In the following article I would like to share my experience of Custom Product Type creation and I’d like to guide you how to import it to the system in specific way.
How do we manage projects?
When approaching us with new projects customers often require a certain way of managing them. Sometimes clients expect that we have a standard process.
If you want to start with us, you can always suggest your preferred project management tool and require a certain approach. Since we started we found our way to manage projects. It doesn’t mean that we always follow it, but if there are no other requirements, we usually follow it.
Before starting a project, our clients have some general ideas about the way they want their shop to function and look like. It’s very rare that a customer has a full specification. And moreover, a full specification written in text form isn’t always necessary. Just imagine 150 pages of text that can be misinterpreted. Every second page contains the description of things that you have in Magento or Prestashop by default. Just imagine the process: first, the project manager has to read it and then (s)he needs to interpret it for the developer and highlight the important parts. If you want to get a quote quickly, you can simply highlight custom things.
For example, if you want a website. You want certain functionality that you’ve already seen somewhere else. If you don’t want to be duped by developers, you’ve got to know what is there by default and what is custom and needs to be developed.
Ok, so you have a competitor that sells the same stuff as you. You think that this guy spent tons of money on his website and if the business is well known, it means that they probably did spend tons of money on development. But if it’s just a small business, chances are they used default Magento/Prestashop and asked a developer to slightly customize it. So again, if you don’t want to be duped (you will never be duped by BelVG though) ), check out default Magento or default Prestashop, both frontend and back office (you can follow links I’ve just specified or searched for services that show default CMS platforms and even allow you to test them from back office, like Prestashop does, for example). Read tutorials, check out blogs, check out youtube channels. You’ll need to know how to manage your shop, so it’ll only do you good if you learn this stuff.
Ok, let’s imagine have already learned how default functionality of your preferred CMS platform looks like. Next step is to learn what is that you want to do differently. In most cases, default functionality can be enhanced using existing extensions/modules that developers like us already developed for your CMS. For example, if you want to get the functionality of the best BelVG module, then just google it and you’ll find the best one.
Check other websites as well, compare and decide what extensions you can use to make the website work according to your requirements.
If you cannot find any existing extensions that meet your requirements, just ask us if there is an existing extension that has the required functionality. Or ask us if we can develop it. We’ll come up with a quote. Evaluate if you have the budget for this development. If you don’t, just skip the functionality. There are probably tons of more important things that your website needs.
Bear in mind that your requirements must be detailed, but not too long. No company will dig into your 200-pages requirements unless you pay them upfront with no questions asked. In the best case, some developers will read through this, but there is a big risk they’ll skip some details that may be crucial for the project.
Be up to the point. The best requirements we’ve received so far were not longer than 15-20 pages. If you don’t want to spend time on requirements, that is totally fine. Normally, we need to know 2 things:
1) Design requirements
2) Functional requirements
To let us know your design requirements, show us examples. Show us what you want to ‘steal’ from your competitors. Of course, we’ll make your website unique, but we need to know the idea, we need to catch the specific details about your business. We want to know your color palette, see your logo. If you have a brand book – that is just perfect. If you don’t, send us some text on what you want to do differently than your competitors do.
Same for functionality, check out what is there by default, check out what extensions you can buy to extend the functionality and let us know what features you think will be useful to manage your business in the most convenient way.
Once you’re ready, just give us a sign and we’ll get in touch with you to our questions and a quote. Making an estimate and finding a good development partner is just a small step for you, but important step for the future of ecommerce :)