Getting great software products to market quickly is tough when there’s no way to get timely feedback from all stakeholders.  Once a product has been released in beta or in production, features may not perform as they’re supposed to, and there’s no easy way to customize who gets access to which features at a granular level.

LaunchDarkly solves those problems with its feature flag management and continuous delivery platform.  With it, software developers can build better quality products faster that truly align with the desires of their users.

“We have a platform where developers can allow different people, either within their organization or outside of their organization to see code,” said Edith Harbaugh, CEO and co-founder of LaunchDarkly.  “You can actually have functionality pushed out, deployed, live and then control access to the actual functionality of the code.”

In just two years, LaunchDarkly has become an important addition to the continuous integration and delivery stack, because it helps software teams develop and deploy applications faster.  Its feature flagging capabilities enable users to turn features on and off so developers don’t have to do it.  The software can be used to A/B test an application in beta, or control what users see and access at an individual level.

Notably, feature flags can be managed at enterprise scale across multiple development environment with flag statuses, auditing, and custom roles.

Microsoft, AppDirect and CircleCI are just a few of the companies taking advantage of the LaunchDarkly platform.

Get Valuable Feedback Faster
LaunchDarkly enables developers to get stakeholder feedback much faster.

“Everybody is getting access to this information in the SDLC,” said Harbaugh. “It could be as simple as your QA team being able to test features, your marketing team getting access, or designers doing usability tests – everybody in the lifecycle.”

One software team shaved two weeks off a multi-month project by getting QA user response faster than any of the other groups.  Now, the rest of the development teams in that organization also use LaunchDarkly.

Control Feature Access
LaunchDarkly gives development teams considerable control over how they user-test products and how they enable or disable features.  For example, if a piece of functionality isn’t working right, the feature can simply be turned off so it can be fixed later.  It’s also possible to slowly scale the delivery of features to a customer base to ensure there are no scalability issues.  If there are some users that should never see certain features, they can be blocked from seeing them. The availability of features can also be based on a user’s level of sophistication.  

LaunchDarkly can also be used to control the timing of feature availability.  That way, engineering can write test, and deploy software on their own schedule.  Meanwhile, the controls can be given to marketing so the product can be launched whenever marketing is ready.

If something goes wrong after a release, the problematic features can simply be turned off.

“You can do all of this without running a release so you don’t have to redeploy code, everything is just available so it saves you a lot of time and stress,” said Harbaugh. “If something breaks at 3:00 in the morning, you don’t need all hands on deck to diagnose and patch the issue.  You can just turn off the feature and keep it off until you figure out how to fix it.”

Developers embracing containers and microservices can use LaunchDarkly to control access to the microservices and to version the microservices.

Empower Others
Developers don’t need to control everything when their application is out in the wild.  If some users should have access to certain features and others shouldn’t, there’s no need for prolonged discussions and complicated processes that waste of valuable time.

A better solution is to put control in the hands of business users so, for example, one customer gets access to one set of features and another customer gets access to another set of features.  Different versions of a product can accomplish that, albeit not with the same precision.  

Alternatively, if a customer support issue arises, customer support can be trusted to control access without involving developers.

“The old way of doing things is archaic because developers had all the control over the code, and every time somebody wanted to enable access, you’d open up a ticket, it would get assigned to a developer and you’d have to wait for a release,” said Harbaugh.  “Developers are using our platform to offload that burden to the people who are closest to the problem, such as sales, marketing, or customer support.”

One of LaunchDarkly’s customers had to engage an engineer every time they wanted to change the way an application worked.  What used to take four or five days then, now takes two minutes.

Learn more at www.launchdarkly.com

About Lisa Morgan

Lisa Morgan is an analyst at Strategic Rainmakers.