Magento can be used for projects that go beyond simple shop systems. However, a lot of these projects fail – schedules are overstayed, mistakes or problems of adaptions occur. Dr. Nikolai Krambrock talked about this issue at Meet Magento on 13.05.2014 and gave solution approaches for the cooperation between shop operators and Magento-Agencies.

Here are the corresponding PowerPoint slides to the presentation:

Cooperative partnership and minimal changes of Magento

There are two approaches that help to handle the problems mentioned above: A cooperative partnership with a Magento-Agency and minimal changes of Magento for the functions required.
Sackgassen Zusammenarbeit

A cooperative partnership with a Magento-Agency

The guideline of a cooperative partnership is: “Winning or losing together.” Thus the own and short-term benefit can be ignored to achieve a long-term benefit cooperatively. This leads to reputable consulting, regulated project flows and stable as well as cheap solutions. Just as in every area of life it is profitable Partnerschafliche Zusammenarbeitto examine a potential Magento-Agency intensively before the first assignment is going to be assigned.The thereby related additional charges are manageable, so the effort is worth it. If the competence of judging is not present an advisor can – and should in most of the cases – be asked to help. This advisor should not offer agency-services himself, otherwise a conflict of interest arises. A bad idea would be to advertise every new development and distribute it to different agencies. Even if money seems to be saved by doing so, it results in a quick end-of-life of the online shop.

Outsourcing of subcontracts

You pay an agency and believe that this agency, and no other one, is accomplishing your tasks? In one out of three cases you are wrong: Especially large and popular agencies allot subcontracts to smaller agencies – usually this leads to good results. It can turn out to be the other way round, though: A Swiss company instructs a Swiss agency, the Swiss agency allots the whole assignment to an incompetent agency in India, in the end a third agency is needed to remove and implement everything new. Obviously this operation is not cheap. In general subcontracts are not bad. Our templates are developed by German freelancers or German agencies for instance. So we can concentrate on our core competences. However, we believe that agencies should inform their clients. More important: Clients should ask. Hence, expensive and unnecessary misunderstandings can be avoided.

Software-developing of big projects abroad

Besides the question whether your agency is really accomplishing your assignment there is another one: Where exactly is your assignment going to be accomplished? As it is said before, a lot of agencies outsource their functions and processes – it is called offshoring. The aim: A cheap transaction of the assignment. Entwicklung AuslandAn example for a succeeded development abroad is Magento itself: almost the whole source code was developed in Ukraine; the headquarters are in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, offshoring is often unprofitable for small projects. Additional efforts of the offshoring do not run in accordance with the project’s size. Additional competences are needed for the control of a distributed software development project and the development mostly takes more time. The effort is higher the more different the cultures are. Software development projects seldom achieve a successful completion.

Time management for development tasks

A long-term time management also belongs to a successful collaboration. Due to it sudden shortages of time and unknown tasks at hand can be avoided. Most Magento-Agencies have a business backlog of 4-12 weeks. If the shop operator wants the tasks to be done faster his wish will result in conflicts and difficulties of time management. Admittedly a new agency can be added to support the originally one, but that just leads to more efforts in coordination. In our mind this is not an optimal solution. One possibility is it to book developers beforehand, so they are always available when they are needed. In return the client has to provide tasks during this time.

The source code is the only product

The source code is almost the only product of the development. Costumers and agencies do not talk about it, though. This is astonishing because the source code’s quality determines the amount of the online shop’s mistakes, the moment of the system’s end-of-life and the efforts of further developments. That is why it is worth talking about the costumers needs in detail. Once again an adviser with no mutual interests is helpful if the shop operator is not able to talk about his needs himself. Moreover, it is useful to undertake as little changes and adaptions as possible, so the source code just changes minimally. The less a source code is changed the better is the result and the fewer mistakes occur. The aim is a compact and simple solution – not simple in its development but in its result.

Too many modules reduce the online shop’s quality

Every additional module changes Magento and therefore reduces the quality and stability of the online shop. However, just a few people know about the module’s power. Most of the clients specify too many modules they want to have without knowing about their impact. Here is a practical example: A costumer specifies 39 modules that shall be installed and which indeed are installed by his agency later on. By doing so the agency might act in its client’s interest, but it damages the online shop for the long term. Hence, an enlightenment of possible consequences of too many modules – and possibly a refusal of installing them – is a characteristic of a professional Magento-Agency which takes their clients’ interests to heart and which does not advise out of greed.


Gute Zusammenarbeit Magento-AgenturAs a general rule it is important to follow two solution approaches when it comes to a cooperation with a Magento-Agency: First, the selection of a qualified agency – including the building up of a cooperative partnership – second, the development of simple solutions whereby Magento does not have to be changed too much for the functions requested. Herby a lot of advantages arise: Less effort of changes afterwards, fewer problems while updating, less mistakes and uncomplicated change of agency.

Bilder von Timmitom, kallejipp, Yaban und o-zero auf

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