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Center of Excellence: LEADERSHIP

Over the coming weeks, we are going to explore each of the 13 pillars of a Center of Excellence (COE). In this article, we are going to look at the 2nd pillar: Leadership. In each article for each pillar, we will set out the scope, look at what success looks like and explore the tools and techniques you need to master.

Center of Excellence – 13 pillars

Whilst every organization is different, there are some common aspects. No matter what project, these need to be established. These are activities, not roles. The smaller the project, the lighter the touch. As background for this article, here are the 13 pillars of a COE

  • Vision: strategic vision and direction for Salesforce for both the business and IT. (article)
  • Leadership: Steering Committee and key sponsors in business and IT
  • Governance: overall control of strategic direction, business cases, investment and risk management
  • Change control: management of changes to all aspects of the project
  • Methodology: the implementation methodology covering people, process and technology which includes business analysis, DevOps and adoption.
  • Standards: includes standards for business analysis, org documentation, metadata naming, coding, testing, communication, change management and training
  • Metadata management: control of the Salesforce metadata across the deployment pipeline
  • Architecture: technical and data architecture of Salesforce and how it relates to the integrated systems
  • Security: like architecture, security needs to be designed in, not bolted on as an afterthought.
  • Change management: communications, organizational change and training to get Salesforce adopted
  • PMO: the Project Management Office that manages the COE activities
  • Tooling: platforms/apps/ tools used to support the project
  • Innovation: innovation hub that builds out Salesforce prototypes to show the “art of the possible”

What is Leadership?

Leadership is a generic term. It is the Program or Project Steering Committee. They are the critical oversight for the program

  • They define and sign off the vision, scope, and roadmap documents. 
  • They meet at least quarterly or monthly to review project progress.
  • They (or a subset) are the change control board that approves changes to the scope. They sign off the roadmap phases at a strategic level.
  • They resolve program issues such as resourcing or prioritization of functionality for the roadmap. For example, they mediate between warring business units
  • They support the project manager(s) on key decisions.

What comes first: Vision or Leadership?

The 13 pillars are not necessarily in chronological order.  The pillars are a set of capabilities that need to be in place.

But it would seem obvious: Leadership. The leadership then develops the vision. But in many Salesforce implementations, the vision is fairly limited. The initial implementations are often tactical and the leadership was really only the Product Manager. But for more complex, strategic implementations it will be a Program Steering Committee. This will have senior-level representation from each of the business units, the IT department, and finance. It could also include the SI Project Manager and even the Salesforce Account Manager. 

As the vision for Salesforce expands to include other areas of the business – Customr360 – the leadership team needs to expand. 

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