As an engineering or product manager, your mission is to deliver quality software on time. You are looking to make your team fast, productive, and more coordinated. Most importantly, you want your customers to love your product. Feature flagging can help you achieve all these goals: on time delivery, with less risk, for a product your customers love.
Professional developer tools are both the foundation and scaffolding for building successful products. Without team
collaboration tools, issue tracking tools, IDEs, and version control systems, your team would find it challenging to
release timely, high-quality software. To facilitate and improve product development, managers must inevitably decide
whether to build developer tools in-house, purchase a platform, or maintain the status-quo.
The tradeoffs for each option depend on your resources, time, and internal expertise. Sometimes it's better to build in-house, other times it's more resource-efficient to purchase existing solutions. When it comes to outcome driven development with feature flags, companies who try to build internal platforms tend to face the following challenges:
Feature flagging is a straightforward concept that becomes difficult to manage on an enterprise scale. It's easy to manage one feature flag by modifying a configuration file, but when you have multiple feature flags across different environments, it's harder to keep everyone in sync in a compliant fashion.
Facebook has a feature flagging system called Gatekeeper that took years to build, using limitless engineering resources. Wrapping one feature with an if/else is just the start—an enterprise-grade feature flagging systems require:
Companies that have built internal feature flagging tools (e.g. Google, Facebook, and Amazon) dedicated large teams of engineers and DevOps experts to build the platform, and continue to use full-time engineers to maintain and scale their systems.
Let's look at the required inputs and expected outputs for an enterprise feature flagging platform.
When making the build versus buy decision, it's important to ask the following questions:
When purchasing a feature flagging platform, you want to make sure that you are integrating a well-tested and proven solution. You want to ensure that the feature flagging platform is:
The platform should also allow you the flexibility to integrate outcome driven development with feature flags across teams and across products (web and mobile), either through an on-premise/private instance or managed cloud platform.
LaunchDarkly is an enterprise-grade feature flagging platform. It is currently used by both small and large development teams at companies like Microsoft, Atlassian, AppDirect, TenX, CircleCI, and Apiary.
On a daily basis, the platform serves billions of feature flags in microseconds. Led by former Atlassian engineers, LaunchDarkly was specifically built and tested to accommodate large, diverse development teams who are responsible for products that support millions of customers.
LaunchDarkly provides comprehensive value right from the start, including: