Make Your Salesforce Project Better With Beer

Rarely do our at-home interests and jobs intersect, but when we take a harder look at the things we enjoy doing in our spare time and the things we’re passionate about at work, sometimes we’re lucky enough to find they overlap. Not only that, but they can inspire us to look at our jobs in an entirely new way.

This brings us to home brewing. After receiving a beginner’s home brewing kit as a gift four years ago, I went from being a casual enthusiast to being immersed in the nuances of its creative process. The more I learned about the transformations that take place while making beer, the more I realized that home brewing and delivering  Salesforce projects actually have a lot in common.

The Basics of Project Management and Beer

“I’ll have a beer” is like saying “I’ll buy a car”; we know there’s just not enough information here. Even if you don’t like the taste of beer, just by looking at a lager or a stout the difference is very apparent; the ingredients needed to make them are obviously different as well.  It’s the same way with a Salesforce implementation, there is no generic “salesforce project”, the components need to be tailored to that organization to achieve the proper transformation.

Making beer requires four main components: malt, hops, yeast, and water. We can compare these to the four components that make up a Salesforce project: The Salesforce technology being used, an organization’s project requirements, the style of project management, and the people that are working on and using the project.

The Ingredients

By taking a closer look at how these ingredients influence things, we can see their importance in achieving the end results.

Beer is made by combining:

  1. Malt
  • This shapes the entire beer, providing the sugar and base flavors. Are you going for a Wheat Beer, a Vienna Style Lager, a Porter? They all require different malts.
  1. Hops
  • Hops affect the overall taste and style. Hops help counter any sweetness but will also add to the overall flavor and aroma.
  1. Yeast
  • Yeast transforms the raw sugars produced into alcohol and carbon dioxide (which is the fizz you see in beer). Most yeast fades into the background, but some brewers put those flavors front and center, depending on the desired results.
  1. Water
  • 6 liters of water are used to make 1 liter of beer, making it an overlooked, but vital ingredient. The subtle differences in water chemistry can also create completely different results, even if the other ingredients remain the same.

A Salesforce Project is Made by Combining:

  1. Salesforce
  • This is the technology platform that we build the project on, this shapes the Which core Clouds are being used? Will you be adding AppExchange Apps or building custom code?
  1. Requirements
  • The strategic defining of the project goals and how they will be achieved. What does the organization need from its system? How will users interact with it? What is needed in order to achieve the desired results?
  1. Project Management
  • The process of taking the project from start to finish. Different styles will all affect the project in different ways, be they a Waterfall, Agile, or Hybrid approach.
  1. People
  • Just like water, this is an often-overlooked ingredient with a lot of influence. Different roles and personalities, how people work together, dynamics within teams, past experience with projects; subtle differences in all of these things make every project

Putting it Together

Just as we can draw parallels between what goes into beer and what goes into a Salesforce project, we can draw parallels in the processes used to create them.

  • In the first stage, you are starting the conversion or transformation.
  • In the second, you are adding more structure; historically beer was boiled to sterilize the beer, and similarly, the design adds a safe approach for a project to proceed.
  • The third stage is where creation begins, be it with yeast or project management.
  • In the final stage, you settle, age, and test the product.

This brings us to the last parallel: taste. If you’re out with your friends for a drink, it’s probable that not everyone will order the same thing. Similarly, with a Salesforce project, everyone will have different ideas, opinions, and preferences. Knowing your ingredients, processes, and considering your project stakeholders’ preferences as a whole, will result in a successful transformation.