Customizing Salesforce.com for project management allows you to extend your system to manage how you deliver your service and create a customer experience. Marketing agencies requiring project management and service-based companies that require activity tracking and accountability can have specific requirements which differ from one company to the next. Here are some customization approaches we have used in our Salesforce.com consulting which can be a framework for customizing your own system:
- Customize Subject field values. Projects are based on tasks. Use Salesforce.com tasks and keep these tasks associated with the data object you specify as the project record. The subject field values should be the common tasks related to your projects for easy selection by users as well as easy reporting for measuring effort and progress.
- Create project stages. Use picklist values which reflect various stages. If you use the Opportunity record, it can be additional values added to the Stages field. There should be reporting to capture a macro view of the project stages that your team is working.
- Set milestone dates. Milestones can be handled by a custom date field or several if there are multiple milestones in your process. You can also use Events as part of future Activities and assign these to users. The way you set this up depends on your overall process and how people will be held accountable.
- Integrate document management. There are various cloud-based document management solutions we integrate depending on the organization and service delivery process. Your users should be able to move quickly, find information and upload easily. Relevant documents need to be consolidated in the project data object.
- Relate job cost records. Job costs which are typically part of a project need to be related and customized with roll-up data to account for budgets in a project. Ensure the overall profitability of a project can be viewed easily.
Every company is different. How you deliver your service or product entails steps peculiar to processes developed over time. Customizing Salesforce.com needs to take into account how your culture works as well as be forward thinking about productivity and collaboration. If your Salesforce.com customization is cumbersome, you will find a challenge in adoption. Design your project management process with simplicity and elegance and it will become a strategic asset to your business.
What is your project management process like?