Many of today’s enterprises struggle with what appear to be competing goals: delivering more value faster while also remaining in complete control. This was the topic of our recent webinar, "​​Feature Management: Balancing Security and Business Agility."

LaunchDarkly CTO and co-founder John Kodumal hosted the informative talk with two guests: Forrester Principal Analyst, Chris Condo, and Kevin Foley, Head of Technology at Admiral Group. Together, they provided direct insights into how organizations are now using feature management and experimentation to drive value for their businesses and customers.

The event kicked off with some time from both guests to address their chosen topics before moving onto the Q&A portion, where we answered some questions that viewers submitted during the initial live stream. 

How Do We Move to CI/CD?

First up was Kevin Foley, who has been working with Admiral for 19 years and has worked directly on many of the company’s most successful projects, including MultiCar, the world’s first online car insurance quote engine. Kevin offered his thoughts on the goals and challenges involved with moving an enterprise toward continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD). 

When it comes to driving higher maturity in the CD process, Kevin suggests moving towards trunk-based development and identifying products that can help with that process. He also proposes that teams move to a more autonomous development environment as a remedy to the challenges they often face when relying on outside resources to switch features on and off. And as for limitations surrounding phased rollouts—especially as teams and software get bigger and more complicated—Kevin suggests releasing features to controlled groups as a way to test them in production and learn about any potential limitations. 

“Feature management is needed now; experimentation is next”

Next up was Chris Condo, who set the stage by displaying a statistic showing that 79% of Generation Z respondents were willing to use an app to order and pay for grocery delivery, as opposed to only 30% of Baby Boomers. This substantial shift highlights that while digital experiences are already important to the majority of consumers, they will only become even more essential as time goes on. 

Chris observes that while digital experiences are clearly already important, today’s enterprises rarely release fast enough to keep up with the pace. In fact, according to a survey by the Continuous Delivery Foundation, only 10.8% of businesses are considered “elite performers,” that is, releasing multiple times per day. (See how these numbers around release frequency compare to our own report, "Hyperdrive: A Continuous Delivery Report.")

Chris cites this lack of release speed as his primary reason for turning to feature management and experimentation, and why others should as well:

“You need to be able to release more quickly. You need to get code into production. It doesn't mean that you're constantly changing your code, it just means (…) you're tweaking it, you're making improvements. You're putting out new features. You're taking back features that aren't necessary anymore. And you're being much more agile. And if you can't do that, you can't keep pace with the current pace of what digital innovation needs.”

Want to Hear More? Watch the Webinar

Of course, this is merely a broad recap of what was discussed in the webinar. To learn and hear more (and you should!), view the entire webinar here.

Hear more on topics like:

  • How other developers view the importance of feature management and experimentation
  • What feature flags best practices should look like moving forward
  • What led Kevin and his team to begin using feature management and feature flags instead of Admiral’s antiquated in-house solution
  • Why teams should consider trunk-based development
  • The reasons behind organizations prioritizing feature management and tying it to business value

And we haven’t even gotten to the Q&A part that caps off the webinar, where you’ll hear answers (and insights) to the following questions:

  • How much testing is enough before we can confidently say that we practice CI/CD?
  • How much time and effort did it take for Admiral to implement LaunchDarkly, and what were some of the challenges? 
  • When it comes to managing permissions to make changes to production, is there a difference for those who can release deployments to production and those who can turn features on and off?
  • What are the suggested criteria or guidelines for using feature management for a feature? Do we do this for bug fixes too? Or is it just new features?

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