Improve Your Tech Stack: Spend the rest of your annual budget in Q4
Believe it or not, the end of Q4 is quickly approaching. It’s a critical time as many development teams look to spend the rest of their annual budget and improve their tech stack before the New Year. What’s more? A lot of teams aren’t making extensive code changes in Q4, which means you might have more time on your hands to evaluate new tools or development processes that could save you time and money after January 1st.
What are your goals for the new year?
Setting goals is a great way to narrow the scope of which tools you’re looking to implement, and which your team would truly benefit from. Let’s take a look at some key goals a feature management solution like DevCycle would help your team achieve:
Adopting a CI/CD pipeline:
Feature flags enable agile and decisions and improve CI/CD by allowing devs teams to automate their testing & release processes. Firstly, teams can use DevCycle’s feature flags to decouple deployments from releases. This means if you’re launching a new feature that requires several teams to build and release, but you want to avoid asking teams to pause their work just because another team isn’t done with their changes yet, the teams that are done can deploy and test their code in production to be sure it functions properly.
Furthermore, when the feature passes the automated testing requirements and is ready to be shown to users, your team can automate a gradual rollout. In other words, you can have the feature set to be released to 5% of users on day 1, 10% on day 2, and so on, to be sure it’s working properly and mitigate any bugs before 100% of your users see it.
Increasing deployment frequency:
As mentioned above, feature flags help teams decouple releases from deployments, which increases deployment frequency in and of itself. But there’s more to the picture. According to Google’s State of DevOps Report in 2022, the highest performing development teams release code on demand, multiple times per day. If your team is still stuck on massive end of month or quarterly feature releases that take weeks or months to code, test, and release, you’re moving too slowly.
Feature flags enable teams to continuously test, release, and rollback code, which allows them to make smaller, less risky changes to code every day–thus increasing their deployment frequency.
Improving feature quality via testing:
If you’re focused on feature quality in the new year, feature flags are your go-to for releasing quality features that actually move the needle. A proper feature management solution like DevCycle supports multiple forms of testing including:
1. Gradual rollouts – You can control what percentage of your users see your feature when it’s first released to monitor its performance among a smaller number of users before releasing to your entire user base. Gradual rollouts allow teams to catch bugs and iterate quickly to improve feature performance before everyone sees it.
2. A/B testing – A/B testing is a smart way to improve the content on your site and increase engagement. When you analyze the results of a test and use them to inform your decisions moving forward, A/B testing helps you make improvements to your content that drive engagement.
3. Beta testing – We recently released Feature Opt-In: a way to let your users try new or advanced features before they’re available to everyone else. This enables a wide array of possibilities like beta program management, self-serve preferences, QA debug menus and more — all giving your users more control over their experience.
While Q4 and the holidays are undoubtedly a busy time of the year, many dev teams decrease the amount of code they’re shipping to production and new feature releases. Some even implement code freezes and stop all new releases to reduce the chance of bugs or downtime during some of the highest traffic months of the year.
If this is the case on your team, we encourage you to spend some of your Q1 planning time evaluating tools that will actually improve development performance in the new year.
DevCycle is committed to helping teams evaluate our platform in whatever way is easiest for them:
- Self serve: Create your DevCycle account for free today, and start using the platform. No demos, salespeople, or credit cards required. This option is best for people who know exactly what they’re looking for in a feature management tool, and are self-taught learners (with the help of our docs, of course).
- Hands on: Chat with a product specialist about your needs, goals, and any questions you have. We’ll show you a product demo, and walk you through some feature flagging and CI/CD best practices. This option is best for people who are looking for guidance in their evaluation process, and would like their specific questions answered in real time.
DevCycle’s platform and feature flags are relatively simple to implement–we made sure this would be the case before releasing our platform. In fact, you can start using our feature flags with as little as three additional lines of code. We also have full SDK support and integrate seamlessly into your existing workflow.
We’ve got lots of supporting resources to help you get feature flags up and running in your organization before the new year:
- How Are Feature Flags Implemented
- Getting Started With Feature Flags
- Your Complete Guide to Feature Management
- DevCycle Docs
- General DevCycle First Experience
We’re firm believers that anytime you introduce a new tool or strategy into your workflow, you should be setting clear expectations for, and measuring, the results. Measuring the success and impact of new development processes is crucial to ensuring your team is always well-equipped with tools and processes that actually drive growth.
We like to use DORA metrics to measure the impact that feature flags and other new development processes have on our overall performance. They’re a great way to motivate your team to use feature flags, measure their impact on things like deployment frequency and mean time to recovery, and provide rationale to your senior leadership team on why they’re an effective tool.
Ultimately, a well-established feature management solution like DevCycle is a prime candidate for teams looking to spend the rest of their 2022 budget on a tool that will actually improve performance and drive organizational change in the new year. What’s more? DevCycle’s Developer Plan is free – so you can start using DevCycle before deciding if you want to spend the rest of your budget on a paid version of it.