Guide to feature management

Feature flag management to turn new features on/off in production with no need for redeployment.

Strict control over the deployment of new features and updates to reduce risk and drive rollouts

Feature management

Feature management is a new approach to software development based on feature flagging. With the Unleash feature flag management platform, you can easily define, parameterize, and use feature flags to deploy small releases of software to controlled groups of users for experimentation and A/B testing to obtain measurable results, assess user satisfaction, and identify potential problems.

Software development teams have been using some variation of feature flags in the form of Boolean flags (if-else statements) for years, but modern feature management solutions take feature flagging to a new level. A simple and intuitive tool gives software developers full control over the deployment of selected features and updates to a select group of end users. And, more importantly, it makes this complex task simple and fully manageable.

Feature management platforms, like Unleash, combine a simple user interface with a robust infrastructure and functionalities, such as multivariate feature flags, user segmentation, A/B testing and experimentation, that not only provide many options, but also security of user data.

Unleash is the free, open-source feature management platform that gives software developers all the benefits of flag management without the risk and complications associated with feature flagging and software development. In addition, it is supported and verified by a community of millions of developers.

Unleash reduces the risk of new features or updates not working in production. Significantly. 

How feature management works?

Unleash’s centralized feature flag management platform provides a full suite of tools to not only build and deploy better software faster, but also virtually eliminate the risk associated with software development.

To create and activate feature flags, you need to:

1. Launch Unleash

If you have Git or Docker installed, you need to run a simple script and connect to your SDK. That’s it. Two simple steps, detailed in the documentation, give you access to a free, state-of-the-art feature management platform.

2. Create a feature flag

To create a future flag, simply click the “new feature flag” button and fill out the form that appears.

3. Add a strategy 

Advanced user segmentation is based on strategies provided by Unleash or created by the user.

Unleash provides a number of built-in strategies that allow you to select groups of users based on user ID in the database, IPs (geographic rollout), hostnames or even email addresses – different strategies work differently, of course, and allow you to deploy software only to users from a specific region, at a specific time.

Testing new features and updates on a select segment of users allows you to run experiments and A/B tests, saving you a lot of time and resources that can be spent on coding, quality assurance, and deployment.

User feedback also allows you to develop better features faster and improve features that do not meet user expectations.

4. Enable the feature flag

Use a toggle to turn a feature flag on or off, with the flag returning true or false depending on the specified Unleash context.

5. Additional options

The Unleash feature flag management platform provides additional functionalities that allow you to configure feature flags further, add optional payloads, select variants for A/B testing, or define users more specifically with constraints, segmentation, and user stickiness.

Experiment with Unleash feature management to better understand end-user expectations and needs

Test new features on any sub-segment of users 

The versatility and flexibility of feature flags make them a great tool for running complex A/B tests and experiments while giving you full control over the process and user groups.

Based on end-user feedback, A/B testing and experimentation allows you to develop better software and make improvements that ultimately meet user expectations. Experiments also help validate the business impact of the tested features on the organization’s KPIs.

A/B testing and experimentation are powerful strategies that drive software development. Both allow you to identify bugs and scalability issues that could not have been foreseen before release and limit their impact on end users. Experimentation also gives you insight into user needs and expectations so you can tailor your software and updates accordingly.

A/B testing and experimentation enable faster and safer rollout of user-focused features and software 

Better testing, safer rollouts

The cornerstone of feature management tools, like Unleash, is the ability to gradually ship small releases of software into production. With Unleash, selected features and updates can be released more quickly for testing and gradual rollout to a controlled group of users to identify potential issues, minimize risk, and make rollouts safer.

The feature management platform also enables organizations to implement the continuous delivery of microservices approach, as effective feature flag management provides control over application behavior without requiring an additional round of reviews and testing. This allows developers to combine testing with feature delivery, resulting in an optimized user experience.

In addition, feature rollouts do not affect the stability of the software, allowing developers to add new functionalities to applications and/or web products more quickly and securely.

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