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Craft and Execute Your Rollout Strategy

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
  • Create training, marketing, and communication plans for your rollout.
  • Schedule your rollout.

All Systems Go

Planning and executing your Lightning Experience project should involve process, discipline, and yes, a sense of fun! What’s the point of introducing game-changing new features if your users aren’t excited about the rollout?

In this unit, we’ll talk about how to schedule and plan your rollout effectively, but we’ll also share ideas for turning your launch into an awesome event at your company.

Where to Start

Remember our Broadway musical analogy? You’re the Director, and your show just got greenlighted. So now what? Now it’s time to get busy.

Start by listing everything you need to do before you go live, and then estimate the time and resources needed for those activities. Then select a launch date, get your team, and go do all of it. Doesn’t that sound easy?

Doing all of that takes time and coordination. There are a number of methodologies for project management, too many for us to cover here. Each one has different strategies for delivering projects. Pick whichever method you like. Ultimately, the important part isn’t the way you do it; it’s what you do. That’s what we’ll talk about here.

Plan Your Rollout

There are several tasks to consider when rolling out Lightning Experience. Depending on your company, you don’t have to do all of them, but consider them regardless. Check the enablement pack for a sample Lightning Experience rollout checklist.

Your rollout will likely be organized into these main phases. You already learned about the “Discover” steps in the last unit. In this unit, we’ll dive into the “Roll Out” phase.

An example rollout strategy, organized into three buckets.

Let’s dive in.

Decide How to Structure Your Rollout

​There isn’t a single right way to roll out Lightning Experience. There are several variables to consider when deciding on a strategy—like the complexity of your implementation and the size of your Salesforce user base. But in most cases, you’ll take one of these approaches: transition your org gradually in phases or go all-in, switching your entire org at the same time.

​To pick the best strategy for your org, let's look at the benefits and considerations for both approaches.

Phased Rollout

Unless your org is small, it can be advantageous to transition your users to Lightning Experience over the course of several phases. This approach allows you to tackle your business and technical requirements incrementally, and iterate on lessons learned. For each phase, pick teams or groups of users whose business needs are met by the current state of your Lightning Experience implementation. After launching a phase, collect feedback. Then fine-tune things and kick off the next phase.



If you're using Group Edition, this approach isn't an option for you. Lightning Experience is "all or nothing"—all users get access when Lightning Experience is enabled.

Run a pilot to learn about, and refine, your implementation Ensure that users are productive and enthusiastic about adopting Lightning Experience by starting small with a pilot program. Using the first phase to conduct user acceptance testing allows you to gather feedback from pilot users and solidify your implementation before going all-in with the next phase.
Break up the work and avoid technical debt For each phase, focus your configuration and development efforts on just what’s necessary to make the users in that phase productive. Chunking up the work allows you to make continual progress on your implementation and avoid the pitfalls of falling behind on new features and enhancements as they’re released.
Get fine-grained control over which users get access to Lightning Experience Use permission sets for a flexible way to roll out Lightning Experience to a particular team or group of users. Rather than updating your custom profiles, create a permission set that includes the Lightning Experience User permission, then assign the permission set to the users you’ve identified for each phase.
Keep teams together Put people who work closely together in the same phase. You want people who work together seeing the same screens. If people collaborate often, they should have the same user experience, including team leaders.

If you have standard profile users who shouldn’t get access to Lightning Experience in earlier phases, plan to move them to custom profiles that don’t include the Lightning Experience User permission.

Be mindful of gaps If you have teams that are heavily impacted by issues that you identified in your gap analysis, avoid including those teams in a phase until the issues are addressed. Even if the number of gaps is small, if the impact is large, consider carefully if they’ll be productive working in Lightning Experience.
More training and other change management is required You’ll need to invest more time in change management activities. For example, you’ll need to repeat communication and drip campaigns for each phase. And depending on how far apart you launch each phase, you may also need to run user trainings multiple times.

If your user base is split across Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic, you may need to maintain training materials for both interfaces. Though you can avoid this by enabling all new users for Lightning Experience and eliminating their ability to switch to Salesforce Classic.

Org-Wide Rollout

​With this approach, you enable Lightning Experience for all users in your org at the same time. On the surface, this may seem like the easiest, most straightforward way to structure your rollout. If your org configuration is simple and you don’t have many Salesforce users, this method may make the most sense for you. But it also requires that you’re highly confident that everyone gets what they need in the new interface and that everyone is prepared for the transition. And obviously, the need for advanced preparation has implications for how long it will take to get ready to flip the switch.

