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Feature Grouping by DevCycle

Madison Maher


What is Feature Grouping?

We talk about Feature Grouping a lot here at DevCycle. It’s one of many features that separates us from traditional tools, and one of the many ways we simplify developers' lives and workflows. So, it’s time we take a Feature Grouping deep-dive: What is it? What does it solve? Why does it make us different? 

Feature Grouping allows dev teams to have multiple flags controlled within a single feature. This enables devs to manage multiple flags at once in a natural way that work together to form a complete feature. (Note: in our docs, we refer to these "flags" as variables.)

Even more notably, Feature Grouping lets you turn an entire feature "On" or "Off" — a feature can hold many flags — with a single switch! In other words, turning a feature “Off” also turns off all of the flags within it.

How does Feature Grouping make DevCycle different? 

Other feature flag management solutions require you to create complex feature flag dependencies when managing multiple flags within a single feature. 

In other tools, everything is separate. Each variation of a feature lives separately within disparate flags and can only be connected via automations or prerequisites that you have to set up and manage. This means you’ve got to do a lot of heavy lifting to ensure that flags are working together, and to clearly understand how they’re working together.

Let’s say, for example, you had two feature flags controlling different aspects of a feature – one for the frontend, one for the backend. In other tools, if you turn the backend flag off, you may think the frontend is also turned off. But if there’s an issue with the dependencies and automations you’ve built out, you can’t actually be sure the frontend turned off, displaying a potentially broken experience to your users. 

Why should dev teams care?

We all want a feature flagging solution that makes our lives easier. With Feature Grouping, DevCycle allows you to see all of your flags and variations of a feature in a clean, single view so that you can better understand and manage them. 

Feature Grouping solves is the complexity of managing multiple flags.

With traditional feature flagging tools, UI becomes more complex as your flag usage increases, and flag management actually becomes more difficult. This makes the tools counterproductive. Developers end up spending more time building out automations and prerequisites to group flags than they do actually building their product – and that’s a lose-lose situation. Or worse yet, they opt to not use feature flags because they find it too complex or risky.

But perhaps the biggest reason developers love Feature Grouping is because it mirrors the way their team works

Engineers and developers often work in projects to build or improve features that might have anywhere from 10-100 (or more) tickets associated with them. So, instead of forcing teams to manage the control of all of those tickets within a single flag, DevCycle’s Feature Grouping allows teams to have a flag for any combination of tickets they see fit, and manage all of the tickets (flags) in a single view. (Granted, you will likely not need a flag for every single ticket. But if you want a flag for every ticket, go right ahead. It’s easy to manage!) 

It’s our mission to build thoughtful tools that developers actually want to use.

Feature Grouping is a valuable and intuitive way for developers to manage their feature flags more efficiently. It solves the complexity of managing multiple flags and makes it very clear how flags are related to each other. 

Visit our docs for more information on Feature Grouping, or set up your DevCycle account and get started with feature flags in your own org today!

Written By

Madison Maher