February 22, 2021 by Ben Chafetz

Where Most Magento 2 Projects Go Wrong – And 5 Signs You Need A Project Rescue

Any development project can go wrong. Complications pop up all the time, and if you’re not prepared to address them during your Magento 2 website development project, you and your development team can get thrown off – and end up suffering from project delays, sub-par results, and high development costs.

But 121eCommerce is here to help. We’ve handled lots of different Magento 2 projects, and we’ve noticed a few things that tend to go wrong, especially for clients who are new to the platform.

Read on to see why most Magento 2 projects go wrong – and to learn the steps you and your development team should take to avoid getting knocked off track. 

1. Not Taking The Time To Learn The Basics About Magento

If you plan on building a Magento 2 website, even with the help of a developer, you still need to make sure you understand the basics of how the platform works. 

You don’t have to learn to code, and you don’t even really need to understand the technical aspects of how Magento 2 functions. But you should still familiarize yourself with the basics – how basic administration works, how to add and remove products, how to change page layouts and make other minor adjustments, and so on.

If you don’t know anything about Magento 2, you’ll end up paying developers to do things you could otherwise handle yourself – and you also may not know exactly what features Magento offers, which could lead to missed sales opportunities.

The best way to fix this issue is to take the time to learn about Magento! There are a lot of great options you and your team can use to get up to speed – here’s a partial list of the resources we recommend! 

  • Adobe Digital Learning Services (ADLS) (formerly Magento U) – On-demand and in-person training and courses.
  • Magento User Guide – As the name says, this is an all-inclusive guide on all things Magento. You’ll learn pretty much everything you need to know about Magento in one convenient place.
  • Magento Help Center – A comprehensive knowledge center has lots of helpful articles and a powerful search function to help you get answers to common questions. 
  • Tips & Tricks Videos – See how you can get the most out of Magento with these quick videos.
  • Magento YouTube Channel – The official Magento YouTube channels has dozens of How To and entertaining videos on Magento, as well as announcements and other helpful information. 

2. Customizing The Checkout

Pretty much every website that uses Magento uses the default checkout, with little-to-no-modification. And there’s a good reason for that. The Magento default checkout is excellent!

It’s easy to use, provides a great user experience, and helps convert interested customers into buyers. If you start messing around and customizing the checkout, though, you may end up with lost sales, frustrated customers, and a higher cart abandonment rate.

Basically, there’s no reason to “reinvent the wheel.” Magento 2’s default checkout has been built with lots of UI/UX best practices in mind. So we recommend leaving it alone, and staying away from advanced customization.

The only exception is Amasty’s one-step checkout extension. This extension replaces the default Magento checkout page with a single-page, mobile-optimized checkout page, enhancing customer convenience and conversion rates. 

We highly recommend either leaving the checkout alone, or trying out this Amasty extension to see if it leads to better conversion rates at your Magento 2 store.

3. Ignoring Native Magento Features & Functions Before Installing Extensions

The Magento Marketplace is one of the best things about Magento. It allows you to install extensions and modify the functionality of your website easily – often without even touching any code. 

But don’t start just adding extensions willy-nilly. First, you should familiarize yourself with the features Magento includes natively. Don’t assume that Magento 2 lacks – or has – a certain feature that you want. 

How can you familiarize yourself with what Magento has to offer “out of the box?” This goes back to the first point – you and your team need to learn and familiarize yourself with the functionality of Magento 2.

Then, once you know for sure that you need to add more functionality to your website, you can consult with your developers, discuss your options, and think about which extensions may offer the features you want.

This ensures you don’t add unnecessary bloat to your Magento 2 store – and that you don’t end up paying for features that are already natively included in Magento 2, such as product reviews

4. Making False Assumptions About Magento 2 & Its Capabilities

It’s true that a lot of eCommerce platforms today – Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, and others – share a lot of features and functionality. 

But that doesn’t mean they’re identical. If they were all exactly the same, there would be no reason for different eCommerce platforms to exist! 

So one mistake that we see stakeholders make while developing a Magento 2 website is assuming that Magento will have a specific feature or functionality out of the box – just because their existing platform already has that functionality.

This is not always the case. To avoid this issue, we recommend that you sit down with your development partner before your project begins, and discuss all of the functionality and features included in your old site – and what you want to bring over to your new Magento 2 site.

Then, your developers can discuss the features Magento 2 has native support for, and can plan to add features and functionality that it may lack – ensuring a smooth, unbroken transition to your new Magento website.

5. Not Nailing Down Your Project Scope Before It Begins

At 121eCommerce, we’re always preaching about the dangers of scope creep. It’s ruined many Magento projects over the years – and will continue to do so as long as steps are not taken to avoid it.

If you don’t nail down your project scope before your project begins, you’ll always be at risk of scope creep. You’ll get surprised with unexpected costs mid-project for items that were not included in the original scope – and you may have no choice but to pay and soldier on, hoping that everything works out.

Scope creep and scope issues cause delays, higher costs, and can even contribute to a strained relationship with your developers, which can lead to lots of other issues throughout the development process, like communication breakdowns.

So don’t fall victim to scope creep. Work with your developers to get everything clear before your project starts and scope out each individual task. This will take some time and effort, but by working to define your project scope early, you’ll reduce development costs, streamline the process, and save a lot of time and headaches.

6. Not Spending Enough Time Adding Product Attributes & Information

This is a “missing the forest for the trees” situation that’s actually more common than you may think. You and your developers may be so invested in creating the “nuts and bolts” of your Magento 2 website that you fail to pay attention to one of the most important parts of your site – your products!

You need to make sure you build time into your project to add product attributes for each and every product you’re selling – which is no small task if you’re selling hundreds or thousands of items.

