Salesforce Development Manager Interview Questions and Answers
Manage the Salesforce Way
Developers are the heart of every successful IT project. Salesforce projects are no different. For projects to be successful, it is essential that the delivery team i.e. developers, team leads, and architects are focused on design, code, and project delivery. Anything that impedes the progress of the delivery team needs to be addressed on priority. This is where the role of a Development Manager is crucial in large IT projects.
Who is a Development Manager?
A development manager is an essential role in many large businesses. They serve as the liaison between the customer, upper management, and the development team. They work as project managers scheduling and delegating tasks to successfully complete the company's initiatives. A development manager will work with other department heads to establish project milestones and work to complete projects effectively and within the budget.
Before delving into common interview questions, lets us first understand the skills required to be an effective Development Manager, especially in the context of Salesforce.
A great Development Manager should have worked as a Developer or a Team lead before making the switch to the Management side. This is essential as it makes him/her more sensitive to blocking delivery issues, understanding their impact on the delivery, and possibly prioritising a workaround. A developer on the Salesforce platform would also understand the unique restrictions of the Salesforce platform (multi-tenancy, license restrictions, etc.) which can help him/her foresee the scalability issues a large project may pose.
The other part of the job relates to Soft Skills. Soft skills are non-technical skills that relate to how you work. They include how you interact with colleagues, how you solve problems, and how you manage your work. A Development manager has to interact on a daily basis with customers and upper management and therefore great soft skills are an absolute must. A large part of the job is to explain technical solutions to non-technical users and convert the requirements of business into priorities for the development team.
Common Interview Questions
With the skillsets clarified, let's now delve into the common interview questions in a typical development manager interview. This blog is meant to be a reference guide and does not attempt to cover each and every possible interview question. In addition, every organisation, project, and the team is different, and therefore some interviews may be more focused on the technical side and others more on the soft skills side.
In short, just as in life, be prepared for a curveball in the interview.
We start with a round of soft Project Management interview questions. These questions are typically designed to test if you will fit in the team’s culture, how do you handle tricky delivery scenarios, interactions with customers, etc.
Project Management Questions
- What was the most challenging project you have managed so far? What was the major challenge and what steps you took to mitigate the risk to project delivery?
Here, the interview panel wants to know how you respond to critical challenges and deal with conflicting situations in a project. It would be best if you did not refer to examples where you had to manage tough team members or lack of support from management. As a project manager, you should be smart enough to handle such occurrences. Instead, focus on external factors like a situation where the project was unexpectedly called off, or funding was reduced in the middle of an extensive project. Also, you should explain how you tackled the challenges and managed the team during tough situations.
- What is your strategy to deal with difficult team members or if the team is not working well together?
This is more of a cultural fit question. The panel is trying to understand your mediation and motivational skills and how you handle tricky situations. A previous real-life work scenario would greatly help in this scenario. Clearly articulate how you would work with team members and build a team bond.
- Explain the concept of RAID in project management?
RAID is a critical tool in a project manager’s armory. It stands for Risk, Actions, Issues, and Decisions. Please refer to this article to understand more.
- How do you handle an unhappy customer or an unhappy stakeholder?
Project managers are often the first port of call for an unhappy customer or stakeholder. Handling customers/stakeholder is the most important part of this job. With your answer, you should be able to reveal your techniques for listening to the customer and getting to the root cause of their unhappiness. This should then translate to an action plan to be followed by the team with constant feedback to the customer about progress. A happy customer/stakeholder is in everyone’s interest and it is part of your job to keep the customer happy.
- What strategy do you follow when hiring members for your team?
This question aims to probe your thinking process for building a team. A team's values are often a reflection of its leader so the interview panel is looking for ideas that matter most to you. Focus more on values, qualities that you look for people when hiring. Be prepared to defend your choice if you hire for skill or cultural fit.
- What’s your leadership style?
Is it more laidback and you only jump in when the team needs you or is it more assertive where you are involved in every decision or a hybrid approach.
- What tools (software etc) do you use or prefer to manage projects?
No Enterprise level project can be managed without a proper planning tool. Whether you use JIRA, ClickUp, Asana or even Salesforce to manage projects be prepared to defend your choice. It will be helpful if you can pinpoint exact features that help manage projects better.
Salesforce Platform Specific Questions
- What is Salesforce?
This is an open-ended question designed to get your understanding of the platform. Please understand your audience before answering the question. Be as technical as possible if the interview panel is technical but if the interview panel consists mostly of project managers try to explain the technical concepts with simple easy examples.
Please refer to the link here for a refresher.
- What is Multi-tenancy and Governor limits?
Focus your answer on why Governor limits are required and how exactly is Salesforce architectured (hint: Multi-tenancy). If possible, give examples of best practices regarding managing limits and explain different types of Governor limits. A handy reference is available here.
- If a customer is looking to extend the platform to achieve a specific business function, what tools are available?
This question aims to probe your knowledge regarding different customisation/automation tools available to extend the platform. List down all possible options (i.e. Apex, Flows, Process Builder, workflow) and discuss the pros and cons of the approach. Focus on Salesforce recommendation of low code approach and lists its benefits. A handy reference highlighting the approach is available here.
- Discuss Salesforce Sharing/Security Model or what features does Salesforce provide for controlling access to data.
Your answer should cover the design of the Salesforce sharing model with a special focus on the principle of least privilege. Explain how Organisation wide defaults, profiles, Role hierarchy, Permission Sets, Sharing rules work together to control access to Salesforce data. This is a vast topic but it is essential to have sound fundamentals in this area. If you struggle with the sharing/security model, please go through this handy guide provided by Salesforce.
- What Salesforce certifications do you currently hold?
While technically not required, a good development manager, especially the ones who lead technical teams, should have at least the Administrator certification. Holding a certification gives immediate credence to your skillset and also shows a willingness to learn the platform. Do not fret if you do not have the certification at the time of your interview. Holding certification will give you an edge but if your fundamentals are clear, you should still ace the interview.
As mentioned earlier, these are not a list of exhaustive interview questions rather a guide to what to expect and what to focus on. Saleforce Trailhead is a treasure trove when it comes to learning about the Salesforce platform.