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Streamlining DevOps Governance With Feature Flags


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Software development holds a pivotal role in the business world. It’s no longer just about developing software quickly and reliably; it’s also about the impact of the features being developed. This sentiment forms the basis for Impact-Driven Development, an approach that promotes the development of features that solve real problems and add tangible value.

An effective way to implement this methodology is through utilizing feature flags. Feature flags, or toggles, serve as control panels for activating or deactivating features, allowing for efficient testing and iterative software changes. If a digital hiccup occurs, the relevant feature can be swiftly turned off, preventing any further disruption.

Feature flags extend beyond simple feature control. They can streamline workflows and the approval process, set the stage for automation, optimize compliance, enable CI/CD (continuous integration and continuous delivery) plus continuous deployment, as well as minimizing the risk associated with launches. By doing so, they fortify governance in the DevOps realm, enabling an agile environment along with improved risk management and change management. This is why the introduction of feature flags into your development process represents an important step towards a modern, efficient DevOps governance model.

Unlocking the Potential of Feature Flags in DevOps Governance

If you’re looking for a powerful tool in DevOps governance, consider feature flags. These dynamic controls can streamline your software development and delivery process. 

Enhanced Control and Risk Management

Feature flags offer software developers unprecedented control. Imagine testing new features in real-time, without disrupting the existing application environment. Feature flags offer these capabilities. They enable swift deployment, testing, and iteration of software changes. 

The ability to toggle features on or off as needed allows for immediate issue resolution, ensuring the smooth operation of the application. This not only reduces development and cycle times, but also simplifies risk management by identifying and addressing potential issues before they cause disruption. This level of control also helps with cost management.

Boosting Agility and Simplifying Approvals

Feature flags align perfectly with DevOps teams focused on agility and speed. They allow for a streamlined approval process and workloads in software development. Gone are the days of waiting for a detailed review of each minute change in your software. With feature flags, you can get quick approvals for new features, roll them out selectively, or deactivate them if needed. This flexible approach enhances operational efficiency and enables faster decision-making.

Moreover, feature flags are essential for compliance. Navigating the complex regulatory requirements of the software industry can be challenging and time-consuming. Feature flags can alleviate this by enabling you to activate, deactivate, or selectively roll out features through well-defined controls and easily referenced audit trails, ensuring your software development environment remains compliant.

Optimizing Approvals and Compliance with Feature Flags

Streamlining Approvals

Approvals, a crucial yet often lengthy process in software development, can be drastically improved by feature flags. These switches let you activate or deactivate a new feature without disrupting the live environment, bypassing the need for an entire software release cycle for approval. If the feature fails to meet approval standards, you can adjust or switch it off, ensuring continuous service.

Maintaining Compliance Simplified

Compliance, a field often complicated by numerous regulatory requirements, becomes manageable with feature flags. These tools provide control over your features, allowing you to activate only those that adhere to regulations and deactivate non-compliant ones. Therefore, feature flags ensure a safe, compliant environment for software development and deployment.

Boosting Market Readiness

Feature flags don’t just streamline approvals and compliance; they also boost your market readiness. You can test new features in a live environment and make real-time adjustments without waiting for the next release cycle. This approach allows for faster, more efficient rollout of compliant features. If issues arise post-launch, a quick switch flip deactivates the feature, ensuring uninterrupted service.

Embrace feature flags and enhance your DevOps governance.

Embracing Impact-Driven Development: A New Approach to DevOps

Shifting from traditional software development, the focus is no longer merely on swift and reliable feature deployment. We’re entering an era where the true measure of success is the tangible impact of the features we develop, welcome to Impact-Driven Development.

Defining Impact-Driven Development

Impact-Driven Development emphasizes the real value a feature brings to an enterprise and its customers. It’s not about the speed of creation or smooth functioning. It’s about the tangible difference a feature can make.

Consider a new login process for a mobile banking app. Impact-Driven Development doesn’t only question, “Does the new login work? Is it quick?” It probes further, “Does the new login enhance user security? Does it simplify access to banking services? Does it decrease customer service calls regarding login issues?”

The Guiding Principles of Impact-Driven Development

Like any development approach, Impact-Driven Development has its foundational principles. Here’s what it prioritizes:

  • Customer value: The focus is not on what we perceive as valuable but on delivering what the customer deems valuable.
  • Data-driven decisions: While intuition has its place, hard data is paramount in development. This is about relying on data to assess the impact of a feature and to make informed decisions about next steps.
  • Iterative enhancement: The aim isn’t perfection at the first attempt. The goal is to continuously refine and improve features based on feedback and performance data.
  • Risk management: It’s important to acknowledge that all changes carry some risk. The objective here is to manage, not avoid, that risk. By implementing controlled rollouts and real-time monitoring, developers can mitigate risk while continuing development.

