Finding someone who has put in the time to learn the ins and outs of Netsuite’s e-commerce platform is, let’s put it this way, a challenge. Finding a SuiteCommerce developer who is proficient in the technical work and also a good communicator is a challenge on an entirely new level. It’s a lot like trying to catch sight of an armadillo — few people have managed to do it.
Whether your Netsuite SuiteCommerce developer is remote or on-site, they have to be able to meet the standards below to ensure your project is a smooth sailing.
1: Instant communication
In a perfect world, you’d find the most experienced Netsuite e-commerce consultant or developer instantly and they will immediately know what to do. In the real world, miscommunication is more common than the flu in October; emergencies like to spring up at the worst possible time; the developers often have questions only you can answer, and so on, and forth. That’s why you need a way reach your developer in real time.
For example, at Creation Byte, we have round-the-clock chat support. Our clients say this puts their minds at ease because they know they can talk to us at any moment in time. They rarely need to call us in the middle of the night but they say 24/7 support is especially useful during big sales, e.g. Black Friday.
Of course, if you are working with a single developer (not a team), you can’t expect them to be online all the time. Teams should, however, offer real-time support.
2: Regular reporting
Stakeholder meetings are an inseparable part of the SuiteCommerce development cycle but doing them on an as-needed basis can be a big drag. Following a specific meeting schedule makes the entire process a better experience for everyone. It helps reduce uncertainty and creates a steady rhythm to the project.
The frequency and duration of the meetings depends on the workflow of your programming team. For instance, like many other teams, we use the Scrum methodology of agile development and typically do focused 30-minute check-ins with our clients every week. Sometimes, the meetings could be longer and, in those cases, we send each of the participants an agenda so that we avoid wasting anyone’s time.
Weekly meetings are the most common setup but we sometimes we change the reporting interval if the project requires it, e.g. daily, fortnightly. Your Netsuite ecommerce expert should be able to find the right schedule to balance between over-communication and poor communication.
What to expect during a weekly check-in meeting with your SuiteCommerce development team?
We typically use Google Hangouts, Skype or Uberconference for these meetings and include the following elements:
- Pre-written agenda (if the meeting is longer than 30 minutes)
- Executive summary
- Discussion of the work completed
- Discussion of the changes in metrics, if any
- Discussion of any potential issues
- Next steps for the following week
3: Video conferencing
Video chat is one of the most effective ways to communicate and it’s exactly what you need when you’re working with a SCA development team. You can see the people you’re talking to, easily read their body language and understand their message. Since Netsuite is a cloud-based platform, each participant in the discussion can easily log in, share their screen and lay out their thoughts.
In addition, if your developers are remote, video conferencing will remove the need for them to commute while enabling you to do a face-to-face meeting almost instantly. The benefits are countless but, most importantly, video conferencing reduces the risk of miscommunication to the minimum.
A typical SuiteCommerce project can stretch for months which means that your developer has to stay accountable in some way. We know from personal experience that email is never the right communication tool for this type of projects — the information is confined in a single endless thread or, worse, scattered between dozens of threads. So, instead of email, experienced SuiteCommerce developers use project management and issue tracking platform like Jira. This allows you to quickly report bugs and keep tabs on their progress at all times.
The choice of a project management and issue tracking platform depends on the project. If the client uses a specific platform, they’d typically invite us to their platform. If they don’t have a solution in place, we invite them to join us on Jira. We like this particular platform because it saves us and our clients hours of precious time and eliminates endless email threads.
The first step in a SuiteCommerce development project is typically preparation. If the project is small in scope, your developers might be able to start right after the kick off call. However, if it’s a complex project involving many variables, they should ask you to provide business data and information about your goals. Then, they will propose a concrete solution and help you chart your next steps.
6: Clear communication
Sometimes you might feel like you and the developers don’t speak the same language. That’s only natural and there is no one to blame. From the developer’s point of view, your Netsuite website is a collection of modules, extensions, templates and the like. From your point of view, it’s an online store that has to drive more sales and customers.
Here is the thing, though. As a service provider, the developer should anticipate what the client really cares about and communicate the business results with concrete details. A message like “The Order Management Module has been updated” will probably leave you flummoxed. Instead, the developer should be able to say convey a more meaningful update like “Order processing has been reduced to 3 steps.”
Is time zone difference a problem?
A lot of times, you might find the right SCA website developer in the wrong part of the globe. Or at least, in a part of the globe that doesn’t allow you and the vendor to communicate effectively.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t hire SuiteCommerce experts outside of your time zone. For example, our team is situated in the EST time zone but we provide 24/7 chat support to clients throughout the U.S. To avoid any time zone issues, we’d recommend asking your programming team if they are available within your working day.
How to make sure you never regret hiring a SuiteCommerce developer?
Just test them! Start with a very small, non-critical project. This is by far the best way to find out if both you and the developer can work in synergy. Notice the communication style and skills of your developer or development team. For example:
- Do they reply to your messages in a timely manner?
- Do they take the time to send you a personalized message?
- Do they answer all your questions in detail?
- Do they offer original solutions?
- Are they passionate about the project?