In the world of software and product development, it is all about speed. That is because the world and technology are rapidly changing, and businesses need to keep up with it. Feature updates, bug fixes, UI changes, and more are done in real-time. Because of this, users are accustomed to updates and expect the issue to resolve immediately. In such a fast-paced environment, there is a way to maintain visibility in the release and take back control. That way is using feature flags.
Feature Flag Definition
The feature flag is the ability of a team to turn a functionality or feature on or off whenever they wish. Software development teams use these flags for many reasons. One of the most important reasons is that it allows engineering teams to distinguish between feature rollout and code deployment.
Besides that, the feature flag enables teams to toggle the on and off premium features depending on the account plan level. So, all organizations must be familiar with this term for better product development.
Types Of Feature Flags
There are various types of feature flags, and each is different based on the functionality. The top types of feature flags include:
- Feature rollouts: These are most common and utilized to gate the latest customer product features
- Bug fixes: Developers create bug fixes to fix specific bugs or test them in the production environment
- Operational: These are long-term feature flags that enable better control over the functional aspect of the product
- Permission: These determine which customers can have access to certain features of the product
There are also various other types of feature flags. However, these are the most common and important ones that almost all product and software developers use. It helps them customize the product and guarantee solutions in nearly real-time.
Feature Flags: Who Uses Them?
Multiple parts of the organization will use feature flags for many reasons. These include:
- Q/A Testing: Uses as part of test plans
- UI/UX Staff: Uses to experiment with various interaction designs and models
- Product Marketing: Uses to highlight product capabilities and test message
- Product Development: Uses it to add flag capability to the codebase
- Account Management: Uses it to offer various sets of functionalities to users
- Product Management: Uses it for each of the reasons stated above and for conducting other experiments
- Operations: Uses it to test the impact of specific capabilities and features
So, almost all the departments use it to ensure a smooth product or software development process. No matter what department you are in, it is an integral component of the product development process that benefits the organization and users.
While there is much more to feature flags, this is the basic definition and overview you must know about it. It is one of the simplest ways to toggle specific functionality for all or some of the entire user population. So, as an organization, you can use it to customize the product for specific users.