By Brad Leslie, Certified Magento Developer at InteractOne
With so many options, how do you know which Magento partner to choose?
While evaluating Magento developers, shop owners must take all of their business requirements into consideration: Why is a Magento developer required? What will the Magento developer be asked to accomplish? Is there a specific timeline that the development must be completed within? What is the fundamental reasoning behind the request?
Some common reasons for a shop owner to seek out a Magento developer are when they want to migrate to Magento, if they’d like an on-going support plan, need custom development or integration with third party systems. Magento has multiple tiers of ‘Magento Solution Partners’, which are web development agencies who have a specialty in Magento development. The tiers are most closely related to the size of the agency, but the partner portal also breaks down the partner list by specialization, which is helpful for shop owners with a specific need.
Agencies who are not listed as Magento Solution Partners may have experience with Magento development, but becoming a solution partner displays a dedication to the platform and requires the agency to have multiple Magento Certified Developers on staff. Magento offers several certifications for developers and solution providers, which cover all areas of development and admin processes: front end, back end and solutions. These certifications serve as the credential of choice for many agencies and developers who are focused on Magento development.
Once a potential Magento development agency has been chosen, the shop owner should open up a conversation about their specific needs and how the agency’s developers will be accomplishing the requested tasks. Most agencies offer case studies and / or a portfolio of previous work, but it may be worthwhile to ask about the development team’s credentials and processes so there aren’t any surprises once development is underway. Some agencies employ developers in various parts of the world, which can delay communications if improperly managed.
After vetting the Magento-related qualifications of the agency, it may be helpful to consider the following:
- Location: Is meeting with the project managers and developers face-to-face important or are weekly phone calls sufficient?
- Quality: Does the agency implement high quality development processes like version control, code reviews, deployments and documentation?
- Additional offerings: Does the agency offer any other desired services like internet marketing, design, SEO, etc?
- Personalities: Are the contacts within the agency easy to work with and communicate with? Will the relationships be enjoyable throughout the development process?
In addition to the agency itself, the proposed solution should be evaluated to ensure that the budget and timeline requirements are being met. Depending on the technical knowledge of the shop owner, the quality of the proposed solution should also be taken into consideration. While shop owners should have confidence in the solution partners, nobody is perfect and it’s better to question a solution before it’s been developed than during development or after.
These questions may include: how will the proposed solution scale with the growth of the shop? If the solution needs to be expanded upon in a few months, will that be possible? Are there any performance implications associated with the proposed solution? If so, how can those be offset? What changes to the requirements can expedite the development process?
Non-technical shop owners may not always know the best questions to ask, but a good rule of thumb is to provide as much information as possible to the agency. The best agency – client relationships are when the agency has a complete understanding of the client’s code base, existing issues and road-map for the future.
As one of Magento’s oldest partners, we know Magento. We can build from the ground up or finish what you’ve started. We have on-shore support, so no more call center hassles. We’ve worked on many specialized and complicated projects, with that comes great experience. Our proven strengths in Magento development, on-shore support and maintenance, as well as abandoned Magento sites will get your online business running full speed ahead.