Feature Flag Use Cases

Modern development teams are using LaunchDarkly's feature management platform to integrate release, deployment, and operational management into their software development life cycles. Using feature flags in outcome driven development, dev can develop at the speed of ideation, ops can continuously deliver code safely, and business/application owners can independently experiment and get valuable feedback.

kill Switch

Deploy When You Want, Release When You're Ready

Separate code deployments from feature releases.

Dev and ops teams use feature flags to deploy code when they want and keep new features hidden until product and marketing teams are ready to share. Product and marketing teams then use the LaunchDarkly dashboard to turn features on/off, set up user targeting rules, perform canary launches, and test in production. With feature management, teams are using feature flagging at scale—dev builds at the pace of innovation, ops continuously delivers, product iterates, and marketing safely releases when they're ready.

separation of code and feature flag dashboard

Canary Launch

Move fast without breaking things

Also known as a percentage rollout, a canary launch is rolling features out to a small number of users to assess the reaction of the overall system. Teams use this to measure the reaction from real user “canaries” and look for early indicators of danger or success. Start with a small percentage of users, and then gradually scale that up to 100% as confidence in the feature grows. If a feature is not good, it can be rolled back or completely turned off.

percentage of users view a different user experience

Product & Marketing Driven Releases

Give application owners control over feature releases.

Calendar driven releases require coordination from teams across an organization—whether this is a rebranding, new functionality within a product, or a special event. Modern development teams eliminate some of the pressure associated with time sensitive launches by using feature management to separate the code deployment from the feature release. Then, LaunchDarkly's intuitive dashboard makes it easy for product and marketing teams to safely beta test and roll out new features when they are ready.

release features when you are ready

Test in Production

Test early and test often.

Testing with real, live users will always yield better data than any mock testing environment, you have a real understanding of performance and can get valuable feedback from beta groups. The question many teams face is how to do this safely. Many development teams use feature management to safely test in production. With LaunchDarkly, teams use powerful user targeting rules to set up beta groups, percentage rollouts to slowly expose new features, and can always instantly turn any feature off without having to roll code back.

merge your branch with flag turned off

Kill Switch

Simply turn it off.

You don't have to roll code back to un-do a feature release—anyone can instantly turn off any feature at any time. Utilizing feature flags as a kill switch is a common method of mitigating the risks involved in feature releases. With the kill switch, even product and marketing teams can participate in feature testing and releases without relying heavily on engineering support. Whether you're testing in production, doing a canary launch, or ready to sunset a feature—get sleep at night knowing it's as easy as hitting the switch.

200ms to propagate a flag change

Infrastructure Migration

Maintain stability through change.

Making structural changes to your system, whether migrating to a new database or updating systems, can be risky. Operations teams use feature management to maintain stability while undergoing these processes. With feature flags in place throughout their system, they will put their application into maintenance mode and make necessary system updates. Often teams will then use a percentage rollout to validate the new system. And of course, any changes can instantly be reversed using feature flags as a kill switch.

database migration

Reactive Monitoring

Real-time visibility and accountability.

Advanced teams use LaunchDarkly's feature management platform to help troubleshoot and resolve issues in real time. With feature flags in place within their application, teams use LaunchDarkly's audit log to identify what changes occurred that led to an incident. Sometimes this is a new feature that was recently turned on, other times this is an existing feature that recently saw an increase in use. Regardless, the team can quickly pinpoint the source of the incident, get a clear understanding of what took place, and take appropriate action—hitting the kill switch or otherwise.

monitor feature updates

User Targeting & Samples

Control your user's experience.

Using customized metadata, you can perform extremely powerful and granular user targeting. Target users based on any attribute—like region, age, or email—and build segments or groups as needed. With this functionality, you have granular control over who sees what at any given time. Teams are using targeting rules to create beta testing groups, manage subscription models, and control how their users experience their products.

target a segment of users

Beta Testing

Hypothesis driven development.

Many teams use LaunchDarkly's feature management platform to manage their beta testing programs at scale. Using targeting rules to create specific groups, they can include entire groups or segments of groups in any test at any given time. The kill switch is used as a failsafe to turn features off at any time. The feedback these teams get from beta groups is valuable, it helps them validate new features and catch bugs before rolling out to their entire user base.

get feedback from selected beta users

A/B & Multivariate Testing

Make data-driven decisions.

Feature flag driven A/B/n testing enables teams to test robust functionality instead of just cosmetic changes. Organizations use LaunchDarkly's feature management platform to create goals so they can measure the effectiveness of features. All user events are tracked within the platform, so you can see exactly which feature variations are performing. Many teams configure their experiments within LaunchDarkly and then stream analytics data to their preferred BI tool for real-time visibility into test performance.

test different user experiences

Sunset Features

Know when to turn it off.

Dev and ops teams use LaunchDarkly's feature management platform to managing the entire lifecycle of feature flags. At some point old features will conflict with new features, or simply not be in use anymore. Teams use LaunchDarkly's platform to get visibility into which features are still in use—and by whom—so they can better manage what should remain within their code base.

sunset features when unused

Subscription Management

Advanced permissions for special groups.

More advanced development teams are using LaunchDarkly's feature management platform to manage permissions for special groups, like customer subscription tiers. Using targeting rules, teams will set up different groups. With established groups, teams will then manage the suite of features different customers should have access to. When managing multiple features—and sometimes across multiple product lines—having a single place to control this streamlines processes and improves visibility for all teams involved.

different experiences based on subscription models

Support & Sales Access

Empowering customer facing teams with control.

Companies are using LaunchDarkly's feature management platform to give business users control over the end user experience. The intuitive dashboard is easy for non technical users—they too can target users, create groups, test new features, and turn features off at any time. With this access, product and marketing teams are now actively participating in development cycles. And some organizations have taken this further by extending access to customer facing teams like sales and support. Now these teams have deeper control over how their customers experience their product, and can manage special requests faster and more comprehensively.

feature monitoring and issue solving

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