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Get to Know the Salesforce Release Process

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe when Salesforce releases new features and enhancements.
  • Find the latest information about a release.
  • Identify resources to help transition from Classic to Lightning Experience.

Catch the Release: It’s as Simple as 1-2-3

At Salesforce, we’re proud to deliver hundreds of innovative features to you three times a year during our seasonal releases: Spring, Summer, and Winter. With our multitenant, metadata-driven platform, we provide customers with seamless, automatic upgrades each release, delivered in real time, with no downtime. It’s all in the cloud, so there’s no worrying about updating hardware or software. Yes, you read that right: upgrades are automatic! That means all customers run the same version of Salesforce, complete with all the latest features. 

Now, you might be thinking, ”Innovation three times a year—how can I possibly keep up?” Rest assured, that’s why we made this badge. We want to give you some easy tips to help you “learn to fish” for the right resources at the right time, so that you can be sure to catch the release while it’s still fresh.

This module explains how Salesforce release cycles work. Then, it walks you through the resources available to help you learn about the best features to use. Finally, we offer strategies to help you prepare for each release. Once you’ve got the process down, you can “rinse and repeat” to apply your release ninja skills for every release. 

Save the Dates!

Let’s begin with release cycles and dates. Each Salesforce release unfolds in a predictable cycle, starting about 3 months before it goes live in production. Upgrades happen automatically on specific dates that are published up to a year in advance on the Salesforce Trust website. 

The first set of upgrades happens on sandbox instances 4-6 weeks before a release goes into production. To be ready for future releases, review the maintenance schedule. Then find both the sandbox release dates and production release dates for your instance for the next two or three releases. Mark your calendar with these dates and plan backward from them. 

TIP: Timing is everything! To help catch the key dates for each release, download the Release Milestones Infographic (sign-in required) that’s posted in the Release Readiness Community at the start of each release cycle.

Haven’t found the release dates yet or unsure how to find them? Watch this video to learn more about finding release dates.

Join the Community

Do you want to delight your inner Salesforce geek and find out what’s in store for this release? Join the Release Readiness Trailblazers Community to get the latest and greatest information about the upcoming release. The Trailblazer Community is a place where like-minded people come together to help each other with tips, tricks, and answers. Ask questions and connect with community experts to discuss new features. Visit the Trailblazer Community at least once a week to stay informed during each release cycle.

New Releases and Your Transition to Lightning Experience

We can’t talk about new releases without talking about Lightning Experience, which is where all the innovation happens. If you are already using Lightning Experience, you are all set to make full use of new Lightning Experience-only features. 

If you’re still in transition, every release brings you one step closer to a huge boost in productivity for your users. You won’t find any new features in Salesforce Classic; it’s pretty much set in stone. Regardless of where you are in the transition from Classic to Lightning, it’s important to follow new releases. Keep a list of new Lightning Experience features you can incorporate in your rollout plan. Watch for end-of-life announcements for older Salesforce Classic features in case they impact your organization.

Here’s an example end-of-life announcement in Release Notes.

Salesforce Release Notes article titled “Customizable Forecasting Is Being Retired.” The article states briefly that the feature is being retired as of Summer 2020, identifies where the change will occur, recommends alternative functionality, and links to resources.

Ready to get moving at lightning speed but not sure where to begin? Here are a few resources to help you jumpstart your transition.

  • Visit the Journey to Lightning Experience Learning Map to get the resources you need for each stage of your transition.
  • Check out the Lightning Experience Roadmap to see what’s coming (and what’s already delivered, which might surprise you!).
  • Join the Lightning Now Community to ask questions, get guidance, and connect with other customers and experts.
  • Use the Transition Assistant located in Setup (1) to guide you through the process, starting with the Discover Phase (2).

The Get Started Lightning Experience Transition Assistant page located in Setup that displays three paths under Find the Path: Discover, Roll Out, and Optimize. Each phase tile describes the phase and links to specific steps to follow in that phase.

Resources