The Big Magento Migration

A note for future Magento clients and prospects: review this primer to be prepared for the big move.

Moving to Magento?

Now that your company has made the decision to migrate or start a new Magento store, we’ve compiled a must-have checklist for your new venture. This short guide is aimed at keeping the project moving, helping to meet your expectations and keeping communication healthy along the way. With any sort of migration, you need a plan and you need people. If your developer is not telling you this, then you need to find another more competent Magento agency to help you. It takes teamwork and a lot of cooperation on both sides. This is no small task.

1. Get Involved Right Now

Real use case: We once had a client who assigned his marketing person to the entire project. That’s fine if that person can sign-off on everything and will be held accountable for all quality assurance and major decisions throughout the project. This can work but this particular client was an edge-case. The decision maker didn’t become totally involved until eight months into the project and even then, he had a very different view of what should be done, basically usurping the marketing person’s early foundation and started adding items that were clearly out of scope.

This pattern of involvement is obviously not the best approach. Whoever owns the project on the client side should be involved on Day One. To be clear, Day One of a project like this is the day the contract is under review (before signing) so any addendums or base additions can be made. This is also a healthy, proactive way to start the education portion of the project.

2. Be Ready to Explain Your Data

This may sound complicated but if you already run an eCommerce site this will not be difficult or in any way surprising. Encouraging you (the client) to explain the data is a lot more economical in both time and money. Now, given, there is always a question and answer session to determine what each piece of data means to the store, but you should also have someone assigned to this task who focuses on this explication. The end result is a beautifully mapped legend of products that everyone on both sides can understand and propels the project into action.

Example: You assign someone to export your entire product database. A .csv, .xml, or .txt file. Great, one step done. Now that person should also be able to document what each column indicates and if there are any dependencies. Yes, it’s a tedious step, but a necessary step at that.

3. Who is Your Go-To Person?

During the entire life of the project you absolutely need to assign someone tasks like note-taking, feedback and internal project management. Some weeks are very light, some are not. Generally a schedule should be created but things happen and the project manager needs to be flexible. Projects thrive on great communication. It is no secret that communication is the trump card in most projects around the world, regardless of the industry. Your go-to guy or gal needs the power to make decisions but shouldn’t keep you in the dark on any key points of the project.

4. Quality Assurance

All clients need to be prepared to shoulder quality assurance (QA) –a lot of it. This is your business. This is how you make money. We are good but we are not perfect. We need to hear your point of view. Having your team perform thorough QA is a major component of expectation management and getting things right. Test or review each step: design, development, extension additions with your own workflow. Successful businesses will tell you how important this step is.

Magento is a flexible, scalable proven platform and it might be just the thing to help raise your business to new heights. As effective as your development company might be (and we think we’re pretty darn good), a migration needs you. So get involved, buddy up with your data, grab your right-hand man/woman and check the work at every step. When it comes time to turn on your Magento store, you won’t be unduly stressed or frantic, you’ll just smile knowing the restraints of your old platform are gone. Now you can concentrate on all those other great ideas to grow sales, roll out new products and make your mark in the eCommerce world.