Feature Flags and Continuous Deployment: A Perfect Match for Agile Development


Today, software development processes need to be elastic. It is not enough to produce a digital solution and move to another. In this article, we will focus on the role of feature flagging in such conditions. We will also talk about the benefits of agile development with a continuous deployment strategy.

Yes. Many software houses worldwide implement agile development because it allows delivering final products in parts. It is important to understand that even seemingly simple apps can be quite complex indeed. They can have many features and options available. Plenty of additional elements that can fully satisfy end-users in the financial industry, for example, or e-commerce. With agile development strategy, the production of particular elements is more practical and efficient. The end-users receive new features gradually. They are fully tested, so a massive crash of the whole app can be avoided. That’s good for the users, software developers and most of all – their clients.

The popularity of the agile development methodology comes hand in hand with the availability of professional feature flagging solutions. It won’t be an understatement to say that without such products, agile feature deployment couldn’t work properly. After all, engineers need to plan those deployments and control them. Enabling or disabling access to certain features should be fluent and well-organized. The feature rollout also needs to be targeted accordingly to business requirements. Only a comprehensive tool for feature flags and continuous deployment can provide a comfortable release process, especially in big projects. Where to find such a tool? Try here: https://www.getunleash.io/feature-management.

The importance of feature toggles

Feature toggles (commonly used alternative term) provide engineers with an ability to switch on/off particular elements of a product. Therefore, those elements can be deployed to end-users silently, and activated at any given moment. They can lie dormant for a while until another element can be deployed, which is essential for the functionality of the first one. This way, a software house doesn’t have to deploy everything at once in a big, heavy update.

Besides, some app elements can become faulty. That shouldn’t be a reason to kill the whole app all of a sudden, don’t you agree? Turning certain features off can be therefore quite helpful in case of a failure. Agile development strategy is pragmatic, so it embraces an idea of possible problems. By using a feature toggle software, developers are always ready for such an event and react accordingly. All they need to do is to select an element and disable it before too many end-users get upset by the discomfort of a faulty feature.

And that brings us to feature testing. In agile development, running canary tests is extremely valuable. It happens in an everyday live environment with minimal impact to end-users. When the element is tested enough and receives a green light, it is pushed further to everyone using a particular product. The process is much more difficult than it actually sounds, but a comprehensive feature management software can make it as tensionless as it is possible. It can also save quite a lot of time, mind you.

As you can hopefully see, feature flagging and the agile development strategy are made for each other. A pragmatic and elastic approach to software production is the best way to create high quality apps. It is a good idea to read more about it.