals met. Typically, the project sponsor and project manager on the project will need to have a mutual understanding of success. Locking in scope will benefit both parties by ensuring that in the end, both parties will get what they want. The project sponsor has to think through what they believe must be done to be successful and meet the project objectives and the key resources and project manager on the project must feel confident that they can address the scope within the timeline, budget, and quality expectations that are known.
  • Approve budget - whether your project is making use of external vendors or an in house labor pool, do you have a firm grasp of what the total cost of the project will be including all labor, purchases/rentals, and estimates of total effort? If so, has a purchase order been approved or payments made? You do not want to start a project where the expected budget is already going to exceed what the customer has the budget to pay for. While this may be acceptable in a more agile environment as multiple iterations are expected, expectations must at least be set as to what the budget should be set to given the scope to be delivered during the scope of your project.
  • Kickoff Meeting - do you have a meeting planned that will start the project where all stakeholders meet together to review, finalize, and sign-off on all the work to be done. This ensures that you have 360 degree alignment on all aspects of the project before its too late.
     

Solution:

One potential solution is to create projects automatically in Salesforce using Milestones PM+ and its template engine.

Let’s take a look at how you might use some of the objects that are included with the app:

Programs:

  • Use a Program for different products or services offered to see the overall health of the Projects related to each. Create Projects under Programs that address all of the goals that you need to achieve.
  • If your customer has multiple divisions or locations that need to be on-boarded separately, you may want to create a project for each and create a Program for the customer.

Projects:

  • Consider creating your projects automatically from an Opportunity when it is marked Closed Won or reaches a certain status that is relevant to your business. You can even set this up on any other standard or custom object. For example, one customer had multiple business units each delivering different types of product implementations. Each account in Salesforce had one or multiple profiles (custom objects) underneath. Each profile would be completed or updated throughout the lifecycle of the customer as a form of “saving” the latest configuration to be “deployed” or “supported”.  This custom object data was then used to kickoff a project from a template that was unique to each business unit that was responsible for the work for each account profile.

Milestones:

  • Use Milestones to group Tasks together based on when they need to be completed or create any necessary dependencies. 
    • For example, you may have documents or drawings that require signatures or invoices that need to be paid before the next phase of onboarding can begin. On a lot of projects that we’ve seen, customers need to email important information from one resource group to the other to continue the flow of work.

Tasks:

  • Create Tasks for all of the items that need to be completed in order to successfully onboard your new customer and assign them to relevant personnel.
  • Salesforce Task/Event Sync - Premium Edition Feature
    • Sync your Project Task to a Salesforce Task or Event so that your users can see all of the activities they have due on their Salesforce Calendar, keeping them organized and productive. You can take this a step further if you are using Salesforce Outlook or Gmail sync so that their Project Tasks will be available on their Outlook or Gmail calendars as well.

Resources:

  • Use the Resource object in Milestones PM+ to assign Salesforce Users or a Community License holder to Project Tasks. 
  • With Milestones PM+ Premium Edition, any resource used for your projects can be put into your CRM, whether that resource is a customer contact, employee, employee group, or a physical resource such as a meeting room, projector, etc.
  • For more information on Resource assignment, access to Project information or Salesforce/Community licensing, please refer to our Admin Guide.

Risks:

  • Keep track of potential issues that could occur for this project and any contingency plans that need to be in place if the risk is highly probable or highly impactful. Implement a risk management assessment and mitigation tracking processes for one or all of your important projects.

Issues:

  • Log any issues that arise to increase visibility into trends where customer onboarding may be going wrong or where future risks need to be mitigated before projects start.

Gantt Chart:

  • Milestones PM+ Free Edition
    • Increase visibility for teams to view the overall health of a Program or Project and keep to deadlines. Ensure that you have a schedule management process running for all of your projects.
  • Milestones PM+ Premium Edition
    • Use the Printable Gantt feature to keep key stakeholders and upper management aware of how the onboarding is going.
  • Templates
    • Use templates to automatically create new projects with all of the necessary Milestones and Tasks.
      • You may consider using different templates for each different type of:
        • Opportunity
        • Product Purchased
        • Service Purchased
    • Learn how to create templates from our Template Training Guide.