Magento is an ecommerce platform that provides retailers with robust tools capable of supporting a wide range of industries and delivering seamless omnichannel experiences. Whether you’re re-platforming to Magento or migrating to the latest version, the prospect of a new and improved website can be exciting.
However, simply choosing Magento doesn’t guarantee success. You must also choose the right Magento developers to help your business succeed. Developing for a platform like Magento demands a high degree of technical proficiency. And although many web development agencies may claim that they’re experts in working with the platform, very few can back their claims with evidence.
When business owners are involved in a web development project, they tend to get so invested that they’re oblivious to signs of failure until it’s too late. Identifying these signs in time and seeking help from a Magento project rescue team can help them save their projects and save valuable time and money.
You don’t know what’s going on
Perhaps the most obvious sign of a failing project is when you’re unaware of its progress. Communication is the most crucial aspect of every web development project. No matter the developer or agency you work with, transparent and timely communication is critical to ensure that you’re always in the loop and are aware of any new developments.
While it’s possible that your agency might need an extra day or two to respond to an email or give you a call back with an update, going dark without any updates for days or weeks on end is a significant warning sign.
One of the most prominent traits of a reliable Magento development company is timely communication. Ideally, your agency must provide you with a complete roadmap for a project before it begins and communicate with you as it progresses.
If you find communication faltering and that you’re no longer aware of your project status, you should reach out to your project manager and request them to provide you with timely updates regardless of any delays or roadblocks in the project.
However, if you find that after multiple requests for an update you’re still clueless about your project, it might be time to jump ship and find a new agency to rescue your Magento project.
They’re editing Magento’s core code
Magento is a platform that was built for customization. Throughout the development process, extensibility has always been a priority for its developers. They’ve always prioritized good development practices and have designed Magento in a way that it can be fully customized without editing its core code.
All core functionality inside Magento is packaged into discrete modules to allow developers to extend its functionality without editing its codebase. And it’s no different for integrations. Magento 2 has powerful in-built API functionality. This means, if your developer needs to integrate any third-party application into your store, there’s no reason they should touch the Magento codebase.
Magento supports popular API technologies such as File Exchange, SOAP, REST, and GraphQL. This means that no matter if it’s an ERP system or a POS system, your developers have everything they need to integrate your website with virtually any third-party application without meddling with its architecture.
By editing Magento’s core code, they risk rendering your store incompatible with future upgrades and guarantee that you’ll end up with a broken website down the road. In no circumstance should they justify editing the Magento codebase.
And if they do, you should consider it a clear testament to their inexperience with the platform and a distinct sign that your Magento project needs a rescue.
The deadlines keep shifting
One of the most common reasons for failed Magento projects is developers and agencies not delivering on their commitments and failing to meet goals and deadlines. Sometimes, agencies are in such a rush to sign over a client that they don’t take the time to analyze the client’s needs and the scope of the project well enough.
Some agencies may even lack appropriate processes to analyze projects, often due to inexperience or out of fear of adding additional costs to the project and losing the contract. Although processes add time and, in some cases, expenses to a project in the short term, they decrease costs, conflicts, and the risk of failure in the long term.
The absence of process risks causing problems during the development phase that could have been avoided otherwise. And in situations when problems arise during development, there’s no room to accommodate them in the existing plan leading to further delays and missed deadlines.
Although on some occasions delays may be unavoidable, these should be rare and not significant enough to derail a project entirely. If you find that deadlines are being extended continuously and your project’s finish line keeps shifting repeatedly, your Magento project may need a rescue.
Your website is full of bugs
Experienced developers and agencies know that bugs are part and parcel of the development process. Sometimes they may be related to the platform itself, and at other times, they may be due to an oversight in the code.
Especially when you’re building a complex website with multiple integrations or migrating large amounts of data, bugs are bound to arise during development. No matter the cause, quality control mechanisms must be employed to track down and squash any bugs on the website.
However, suppose you find that your developers can’t address bugs as they arise or find them playing whack-a-mole as they fix one problem while creating a new one elsewhere. That is a warning sign that your agency doesn’t have any quality control mechanisms in place.
In such a situation, it would be wise to reach out to your project manager first. You should request them to assign a developer to cross-check all development work, create a consolidated list of existing bugs, and provide you with regular progress reports on the status of the bugs as they proceed with the development process.
However, if you find that the problems never end despite your best efforts, it might be time to find a new agency to rescue your Magento project.
Your website is down
In some cases, even after the website’s initial development has been completed successfully, things may begin to fall apart once the website is live. Some of the first signs of impending doom are rapidly growing log files and unexplainable 500 internal server errors. While these symptoms of distress are apparent in most cases, your website can go offline without any warnings.
An offline website is catastrophic in every way. Every hour that the website remains offline results in an immediate loss of revenue and can lead to the losses piling up overtime if the problems aren’t identified and rectified promptly.
After all, a developer’s job doesn’t end when the website goes live. Throughout the website’s lifetime, Magento support services are an essential part of every development project. If your developer’s recommendation in such situations is to reboot the server, flush the cache, or ignore the log files, you can be sure that they don’t have a clue as to what’s wrong.
And if they’re unable to troubleshoot their code to diagnose an issue, you can be sure they won’t be able to resolve it.
Where do you go from here?
If any of these situations seem unsettlingly familiar, you might need expert help. However, when you’re dealing with a failing Magento project, the most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t panic and that you must proceed with caution.
While it can be a profoundly stressful situation, you can save yourself from further complications by taking a moment to think before you act. The first step in rescuing a failing project would be to find a new agency with the necessary experience to see your project to fruition.
So how do you judge if the agency you’re currently speaking with has the necessary skills and experience to rescue your website?
The easiest way would be to look at their list of past clients, case studies, and ask for references that you could reach out to for verification. Next would be to look at how they approach your failing project and the solution they propose. An experienced agency won’t commit to or guarantee any results without conducting a thorough audit of your website’s codebase and extensions.
Upon comprehensively analyzing your website, they should identify issues that require immediate attention and only then propose short-term and long-term goals for your project. They should be able to lay out a complete roadmap for your project rescue and detail their approach so that you as a business owner can understand the steps involved and the timeline for each step.
Finally, they should provide you with an exact list of deliverables and a long-term support plan that will focus on taking care of all technical aspects of your Magento website, including server, platform, extension, and theme updates.
Some agencies may even offer additional round-the-clock monitoring or offer packaged services to help your website recover from issues such as data loss, cyber-attacks, and server malfunctions.
In any case, you must identify the signs of a failing Magento project before it’s too late to make sure you’re able to rescue it in time.
Author: Jan Guardian
Jan Guardian is the Chief Business Development Officer at Staylime, a Magento design and development company headquartered in Redwood City, California. He is a Member of the Magento Association and an Adobe Sales Accredited Magento Commerce professional. Jan is passionate about ecommerce and Magento in particular — throughout the years his articles have been featured on Retail Dive, Hacker Noon, Chief Marketer, Mobile Marketer, TMCnet, and many others.
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