Feature Flag Rollbacks for Product Managers

Product managers are answerable for deciding what merchandise to develop that align with the corporate’s targets and likewise fulfill the wants of the purchasers. To be a profitable product supervisor, you must begin by defining what a profitable product seems like and iterate over it till it is proper. To take action, you must perceive that at its core, a product is damaged down into its options and high quality of person expertise.

Nonetheless, when creating these options, even after completely testing them in your growth setting for potential bugs and points which will negatively influence person expertise, it might not at all times be adequate to make sure a profitable launch to customers.

What’s a Characteristic Rollback?

Relating to characteristic supply, issues do not at all times go in line with plan. A characteristic may match completely tremendous when examined in growth, however could not operate as anticipated or could obtain poor person acceptance when it hits manufacturing or will get launched to customers.

A characteristic rollback is a technique to rapidly undo a characteristic rollout (launch) by reverting the code adjustments again to the earlier state with out the characteristic’s launch – In different phrases, it’s the motion of “un-releasing” or “rolling again” the characteristic from manufacturing again to growth and undoing entry to it, so customers are now not uncovered to it.

Why is Characteristic Rollback Essential to Product Managers?

These days, software program growth is about pace and effectivity in the case of characteristic releases, UI enhancements, and bug fixes. It’s finally a product supervisor’s accountability to handle a product all through its lifecycle from the phases of creating, testing, deploying, to lastly rolling out options to customers.

Characteristic rollback is vital each time these adjustments are pushed into manufacturing or a characteristic is launched to customers as a result of sudden behaviors can nonetheless happen, which may negatively influence customers and even result in service disruption.

When points are detected throughout a characteristic launch or the characteristic isn’t nicely acquired, a rollback workflow is required to right away safeguard your customers and their expertise by rapidly rolling again the characteristic when you iterate or work out the basis explanation for the issue.

A characteristic rollback is due to this fact important to product managers in preparation for conditions the place issues do not go as deliberate as a result of it helps guarantee a swift response to detected points and fast decision with out having to fret about its disruption to manufacturing operations which may result in sudden prices.

Use Case Situations for Characteristic Rollback Technique

There are a number of case eventualities the place having a rollback technique in your growth workflow and launch cycle will be the fitting answer:

The Characteristic Performs Poorly After its Launch

Even supposing we would prefer to consider our customers are like us, they aren’t. We would speculate that we perceive our customers and what they need as clients. Nonetheless, each determination to develop a characteristic is at greatest, a guess and with out precise real-world suggestions, a probable shot at midnight at what these customers need.

Suppose you develop a brand new characteristic primarily based on this assumption, after which, after it’s launched, you uncover that it’s performing poorly as a result of customers don’t prefer it. The place do you go from there?

It’s possible you’ll need to carry out a characteristic rollback in order to “un-release” this characteristic from its dwell setting again to its growth setting and collect as a lot real-world person suggestions as you may from this launch.

You possibly can then iterate with the newly acquired knowledge to make enhancements to the characteristic or provide you with a greater initiative, so person expectations are higher met.

A Characteristic Bug sneaks its manner onto Manufacturing

Think about you developed a brand new messaging characteristic and earlier than releasing it to customers, it passes via a number of rigorous QA and inner testing processes. This testing helps uncover bugs and potential issues within the newly developed characteristic which can be later resolved earlier than it’s deployed to manufacturing.

Nonetheless, after releasing this messaging characteristic to customers, an odd bug is encountered that stops customers from sending messages. In such sudden conditions the place a characteristic behaves in another way in manufacturing because of bugs or different technical points. With the intention to repair it, you’ll seemingly should roll again the characteristic.

A rollback choice offers you a near-real-time response to main issues equivalent to these that happen throughout a characteristic launch.

Growing a Rollback Possibility Utilizing Characteristic Flags

Feature flags for product managers
A characteristic flag is a straightforward technique to toggle on or off sure performance for some or your whole customers. This toggling will be achieved with out the energetic participation of your growth crew through a person interface supplied by corporations that supply characteristic flags as a service. Thus, giving not simply builders, but in addition non-technical members of a product management entry to run assessments, and experiments or incrementally roll out a characteristic to customers.

Characteristic flags management who sees and has entry to a characteristic and can be utilized to interrupt your characteristic launch into incremental rollouts via person segmentation. That is achieved by first exposing the characteristic to only some of your customers, equivalent to your inner customers or beta testers in manufacturing. After gathering suggestions from these preliminary customers, you may then regularly roll it out to the remainder of your customers till each person has entry.

Most significantly, characteristic flags include kill switches to facilitate a fast rollback of a characteristic at any time if issues do not go as deliberate. This empowers you as a product supervisor and your growth crew with the flexibleness to adapt to sudden adjustments as the necessity arises.

Utilizing Characteristic Flags to Carry out A/B Assessments and Experiments

A/B testing using feature flags

A product supervisor is consistently tasked with including worth to merchandise and delivering new buyer experiences by bringing their greatest concepts to life. That is achieved by conducting person experiments and market analysis to achieve perception into what product concepts would carry out as deliberate and even higher earlier than making a remaining determination on what to maneuver ahead with.

Characteristic flags embody highly effective customized concentrating on functionalities that provide you with, your engineers and advertising groups management entry to carry out real-world experiments to raised perceive your customers. As well as, testing extra options with extra folks early in its growth cycle helps you lower sure dangers whereas additionally gaining enterprise insights earlier than making remaining rollout choices.

With characteristic flags, you may construct high quality into your product supply by working dwell A/B assessments on customers to experiment along with your concepts with a view to discover out which thought performs higher with customers. This ensures that your concepts match each buyer expectations and your organization’s goal.


The deployment course of is inherently dangerous, and there will be many unexpected pitfalls. Nonetheless, you continue to have so as to add new options to your merchandise to maintain your clients completely satisfied. Having a characteristic flag rollback choice in a growth workflow lets you check new options in a real-world setting earlier on of their growth circle whereas avoiding the commonest dangers of deployment and lowering dangers of failure, which lets you higher serve customers.

By making it simpler for product managers to decide on which concepts and options to launch or roll again; to whom and when; characteristic flags assist bridge the hole between steady innovation and frequent deployments to manufacturing. Product managers are capable of set their corporations other than rivals by orchestrating distinctive person experiences that drive long-term success with this stage of management supplied by characteristic flags.

Most significantly, you don’t should burden your engineers with the duty of constructing do-it-yourself characteristic flags as there are corporations equivalent to ConfigCat that conveniently supply characteristic flags as a service – making configuring and managing your flags a dashboard away.

To be taught extra about turning into a greater product supervisor utilizing characteristic flags, you may comply with ConfigCat on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook

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