How We Work

The result of our process is a system your organization takes ownership of. The system provides value to your organization where you have decided it matters most. 


Our mission is to empower organizations to own their data with Salesforce-based systems they can confidently maintain. We facilitate projects that are results-driven, collaborative, inclusive, and timely. When an organization “owns” their data, they know why the system works the way it does. They have the confidence and knowledge to use their system in a way that makes the organization’s vision a reality. They know how to manage it. They know how to troubleshoot it. They know how to evolve it as their programs change.

Building ownership starts on day one, by creating a shared understanding of an organization’s objectives and priorities. This shared understanding is built between the Bigger Boat team and your organization. This shared understanding is also built within your organization. Our process pulls a wide range of stakeholders into the same room – from frontline staff working directly with clients to directors focused on reporting to funders. It is often the first time this diverse set of key stakeholders has talked about their operational system objectives. This broad perspective creates a deeper understanding of current business processes and brings to light where systems need to be changed or enhanced. It also creates buy-in from staff on the need for organization-wide systems-change.

We use this shared understanding of objectives and priorities to design a system that maximizes organizational value. There will always be more ideas than the time and money to build them. Our challenge is to build just enough to bring the right amount of value to the organization. We create value by solving for the highest priority challenges that improve an organization’s efficiency and effectiveness. A key part of this process involves making tradeoffs – learning when to say “no” to features and being quick to decide when a feature is bringing enough value (aka “done enough”). Because we are working with and training your team along the way, many future features can be done later by an organization’s in-house admin. This ultimately saves your organization money.

Closely tied to maximizing organizational value is identifying and managing risk. We keep identified risk factors front and center. These can range from technical risk to process risk to people risk. Limiting these risks can involve tackling risky parts of the project early on and finding quick adoption wins.

Another way we help your organization own your data is by fostering your internal capacity to administer and grow the system. This is achieved first and foremost by building the capabilities of your organization’s Salesforce administrator. The Salesforce administrator is just one of the key factors in project cost and success. From the start of each project, we execute a plan to grow the Salesforce expertise of your administrators and power users. By the end of the project, the Salesforce administrator will be able to support and train the rest of your organization’s Salesforce users. The project lead and engaged subject matter experts also gain significant system expertise from their regular participation in our sprint-based implementation process and their key role in testing the system as it’s built.

We focus on diagnosing the problem before we prescribe a solution

To achieve these outcome-focused and ownership goals, we focus on diagnosing the problem(s) before we prescribe a solution. Our project approach follows these scoped phases:

1. Discovery

We start the process of building ownership by coming onsite to your organization. This onsite includes the key stakeholders from within your organization. We come to a mutual understanding of the project vision and keep the team focused on this vision throughout the project. We identify pain points in your current systems and processes. We work with your team to prioritize your needs. This creates shared understanding, both with us and within your organization, on where we can create the most organizational value.

Finally, we begin planning for building staff expertise in Salesforce and planning for user adoption. This all lays the groundwork for your organization to take ownership of the system.

2. Implementation

We translate the prioritized needs identified in the Discovery phase into a system that provides the most value for your key stakeholders. We build the system using an agile approach that allows the project team to quickly adapt to changes or new information. Our approach requires your organization to answer tough questions and make smart decisions about what is most valuable. This approach enables you to have better alignment with organizational goals, produce stronger reporting on key metrics, have a clearer understanding of why the system is built the way it is, and ultimately produces easier-to-use software. Even our pricing model is designed to keep the focus on what has the most value.

During the implementation phase we are constantly coaching and training your Salesforce administrator to build their expertise. Adopting a new organizational database requires work and is an evolutionary process. We prepare your team to evolve the system and to handle user adoption challenges that might arise after the initial implementation.

Learn more about us or contact us to discuss how we can build a solution for your organization.

When I looked at partners I was looking at their hard skills. I didn’t realize how important the PROCESS of implementation would be. Our consultants are great at both focusing on the task at hand, and also at stepping back and look at the bigger picture.

Kristin Dorage, Tenderloin Housing Clinic

At every step, they focused on what was best for our organization. Their agile process kept us informed and actively involved throughout the entire project. This allowed my team to know exactly where we were at with project budget and system functionality. There were no surprises.

Glenn Motola, The Arc San Francisco

Our partnership with Bigger Boat has been the most satisfying experience and surpassed all expectations. We stayed on budget, on time and launched amazingly high-quality, highly customized tools and UI.

Alicia Crawford, BRIDGE Housing

The project team was highly engaged and very experienced with coming up with Salesforce solutions to solve our project needs. The project was not the typical CRM solution, it was complex and unique for a non-profit and Bigger Boat was able master the business requirements and deliver a project that provided us the ability to operationalize our emerging program.

Jennifer Alden Sanchez, The Nature Conservancy

Their sprint model of project management keeps everything moving at a steady pace while not feeling overwhelming. They recommended a simple, easy-to-implement solution while foregoing more expensive managed packages, since we wouldn’t use most features.

Sara Metheny, Building Changes