My first week at LaunchDarkly brought me out of the shadows in a hurry. It began at an offsite strategy session at DFJ, our lead investor, where I learned valuable details about Waterfall vs. Agile software development methodologies. I also gained important insights into a key industry trend affecting the development community: the transition from Waterfall to Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD).
What I’ve learned as a marketer has deepened my appreciation for what makes the LaunchDarkly solution so unique.
For starters, there are three main categories of customers who will benefit from partnering with LaunchDarkly:
- Companies interested in switching from Waterfall to CI/CD
- Companies currently switching/recently switched from Waterfall to CI/CD but not yet feature flagging
- Companies that are currently engaged in CI/CD, and using a homegrown feature management system
What’s clear is that all three of these customer segments experience different challenges. But all fall into to what our VP of Product and Platform, Adam Zimman, calls “The Risk Gap.”
What is The Risk Gap?
In software development, there is inherent risk in launching new releases. Risk in this case can be broken down into two categories:
- Risk of losing product value
- Risk of losing time
The longer it takes an engineering team to launch a new software release, the greater the risk of feature obsolescence. Another risk factor is competitor time to market; those companies that don’t enjoy “first mover advantage” can suffer from demoralized developers who lose interest because they can’t ship quickly enough.
The Risk Gap also means that there is greater operational risk associated with feature releases that carry greater value. The more value associated with a feature update, the greater the risk to your Ops team, because of changes made to your code base.
The Risk Gap is closely linked to the Iron Triangle concept that suggests the following: while teams should strive to release high value features at a quick pace, the reality is that they’re often forced to pick one or the other (speed vs. quality).
The Iron Triangle mantra is “Fast, good, or cheap. Pick two.”
Let’s see how this affects the three customer categories who will benefit from using LaunchDarkly by examining the Risk Gap/Iron Triangle framework.
|Category||Pain||Does Have||Does Not Have|
|Companies interested in switching from Waterfall to CI/CD||Takes Dev team a long time to launch releases.||-High Quality|
-Low Cost - traditional Waterfall methodology
|Companies switching/recently switched from Waterfall to CI/CD but not yet feature flagging||Quality of releases is at risk.||-Fast Delivery via CI/CD|
-Lower Costs - not using a feature management platform
|Companies doing CI/CD + using a homegrown feature management system||A homegrown feature management system is costly to develop and maintain.||-Fast Delivery - quick release cycle|
-High Quality - continuous feedback loop
Each customer category is missing one of the three components of the Iron Triangle: either quality, speed, or lowest cost.
LaunchDarkly exists to close the Risk Gap – enabling the largest software engineering teams in the world to responsibly employ the CI/CD methodology, accelerate development cycles, eliminate the risk associated with large releases, and cut costs of developing/maintaining homegrown feature management systems.
For the first time, you don’t have to make tradeoffs with LaunchDarkly.
When you combine the great team here, a revolutionary product, and the opportunity to learn from brilliant minds every day, I am very much so looking forward to bringing our product to market.