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Using Feature Flags for Permission Levels | DevCycle

Ann McArthur

How to use permission feature flags

A permission feature flag, also known as a feature toggle or release toggle is used to manage different product features that are gated based on specific user's properties. These can be used for showing premium features that aren’t available for users who are on a free plan, allowing for beta opt-in features, gating users based on their permission levels, and testing new feature releases with internal users prior to a release.

Gating premium features

If you have a free and paid premium version of your app or website, permission feature flags can help you gate premium features from your free users and automatically give permission to users when they register for a premium account.

By simply setting up your feature flag so that it’s only visible to users who meet specific criteria such as “premium user = true” then the feature flag will automatically give that user access to premium features. This use case saves your engineering, software development, and product team time of granting individual users access to new features and it allows them to set up predetermined criteria on what features users at each level of a subscription will be able to gain access to. That way if you have various subscription levels, the features gated behind each subscription level’s feature flag will be shown instantly as a user increases their subscription level.

Alternatively, users who are not subscribed to a premium subscription and are using a free account will not gain access to paid features until they begin a paid account.

Opting into beta features

Product development has undergone a dramatic change. Beta testing is no longer a short phase that ends shortly before product launch. It’s no longer only limited to the pre-launch beta but also betas are now used as a best practice during the continuous improvement process such as new features, design changes, or other product improvements.

Beta testing is a way to evaluate the level of customer satisfaction and verify readiness for a new release. Usually, beta tests include surveys and tasks to guide users in their engagement and allow them to discover new features. The goal is to gain feedback and make a decision as to whether or not it is ready to be released.

Beta testers should be prepared for a nearly complete but sometimes buggy product. The aim is to identify and fix critical/important issues and make user experience improvements before launching the product to everyone.

Beta testing is a critical part of the process of releasing a new product. It requires a diverse team of experts, including UX experts, quality management professionals, and product representatives. In beta, it’s also important to recruit a subset of users from your target market.

If you have a new feature in your existing product you can also show the feature to all your users but add in a “beta” tag to signify it’s new. From there, you can get your users to sign up to gain access to using the beta feature. Once they sign up for the beta feature, they will gain access to the feature flag that the beta feature is hidden behind.

Gating users based on their permission levels

Permission features are also useful for gating certain features for users based on their role. You could give users on your team access to features based on their department. For example, you may not want someone on the marketing team to have the same backend access as a developer or engineer. By limited access through feature flags, you can ensure users only see features that are applicable to their role. This also helps keep your team organized since users don’t get overwhelmed by having access to everything. They just see the features they need.

Alternatively, if someone needs access to a feature, you can use feature flags to quickly change their permission levels. An example of this would be if you’re about to launch a new feature and want only the QA team to view it. By simply changing their permissions you could have the new feature be visible to just them and not the rest of your team. You could also change it so that only internal users could get access to a feature before releasing it to your real users.

Learn more with DevCycle

Permission feature flags are an invaluable resource for your team. They allow you to gate users and automatically grant them access to new features as soon as they enter a new subscription tier. They also allow for easy beta testing and managing user permission levels.

DevCycle is a feature flag management platform that allows you to easily implement permission feature flags.

Get started with a 14-day free trial of DevCycle.

Written By

Ann McArthur