In the Northern hemisphere, school’s out, sun’s bright, and the beaches are starting to fill with respectfully socially-distant bonfires. But before we can all catch waves and rays, I want to show you something we’re proud of.

We’re celebrating because we did our homework and got a great grade—Forrester has named us as a leader in their New Wave report on Feature Management and Experimentation. That means in this new category, we believe we did amazingly well. 

Feature Management (and Experimentation) is one way that we describe the whole complicated set of behaviors that we also call “Progressive Delivery.” Can you put something in production without showing it to users? Can you collaborate on releasing features as a team? Can you hand off release authority to the right people? Can you target features to exactly the people you want to see them? Can you test that your changes improve user experience? Can you automate rollouts to make them safer? Can you fail forward by turning off only a misbehaving feature?

That is all a part of progressive delivery.

What the report from Forrester tells us is that there are companies out there who are looking for a solution to the problem of releases—we don’t want to have deployment and release at the same time, and we don’t want to release the same thing to everyone. What our ranking in this space tells us is that we are doing a good job answering that question. 

We’re going to keep working to stay ahead of the curve and there are some cool new features I can’t tell you about yet, but they’re going to make user opt-in and accessibility options even more rich and useful.

The deets

In the new report, Forrester mentions how CI and CD are relatively well-established, while feature management and experimentation are newer, but I think it’s a ‘both-and’ issue. Wanting to deliver faster and faster is a lot easier if you have a way to manage which features actually get delivered, and a faster release cadence is most useful if you’re getting good information on what is working in the real world. 

“Each vendor offered compelling features that enable development teams to switch to single trunk development, reduce software release headaches, and enable true testing in production.” — The Forrester New Wave™: Feature Management and Experimentation, Q2 2021.

You don’t have to switch to trunk-based development to get a lot of the benefits of CI/CD, but it’s a change that many organizations find beneficial.

You know how when you look at a report card, you focus on where you want to improve so you know what to study more next semester? We’re doing that and taking Forrester’s notations to heart. But I think we also need to pat ourselves on the back for getting great marks in feature management, architecture, market approach, and a really useful way to manage technical debt.

The thing we’re seeing as we deal with clients who have hundreds and thousands of flags is that making sure they are all timely, topical, relevant, and useful is a big task. One way to reduce that task is to make it easy to take out temporary/experimentation flags as soon as they are finished and maybe even automating this manual step.

Study plans

Like I said, we’re really happy to have gotten such a great evaluation from Forrester and such nice comments from our customers.

Looking at this “report card”, it’s clear to me that my job, as a person who talks about LaunchDarkly, is to tell a clearer story about our capabilities around audience targeting, security and privacy, experimentation, and the parts of our planning that I have the green light to talk about. I feel like we have some great examples of people doing interesting, regulated, directed things, and I need to surface those better. 

I’m starting to get my fall plans lined up, and it’s exciting that I will get to visit some places in person and have this report ready to  discuss.

Leading industry analyst firm Forrester has identified Feature Management and Experimentation as the latest must-have DevOps tools to enable teams to create faster release cycles while staying connected with customers. Read the report now.