If you're not a tech person or a Magento developer, it can be pretty hard to pick the right professional or a company for your project. In this post we'll review some of the basic and important aspects of Magento development, which can help you identify the right candidates for your job.
Given the Magento's complexity and intricacy - it's important to be able to find someone, who can manage your project in the long term. It's a lot better than trying to just 'patch the holes' in your website's backend. This article is geared towards store owners, business managers, marketers or anyone, who may be given the task of finding a professional Magento development team.
These parameters are in no particular order. Cumulative responses to the questions below can help you choose the right development team for your Magento project. With certain iterations, most of these questions also work for separate Magento freelance developers that you'd want to interview. These tips also apply to a lot of other tech/coding/CMS projects. You can scroll down to the bottom for a TL;DR version of this article.
Quality of the final product/ code is a very important indicator of a professional development company. Learn more about their quality assurance process to gain an understanding for their professionalism and potential. Some of the questions you could ask the candidates:
Do you have a dedicated team of testers or personnel specifically responsible for testing the product?
Do you use any automatic code testing tools or perform testing manually?
Lots of development companies choose to outsource their work to foreign companies in search of better profit margins. This is not necessarily a bad thing. But in certain circumstances an in-house team is a lot better. It offers better communication, when the info is not passed along through a number of parties. It offers direct contact with a particular developer working on your project. Plus it may serve as a circumstantial evidence of the company's professionalism - an in-house team is a usual trait of professional firms. You can find this info on their website or ask the following questions directly:
Will my project be handled by an in-house developer?
Will you outsource my project to anyone else?
There are many professional Magento developers, who are not certified because of various reasons: they might find the investment unnecessary, they might not have the time for the certification, they've been doing great for years without it and don't see the point of the certification. However, it's important to recognize that certification for Magento developers is a way of acknowledging their skills and solidifying their claims of expertise and experience. If you're working on a big project, worth thousands of dollars or more - it's preferable to have a certified developer handle it for you.
Do you employ certified Magento developers?
Will my project be handled by a certified developer?
An experienced Magento developer knows a thing or two about version control and how large Magento projects are handled. The candidates should be able to inform you about their experience with version control tools.
Are you familiar with version control tools, like GIT or other similar systems?
Team Work vs. Freelance
A potential candidate that worked with a team before is a plus. Someone, who only worked as a freelancer (which is not that common) is less likely to be a strong team player.
Do you have experience working with a team on a Magento project?
Have you done large-scale team-based Magento projects before?
Show. Not Tell
Ask the candidates to provide their previous Magento projects. There are numerous approaches to this: you could ask for as many sites as they could offer; or you could simply ask for the project that they think is their best Magento showcase.
Can you show me your best Magento project? Do you have a Magento project that you're particularly proud of?
What are some of your previous Magento projects that showcase your skill?
If you're looking for a long-term Magento partner then you probably should ask them, if they've done similar projects in the past. It's important to understand that your website should be optimized for your specific niche and when that's not done properly - your marketing, sales and other efforts will suffer. Some basic understanding of your niche can make a huge difference in a developer's approach to your project. Plus, this means that they might already have the right set of tools/ extensions to get everything working properly for you.
Can you showcase previous projects in our niche?
What have you learned about our niche from these particular projects?
This one refers to development teams and their approach to projects. A project manager is essential for comprehensive development tasks.
Will we have a project manager that I can communicate with?
It's practically impossible to get a champagne taste on a beer budget. This means that if you're defining your best candidate by the lowest bid - you're going to have a bad time. It's unreasonable to think that you might be able to find someone to work with for your specific budget. Especially, if you haven't consulted an IT professional before setting the price. Your budget may be way off. You have to keep this in mind. It's not "they're asking too much", it's sometimes "I'm offering too little". Keep this in mind. Of course, most of the time - developers will have a more or less similar bid on your project. If you see someone fitting, but feel like their price is way too high you can ask them about it:
How would you justify your price for the project?
What parameters did you use to come up with your bid?
Now, these aren't necessarily the most important parameters for your project. For example, we know clients who like to meet potential candidates, before actually working with them. Not call them or make a Skype conference. People want to meet candidates in person. Other clients prefer developers from the same state or even ZIP code. It's up to you to choose the most important traits of a developer or a development team. Here's the gist of this article in a handy picture for you:
What other tips would you give someone hiring a Magento development professional for the first time? Let us know in the comments below!