Outsourcing Your Magento Development?

Let me just start with an overarching statement, “Are there skilled Magento developers overseas?”Absolutely. “Is it hard to find them?” Absolutely.

Outsourcing Magento Development

Clearly, outsourcing has its obvious up-front financial advantages which is generally why many companies are not looking around locally. But what are you really saving? If timelines get pushed back, work is sloppy, requirements not built to specification — or if you are spending hours and hours trying to keep the project from derailing, then maybe not a lot.

Here is a quick checklist before you decide to outsource:

  1. Are you a great communicator? Chances are you will have to be extremely detailed and articulate in building your requirements whether that be for groups in India, Ukraine, Russia, China, or the Philippines.
  2. Do you have time to be the project manager? Don’t expect to hand the project off and it magically come together after a couple weeks. Be prepared to be on  Skype at odd hours and to keep checking in constantly. Get regular updates regardless of how small they may seem.
  3. You only hear: “Yes, we can do that”, no matter the question. Well, that’s a red flag. It means they are not properly vetting out each item. They are hungry for the work and there is nothing wrong with that, but many requests cannot garner a clear “yes”.
  4. Does it just seem too cheap, do the timelines seem just too short? If it seems to good be true, it most likely is and that could speak to a half a dozen things.
  5. Do they employ proper coding standards? Things are getting better. Much better than five years ago, but there are still ways to code properly and ways to short-cut. Now, there are plenty of state-side developers who are sloppy, but your chances of meeting clumsy code are much higher overseas due to various educational gaps.
  6. What will you/they do when things break? So now that you have had the entire site or module or extension built/coded/developed, what happens when there are bugs, upgrades, fixes? Will this overseas group be around for that?

Do we at SCHAWEL+COLES have an agenda here? 100% yes.

This blog post is for the small business owner to fully understand the gravity of an overseas project. Before coming together to form SCHAWEL+COLES, we worked in other web companies. Collectively, we have all outsourced about a half dozen projects over the past 10 years. Only one met and exceeded our expectations.

Now, before you start sending us your rants, we are not saying “never outsource”, we are simply offering some professional advice.

Ideal Magento Projects to Outsource

The title of the post is “Development” for a reason. We don’t recommend outsourcing any marketing, copy writing, or design work.

  • Data entry. If you have a need to have a gi-normous excel or .csv file populated, exported or sanitized in someway, outsourcing is a pretty smart way to go.
  • Standard template skinning. Generally, this is a safe bet unless there is some custom user interaction and intuitive tiggers that need coding.
  • A custom Magento extension. Many Magento extensions are already built overseas so clearly this is also a better bet. There may be a time you need that one hook into some unique ERP that needs to be developed within a tight budget. Take a look overseas.

Have a different opinion? Please join the discussion below.