This is a vital step. If you don’t have lots of information like product specifications, sizing options, pictures, and product descriptions, your site will look unfinished – and this won’t exactly instill confidence in potential buyers. 

Remember, an eCommerce customer can only make a buying decision with the information that you give them. If you don’t provide them with what they need, they’ll leave – and may end up purchasing a similar product from your competitors instead. 

Don’t let this happen! Make sure you spend plenty of time adding comprehensive, detailed product attributes to your new Magento 2 website.

7. Not Setting Out Clear Communication Expectations With Your Development Partner

It’s important to hire a Magento development agency that will communicate clearly and regularly with you and your team throughout the development process. And this responsibility goes two ways – it’s up to you to make sure you set clear communication expectations.

For example, you should let your development team know how often you’re planning on checking in. Will you have a daily meeting? A weekly stand-up? Meetings after certain milestones are met?

How will you communicate? Will you use email? Phone calls? Slack? Zoom? When should developers be expected to respond to messages immediately? Are there certain business hours in which you want your dev team to be available for questions?

You need to work out the answers to all of these questions in advance and make sure that you and your development team are on the same page. By doing so, you’ll be more informed about the development process. 

What If My Project Still Goes Wrong? The Top 5 Signs It’s Time For A Rescue!

So, you’ve taken the time to address the above issues. You even asked the 14 critical questions before hiring a Magento development agency!

But things are still going wrong. Your development team is missing deadlines. Features are broken – or not being added at all. The entire project is going off the rails.

Is it time to fold? Or is it time to bring in a pro like 121eCommerce for a project rescue? Below, we’ve listed the 5 top signs that your Magento 2 project is in big trouble– and it may be time to ditch your current developer and get in touch with us for a project rescue.

1. Your developer is adding code to the Magento database

This a red flag the size of Texas.

Your developer should never, NEVER touch the Magento database core files unless it’s a life and death emergency.

Instead, they should be using CSV, flat files, or an API connection to import or export data.

If you ever hear them say something like, “We went into the Magento database,” or “We had to change some Magento core files,” run for the hills! This is a clear sign your developer has no clue what they’re doing.

For example, if they install an extension directly into your Magento database, it may work for a while, but updating it requires a knowledge of your entire Magento database structure for that extension…which is nearly impossible. The number of tables involved is staggering.

Whether you understand what we’re talking about or not (or want to hear a podcast on best practices for Magento data management), the point is, be on the look-out for those catchphrases. Because if a developer touches the Magento core, the results are not pretty. Trust us. We’ve seen the “after” picture.

2. Your Developer Isn’t Communicating Properly – Or Stops Responding Entirely

We’ve said it before on the 121eCommerce blog – and we’ll say it again.

Communication is the single most important factor in an eCommerce development agency. 

Your developer needs to have good communication skills – and should keep you updated on the status of your project, individual milestones and goals, project sprints, and so on.

So if communication is breaking down, this is a sure sign that your project is getting off track – and it’s likely that things are about to get a lot worse.

Communication breakdowns lead to poor efficiency, bugs, and dozens of other issues.

If you’ve found that your developers are slow to respond to questions, or they ignore you entirely and don’t update you about your project status, it may be time to find a new development team.

3. Your Project Has Missed Multiple Deadlines

Your project launch was set for June. Then August. Then the end of Q3. Now you’re just hoping to get it pushed out before the end of the year – but you can feel another deadline shift just around the corner.

If your Magento development partner isn’t able to handle the deadlines of your project that were outlined in the beginning, this is a sign that something is seriously wrong. 

Yes.

It’s possible that your project was more complicated than you thought – or that your development team just doesn’t have the skills necessary to stay on time and on budget throughout the development process.

Regardless of why you’re missing deadlines, you need to do something about it. And if you can’t get a clear answer from your development partner about why they’re having trouble with your project, it may be time to move on.

4. Your Developer Isn’t Able to Handle the Technical Needs of Your Project

Ideally, you should be screening during the interview process to find a developer who can handle the scope of your project.

You need to make sure that your developer can:

  • Integrate third-party APIs into your website
  • Create custom code and features as needed
  • Install and integrate extensions from the Magento marketplace
  • Customize and create a new theme

However, not all Magento projects are built alike. You may find that, in the course of development, your Magento partner is unable to handle some of the technical needs of your project. 

Maybe there were some complex issues with a third-party API that you didn’t expect, or your developer is having trouble adding some custom functionality. If you notice these issues, you may need more help to rescue your Magento 2 project.

5. Your Site Isn’t Working Properly

Maybe everything has been going pretty well for your project. Your developers have created your website, integrated your third-party software and APIs, added extensions, built a custom theme, and so on.

But you’re plagued by bugs and errors. Slow loading speeds, improper integration with databases, extensions, and add-ons that are crashing your site, navigation problems – you get the picture. Your Magento development team doesn’t seem to be concerned, but you are.

A buggy, unstable website can cost you a lot of money due to lost sales – and it can expose you to liability if there are serious security issues that result in a data breach. 

If your site just doesn’t seem to be working properly, there may be some serious issues with the underlying code that your developers have put together. And no amount of simple troubleshooting will be enough to resolve these problems. 

You’ll have to take a look at your entire Magento codebase and site architecture – and may even have to rebuild some parts of your site from the ground-up. And to do that, you may need the help of a specialized Magneto project rescue team. 

Need Help? Ask 121eCommerce – Magento Project Rescue Specialists

At 121eCommerce, we specialize in Magento project rescues. We can rescue your site. No matter what shape it’s in.

If you’re having issues with your current developer or you’re struggling to handle your project on your own, we’re here to help. To learn more about our services and see if a Magento project rescue is what you need, feel free to contact us. We can discuss your issues in-depth, and determine the next steps that you need to take to save your Magento project.

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