Coming from a Product Manager who used to be a LaunchDarkly customer.
Depending on the Product Manager, their skillset and area of ownership may vary widely. PMs might be highly technical or design-oriented, driving feature hypotheses and development from start-to-finish, or more responsible for the GTM side of things. Whichever shape the PM role takes at your organization, LaunchDarkly offers a set of capabilities that are universally valuable for all PMs.
As Product Managers, our primary goal is to release more value to customers more often. We want granular control over releases and reduced risk when introducing new features to our customers so we can move more quickly, safely. This often requires working closely with our partners in Engineering—as well as Design and Product Marketing—to coordinate the details and mechanisms the go into a smooth launch.
LaunchDarkly gives PM teams control over exactly when a feature is made available and who will see it, as well as the ability to precisely measure the impact of a specific feature. All while delivering new value to their customers earlier, faster, and more confidently.
***The new ROI of LaunchDarkly Feature Management page is a great resource that shows exactly how impactful LaunchDarkly can be for teams who use LaunchDarkly in their development process.***
How can Product Managers apply LaunchDarkly in practice?
Full control over feature rollouts
Product Managers are often responsible for defining the optimal release plan for new feature(s). In a world without LaunchDarkly, the only way to manage a feature rollout is whenever the code is deployed. Having precise toggle control over when and how a release is rolled out is immensely valuable.
- Choose exact release date/time – PMs need specific control over when a feature will be available to customers so we can coordinate launch timing with things like internal training, marketing announcements, and managing phased rollouts. This can even be scheduled in advance.
- Phased rollouts – PMs also want to test in production—this is not only for engineering. Stability and bugs are as much a part of a successful launch as a new feature’s UX. Plus, phasing rollouts (e.g., engaging in Progressive Delivery) helps PMs and Designers build confidence in a feature’s value “in the wild” backed by analytics.
- Coordinate multiple releases – Sometimes a release requires coordinating several moving parts. For example, that scheduled marketing announcement for multiple features. Product Managers can work with Product Marketing to make everything available at exactly the same moment with the flip of a button. For example, Atlassian used LaunchDarkly to roll out rebranding across their entire suite of products; and they turned it on right when it was being announced on stage at their Summit conference. Learn more about how Atlassian uses LaunchDarkly here.
Fine-grained targeting for who sees what experiences when
Product Managers spend a lot of time thinking about who new features are built for and how to deliver that work to exactly the right set of people. LaunchDarkly’s fine-tuned targeting is like having PM superpowers.
- Target customer segments – Customizing an experience based on user context or past behaviors is a common tactic PMs use to improve our products. PMs might want to target messaging by user location or serve a different product experience to a calculated list of users (such as power users).
- Beta/VIP groups – PMs often cultivate relationships with friendly or important customers to solicit early feedback on projects before a launch. Managing how/when these customers see the new experience can be time-consuming or impossible, but with LaunchDarkly it is easy to do in a few clicks.
- Product Tier Entitlements – Product Managers can use LaunchDarkly to make managing product tiers a simple targeting exercise instead of engineering/support work. They can easily optimize pricing tiers for revenue growth or grant temporary trial access to customers to make expansions more enticing.
Measure the impact of your rollouts
Another focus for Product Managers is testing and validating the impact of new releases. The ability to measure how a new release affects business KPIs or customer behavior is critical to effective product development teams.
- Service Health/User Interviews – The power in knowing a feature is successful before turning it on to for all users cannot be overvalued. Roll out to a subset of your customers and monitor analytics for healthy service performance, and/or set up customer interviews about their real-world experiences.
- Experimentation add-on – While user interviews are invaluable, LaunchDarkly’s Experimentation Add-on enables PMs to measure at scale precisely how a new experience compares to the existing one. This is useful when sunsetting an old experience for a new one, or testing multiple versions to identify the highest impact on your desired metric.
- Data Export add-on – PMs at companies with a data analysis team can use LaunchDarkly’s Data Export to overlay customer cohorts from targeted rollouts/experiments onto in-house analysis. Dig deeper into experiments to see how the new beta experience affected users’ behavior across custom or disparate business metrics not available in one place such as NPS reports from your third-party tool and the conversion metrics from Finance.
Product Managers spend a lot of time coordinating releases. LaunchDarkly controls the “blast radius” if something goes wrong, in turn, helping us deliver new value more rapidly and confidently.
- Kill switches – Whether a system has gone down, customers hate the new feature, or you need to sunset a feature in the future, all PMs (everyone, really) will love to control features with the push of a button. Ultimately, PMs will hear from angry customers and stakeholders, and LaunchDarkly can save us a lot of pain and work by allowing us to turn off functionality with a kill switch. I know from experience!
- Phased rollouts – Mentioned above, stability and bugs are as much a part of a successful launch as a new feature’s UX. PMs partner closely with the engineering team to ensure services are healthy and performant, and we use phased rollouts to help ensure releases go smoothly for all involved.
Don’t stop at Product Management
While LaunchDarkly provides clear value for engineers and product managers in their product development efforts, don’t mistake LaunchDarkly as only a product development tool. Many other teams are critical to your organization’s efforts to build, maintain, and operate your business. And LaunchDarkly’s capabilities can extend the power of your support, sales, design, marketing, and customer success teams.
Enable Sales and Customer Success to close more deals with live demos and feature trials at the push of a button. Help Support debug exactly which features and tests a customer has for faster resolution. Give Marketing and Design the ability to fine-tune target audiences, coordinate announcements, and manage special customer programs.
With LaunchDarkly, teams spend more time delivering value to their customers with efficiency, confidence, and intelligence.