Feature Management

LaunchDarkly’s vision of feature management

Software powers the world. LaunchDarkly empowers all teams to deliver and control their software.

Theoretically, teams can engage in all four pillars of feature management without relying on a dedicated feature management tool. In many cases, engineers will construct a patchwork solution for feature flag management in-house. Some organizations, however, do build and use world-class homegrown systems. But in our experience, the latter is the exception. 

Unsurprisingly, LaunchDarkly contends that, in the long-run, a commercial feature management platform is more affordable, sustainable, and painless than the alternative. You can explore the pros and cons of building vs. buying a feature management solution here.

LaunchDarkly’s centralized feature management platform, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, offers a full suite of tools for engaging in all four pillars. It gives teams complete control over every feature in their application. It enables them to build and deliver better software faster, while virtually eliminating risk in the process. Microsoft, IBM, Atlassian, NBC, Intuit, and 1500+ other customers use LaunchDarkly to ship fast, stay safe, and stay in control.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this definitive guide to feature management. The Four Pillars of Feature Management represent a new way of developing software. They embody LaunchDarkly’s vision of feature management. In closing, we want to articulate this vision, so as to illuminate the promised land to which feature management is designed to lead you.

Here’s our vision of feature management, a vision we are dedicated to helping you fulfill.

Our vision

At LaunchDarkly, we envision a world in which feature releases are safe, boring, and unceremonious. No more stressful, stomach-turning launch days where developers sit anxiously at their laptops, waiting for something to go wrong. Moreover, we see a day when releases are scheduled and automated—something you “set and forget.” In this world, developers no longer carry the fear of deploying on Fridays at 5. Instead, everyone deploys whenever they please and do so with extreme confidence. 

We further imagine a world of software development that banishes needless delays and backlogs. Restarts, redeploys, and rollbacks will be a thing of the past. Nor will you have to disable entire feature sets and revert to old versions of your app due to one buggy feature. No more code languishing in pull request (PR) queues or in staging. No more long-lived feature branches. No more merge conflicts. 

On the contrary, the world we imagine promotes forward motion. In it, software engineers are more productive. Rather than maintain systems and put out fires, they devote themselves to building, creating, and innovating.  

We envision a world in which most (if not all) new features are wrapped in a feature flag. And when bugs occur, the features responsible are shut off automatically. In this world, flags enable teams to recover from incidents almost as soon as they happen. And customers are completely shielded from these system failures. Teams continuously deliver software while, at the same time, maintaining high stability.  

We also imagine a world in which software organizations build more things that customers love. No more wasting gobs of time and money building features no one wants—and you’re the last to know. On the contrary, in the world we describe, you experiment with everything. You constantly learn and assess how each code change affects system performance and user behavior. And you draw upon that data to iterate and iterate and iterate until you’ve built something incredible.

Finally, at LaunchDarkly, we envision a world in which all teams play a significant role in delivering software. Product managers conduct their own beta tests; marketers hit "go" when they're ready to unveil new features to customers; and sales and customer success reps manage entitlements. In such a world as this, where all teams are empowered to deliver and control software, fewer disasters occur, engineer burnout plummets, and customer satisfaction rises.

It’s a beautiful world, indeed.

This is our vision for software development and delivery. We recognize that what we’ve depicted is aspirational and that most organizations will only achieve an approximation of it. That’s ok. The point is to have a clear vision for which to strive.

In a software-centered world, one full of peril and uncertainty, control is one of your greatest assets. Feature management gives you that control. And LaunchDarkly gives you feature management in its highest form.

We've been able to roll out new features at a pace that would've been unheard of a couple of years ago.

Michael McKayPrinciple Software Engineer

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