Simpler training and change management landscape With all your users moving to Lightning Experience at the same time, you can run a single campaign to get everyone on board. And you only need to maintain training materials for one interface.
Simplified feature and program enablement You don’t need to evaluate new features, customization work, integrations, or partner applications for multiple interfaces. All your users get the benefits of new features and technology as they’re released.
Delays time to launch Getting Lightning Experience ready for everyone in your org means you're front-loading all the preparation work, including implementing all required business processes and addressing all technical issues and feature gaps that you identified. In other words, it can be quite time consuming to get ready for this approach.
Less feedback increases the chance of missing something important Waiting to go all-in with everyone means that you don’t get the advantage of early feedback on how things are working. If you inadvertently miss an important use case or customization, everyone is impacted instead of a smaller subset of users. If users don’t get what they need out of the gate, they lose their enthusiasm. Ultimately, adoption rates could suffer.
Watch out for technical debt We’re continually improving and enhancing Lightning Experience. The longer it takes to move your org over, the more features and opportunities for improved productivity you’ll get behind on.

Decide Which Users Get Lightning Experience

If you're taking a phased approach to your rollout, there are things to consider when deciding who moves to Lightning Experience in each phase. And for each phase, you have options to control who is immediately switched to the new interface and who can and can’t switch between Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic. Get all the details from Enable Lightning Experience.

Whether you’re deciding on the project schedule for a phased rollout or an org-wide rollout, picking your launch date is influenced by the users involved and what they’ll get from Lightning Experience when they’re enabled. You may be inclined to hold off on launching to your users until everything is fully implemented. Or maybe you're fretting about grumpy users—you know, users who have a lot going on and no time to learn a new way of working. These are legitimate considerations but they shouldn't be a reason to delay getting started. Saying hello to Lightning Experience doesn't mean saying goodbye to Salesforce Classic! Unless you set it up otherwise, your users can switch themselves between both interfaces as needed. So they can easily pop back to Salesforce Classic if something they need isn't available yet in Lightning Experience.

Unleash the Power of Super Users

Super users are employees who understand the vision and value of your implementation, want to help you optimize and improve what’s in place, and are passionate about helping others adopt Salesforce. Often closely engaged with your employee community, super users know how well systems and processes are being adopted, and which pain points are preventing adoption. Super users are also the first people your employees go to for help, and they can be incredible in helping you answer questions and provide support.

A super user helping an employee on Chatter.

Super users are often natural leaders, well-respected by their peers, and can be your evangelists in the field. And when it comes to rolling out Lightning Experience, they can help make your project a success.

Work with your Executive Sponsor and stakeholders to identify a group of super users. Involve your super users in the rollout by giving them sneak peeks at Lightning Experience and early opportunities to train on the new technology. Seek their feedback on your marketing and communication plans, and consider asking them to train users, with a train-the-trainer approach.

Officially recognize their super user status through a special designation, like a custom icon on their Chatter profile photo, a button, a t-shirt—or all three! Make them moderators or managers of public Chatter groups for Lightning Experience. All of this helps validate their role as leaders in your employee community and empowers them to help others.

A super user, recognized by a custom icon on her Chatter picture.

Create a Chatter Group for the Rollout Team

After you identify your super users, stakeholders, and executive sponsor, you need a place where you can all work together on the rollout. Create a Chatter group and invite in all of your team members involved with the rollout. Using Chatter, you can share files, collaborate in context, and share relevant updates with the whole team.

A Chatter group for the Lightning Experience rollout team.

One of the key files to share in your Chatter group is a project schedule. The project schedule is a living document that you’ll want to keep updated and make accessible to your whole team, so it’s ideal to store it in the cloud in your team’s Chatter group.

Pick a Launch Date

Pick your launch date wisely! Think about aligning your launch to coincide with your company’s sales kickoff meeting or another large company event where you can get organic exposure for your rollout. Avoid holidays and confirm stakeholder availability in advance. If a key stakeholder is on vacation for three weeks leading up to your launch date, consider revisiting your selected date!

Could Be Good Timing Not So Much
Sales kickoff

Company meeting

Low season (if applicable)


End of quarter/fiscal year

When key stakeholders are on vacation

Take this opportunity to review your existing Salesforce roadmap and clear any projects that might compete with your rollout. Work with your executive sponsor to clear any roadblocks, such as competing non-Salesforce projects that require resources you need for your rollout. If your rollout looks complex, you may need to advise your company to put other projects on hold until this project is complete.

Create a Project Schedule

There are apps on the AppExchange or software programs designed to help you manage all the milestones and tasks associated with your project. You may already have a favorite program or app that you like to use. Ultimately, you need a place to track these details:

  • Task name
  • Task owner
  • Task dependencies (does the task depend on any other task or resource?)
  • Task duration
  • Task start date
  • Task end date
  • Task status

You might also want a place to add notes or comments.

Rolling out Lightning Experience could take you anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. The time it takes can depend on several factors, including the complexity of your organization, the size of your user population, your company’s approach to change management, or if you’re a new customer implementing Salesforce.

In any project, you need to be flexible either on the go-live date, the scope, or the resources allocated. Here’s the first part of a sample project schedule with a fixed go-live date and scope, for a company with a straightforward migration path and a small group of users.

Check out the enablement pack for the full sample schedule. In this example, the time to go live is one month from the start date, with a launch date of October 15. There are two weeks of post-launch activities following the launch before the project officially closes, at which point you move into maintaining and iterating on the solution provided.

# Task name Owner Status Dependencies Duration Start End
1.0 Educate yourself
1.1 Complete Trailhead modules John Complete N/A 1 day 9/5 9/6
1.2 Sign up for Developer Edition organization John Complete N/A 1 day 9/5 9/6
1.3 Read the Lightning Experience Guide John Complete N/A 2 days 9/6 9/8
1.4 Review comparison charts John Complete N/A 1 days 9/6 9/7

One of the key items in phase three of the schedule is to identify measures for success. This is how you’ll ultimately know if your project was successful, based on the criteria you define for what success looks like. Let’s talk about that next.

Define Measures for Success

Work with your executive sponsor and stakeholders to determine how you want to measure success. Document current pain points and look for ways to measure improvements in these areas. For example, you could look for productivity gains, data quality gains, or financial goals, such as:

  • 20% reduction in opportunities with no follow-up tasks
  • 15% increase in calls logged
  • 5% increase in lead conversion rate

You could also measure success based on employee or customer sentiment, using a survey app from the AppExchange to collect feedback, or simple Chatter polls to survey employees quickly.

In each instance, conduct a baseline survey or take an analytic snapshot to measure any increase or decrease following your go-live.

We’ll discuss methods for measuring success in the next unit. At this stage, work with your project team to outline the specific measures you want to monitor.

Create a Marketing and Communication Strategy

This is the part of the rollout where you can inject some fun into the project, and where you can go live with greatness. Consider making your go-live into a true event and use simple marketing strategies to build buzz and excitement about the coming launch for weeks in advance.

No matter your budget, you can use your creativity to market your go-live. Don’t forget to ask for help from internal teams, including customer care, training, and support teams. Launch ideas include:

  • Send a weekly email drip campaign highlighting the coming launch and a “feature of the week” (enablement pack).
  • Create a topic in Chatter for all your communication updates to drive momentum and buzz.
  • Have a raffle with prizes, such as gift cards, a free day off, or lunch with an executive.
  • Host a launch party with cupcakes or cake.
  • Order swag and branded items to distribute on the day of your go-live.

Include key communication milestones in your marketing strategy. For example, make sure that the entire company gets an official communication on the day of the launch, as a Chatter post or email from your executive sponsor, VP of Sales, or CEO.

Here’s a sample communication plan:

4 weeks prior Email from executive sponsor
4 weeks prior Chatter group created
3 weeks prior Email drip campaign #1
3 weeks prior Super users identified and announced
2 weeks prior Email drip campaign #2
2 weeks prior Raffle announced
1 week prior Email drip campaign #3
1 week prior Email from company President
1 day prior Email with reminders, instructions, and where to get help
Day of Go-Live Chatter post from company CEO and launch party

Create a Training Plan

As part of your rollout, prepare your users for the changes in their user experience.

First, direct your users to Trailhead! To help get your users up to speed, we’ve put together two learning experiences for them to use.

Depending on how customized your user interface is or how complex your processes are, you may also want to conduct your own end user training. Download the enablement pack for a customizable training deck that you can use.

When you’re developing your training plan, consider these questions:

Training goals What is the specific outcome you want to achieve with this training?
Trainer Who will conduct the training?
Trainees Who needs to be trained?
Training methods What will you use to conduct the training? What materials need to be developed?
Training location Will you train remotely or in-person?
Training metrics How will you determine if the training was successful?

Consider using a train-the-trainer model with your super users to help you extend your reach. Rather than training all of your users personally, you can train your super users and have them conduct user training. This train-the-trainer model also helps reinforce to users that they should go to the super users with any questions post-launch.

Also consider follow-up training sessions or office hours after your launch to help reinforce the right behaviors and keep your users current. If you have a support team, involve them in the training too, so they can be prepared for user questions.

Test Your Customizations and Iterate

For existing customers, if you already have customizations in place, we recommend enabling Lightning Experience in a sandbox and testing their behavior. For unsupported features, like JavaScript buttons, analyze what the underlying function is of each. Here’s a set of questions you can use in your analysis:

  • What does the customized feature do?
  • What objects are affected or accessed?
  • What are the resulting actions of using the customized feature?
  • What is the user experience?
  • Where can your user access the customized feature?

After you have the answers to these questions, you can start to map the customized feature to a possible replacement. For example:

If the customized feature does this: Consider using this instead:
Creates a related record Process Builder
Updates an existing record Actions
Creates related records and updates existing records, with complex logic Process Builder and Flow Builder
Launches a screen for user input Flow Builder
Sends an email or creates a task Process Builder
Launches a time-triggered process Process Builder

As you work through updating these processes, work closely with your super users and users to test the replacement solutions you build. Create test plans and conduct User Acceptance Testing (UAT) to ensure features work as expected. Get a sample test plan document in the enablement pack.

Ready to Start

After you’ve created these plans, work with your project team, stakeholders, executive sponsor, and super users to execute them. And once you’ve checked all the items off your list, it’s time to go live! In the next unit, you’ll enable Lightning Experience and find out how you can boost your success post-launch.