I like Fridays... especially this one as it's New Years Day! Fridays are the perfect day to wrap up projects, close out the week, and start your weekend which for me usually means baby duty and marathon training #MoreWorkThanWork. Its also a good time to kick off a Sandbox refresh since they sometimes take a while to complete (especially the Full Sandboxes). Today is also the last day to get your Sandbox on the Spring 16 Sandbox Preview (https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2015/12/salesforce-spring-16-sandbox-preview-instructions.html). Don't wait!
Image courtesy of Salesforce
Here are a few things that I check before I refresh my Sandbox and a few things I always do after its finished.
Check if there are any changes going on - Setup Audit Trail and Login History
About a month ago I got an email from a colleague that made my heart sink to the bottom of my stomach. I had refreshed my personal Sandbox I use for just messing around and had erased some development work he was doing. I gave him access to my Sandbox just to play around and do some testing... and then promptly forgot I had done that. Fast forward a month and there goes his work.
I always try and check the Setup Audit Trail and Login History before I refresh a Sandbox which would let me know what's actually going on recently in the org. If there are changes that aren't expected or haven't be migrated to another Sandbox or production then that's your red flag.
Refresh on a Schedule
Salesforce does three releases a year and companies should identify some Sandboxes to be refreshed along with this schedule. There are several different thoughts on development cycles and Sandbox refreshes to match those cycles. Outside of the whatever development cycle you use some Sandboxes should be matched to the release lifecycle with Salesforce releases.
Enable Sandbox only users
Many times, some users, such as developers, contractors, or even admins technically only need Sandbox access. Instead of paying for a production license you can maintain a list of users that only need Sandbox access and put in place a policy to load those users immediately after the Sandbox refresh.
More details from Salesforce on Sandbox Best Practices: https://help.salesforce.com/servlet/servlet.FileDownload?file=015300000036AisAAE
By default, after a sandbox refresh the Email Deliverability is set to "System Email Only". This limits two things:
1) Ability for email to be sent from the Sandbox with exception of system emails like error messages.
2) Disables the visibility of the Send Email Global Action
In testing, email deliverability is integral in most processes and testing the delivery of said email is important. Add this setting to your post-refresh process and you won't have to worry about it!