Tractor Pulling is like Salesforce Tech Debt
What is Tractor Pull?
Tractor Pulling is known as “the world’s heaviest motorsport.” Tractor pulling is a competitive motorsport in which modified farm tractors, modified tractors or trucks drag a metal sled along a prescribed course. The sled contains a box filled with weight that is mechanically winched forward as the sled progresses along the course. Pulling this ever-increasing load eventually causes the vehicle to lose forward momentum and torque, although a rare few might indeed reach the end of the course, known as a “full pull.” The furthest distance from start to finish is the winner. If you are intrigued here is the website for National Tractor Pullers Association
How does this relate to Salesforce
Think of this ever-increasing load as technical debt, eventually slowing the speed to value. Or worse blowing up the org like in this video.
Managing technical debt
Wikipedia: a concept in software development that reflects the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy (limited) solution now instead of using a better approach that would take longer. As with monetary debt, if technical debt is not repaid, it can accumulate ‘interest’, making it harder to implement changes.”
You cannot eliminate technical debt. But you can understand where it is in the org, where it has the greatest impact, and where it is going to slow down changes.
So the widely held view is that technical debt – tech debt – is bad and development teams should strive to eliminate it. And the definition is that tech debt is due to poor decisions. But I, as always, like to suggest a slight contrarian view.
Tech debt is an inevitability of systems that are agile and change to support business needs that are constantly evolving. COVID has forced every organization to accelerate its digital transformation plans and support remote workers. That has had a profound impact on the systems that support the business, and the pace of those changes often means that there is tech debt. At the same time, Salesforce is investing heavily in the platform so customer functionality that was developed in-house may now be a core platform feature.
So how should we evaluate tech debt?
Tech debt is called “debt” because it needs to be repaid. So if we look at debt and the different levels of interest rates we pay on it we can see how it changes our behavior.
High impact – Credit card: 29% ARR
- Impact on current change projects
- Increase in development times
- Delay whilst a project refactors the debt
- Affects Salesforce performance
- Surprises/conflict cause release rollbacks
Medium impact – Car loan: 5% ARR
- Future projects scheduled
- Increase in development times
Low impact – Borrowing from family: 0.0% ARR
- Limited or no changes project
- No impact
How to reduce tech debt
Firstly, you need to understand the org configuration to be able to categorize the tech debt. But understanding your org is fundamental to reducing the risk of any project.
You need a complete picture of the org metadata and analysis. A partial view of the metadata is not good enough to make solid decisions; an out-of-date spreadsheet dump of the org metadata, a list of some metadata dependencies, or a list of the fields with no data. This SalesforceBen article listed the 8 situations where you should delete a field just because it has no data.
Spoiler alert: Using a bunch of free apps just makes it too difficult to get a clear and complete enough picture to make good decisions. The key is having all the information consolidated in one place, kept up to date, automatically. Life is too short and your org is changing too quickly. If you don’t believe us book a free Proof of Concept. Just 2 mins to set it up in your org, sit back and we’ll do the rest. You will be blown away by the insights you get when all the information is in one place.
Armed with an understanding of the project scope and the org complexity in the area the project touches, you can evaluate the level of tech debt and the strategy for reducing it.
Tech Debt Strategy
Below is the suggested approach taking into account the type of debt and the level of impact