These principles guide our efforts towards the critical goal – making a positive impact with every feature we develop and doing so in a manageable, safe, and efficient way.

The Future of DevOps Governance

The future of DevOps governance hinges on Impact-Driven Development which positions feature flags at the center. Using feature flags gives you more control over your software development process. This approach eases approvals, improves compliance, and changes how you deliver value to customers.

Crucially, this process blends control and governance with speed and efficiency.

This change goes beyond operations—it makes a visible impact. It considers features that solve real problems and contribute to success—features that reflect in customer satisfaction. Split‘s Feature Data Platform gives you the tools to realize this vision.

Take a major step forward in your DevOps practice and gain more control over your releases through the use of feature flags, get started with Split. It’s time to experience how Impact-Driven Development can shape your operations. For more info and webinars related to DevOps, check out our videos.

More Detail on Types of DevOps Governance

DevOps governance refers to the set of policies, processes, and practices that organizations use to ensure effective collaboration and coordination between development and operations teams in the context of DevOps. There are various types of DevOps governance, each focusing on different aspects of the software development and delivery lifecycle. Here’s a quick summary of some key types:

Policy-based Governance

Policy-based governance involves defining and enforcing policies and rules that guide the development and operations processes in a DevOps environment. It ensures compliance with organizational standards, security requirements, and regulatory guidelines to streamline software development and delivery.

Financial Governance

Financial governance focuses on managing and optimizing the costs associated with software development and operation. It enables cost-effectiveness, budget compliance, and resource optimization, enabling organizations to make informed financial decisions in the DevOps practices.

Security Governance

Security ritgovernance integrates security practices throughout the entire DevOps lifecycle to identify and mitigate potential security risks. The benefit is that it enhances the overall security posture of software systems, protecting against vulnerabilities and ensuring compliance with security policies and regulations.

Compliance Governance

Compliance governance ensures that software development and delivery processes adhere to industry regulations, legal requirements, and internal policies. It’s all about mitigating legal and compliance risks, ensuring that the organization operates within established guidelines and avoids potential penalties.

Change Management Governance

Change management governance involves managing and controlling changes to the software system to minimize disruptions and ensure stability. Typically, it balances the need for innovation and continuous improvement with the importance of maintaining a stable and reliable environment, reducing the impact of changes on operations.

These types of DevOps governance are often implemented together to create a comprehensive and well-rounded approach that addresses various aspects of the software development and delivery lifecycle.

More Detail on Automated DevOps Governance

A DevOps automated governance pipeline is a systematic and automated approach to enforcing governance policies and practices throughout the software development and development teams . It integrates governance into the continuous integration/continuous delivery pipeline, allowing organizations to maintain control, compliance, and security without hindering the speed and agility of development and operations processes. Here’s the key components.

Policy Definition

Organizations define governance policies that align with their security, compliance, and operational requirements. These policies may cover areas such as code quality, security standards, compliance checks, and deployment guidelines.

Automated Checks

Automated tools and scripts are integrated into the CI/CD pipeline to perform checks and validations against defined policies. These checks occur at various stages of the pipeline, including code commits, build processes, testing, and deployment.

Policy as Code (PaC)

Governance policies are often expressed as code, a concept known as Policy as Code. This means that policies are written in a machine-readable format and stored alongside the application code, allowing for versioning, collaboration, and integration into the CI/CD pipeline.

Pre-Deployment Checks

Before code is deployed to production, the automated governance pipeline conducts pre-deployment checks. This ensures that code adheres to coding standards, security practices, and any other policies defined by the organization.

Continuous Monitoring

Automated governance is not a one-time activity. Continuous monitoring tools are employed to track the compliance status of applications and infrastructure in real-time. This helps identify and address any deviations from governance policies post-deployment.

Integration with Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

If Infrastructure as Code is part of the organization’s practices, the automated governance pipeline can extend its checks to infrastructure changes. This ensures that the infrastructure configurations adhere to security, compliance, and operational standards.

Audit Trail and Reporting

The pipeline generates an audit trail and detailed reports on policy compliance. This information is valuable for regulatory purposes, internal audits, and identifying areas for improvement in governance practices.

Feedback Loop

The pipeline provides immediate feedback to development and operations teams regarding policy violations or deviations. This enables quick resolution of issues and encourages a culture of continuous improvement.

Scalability and Consistency

Automation ensures that governance checks are scalable and consistently applied across different environments, reducing the risk of human error and ensuring uniform adherence to policies.

Flexibility and Customization

Organizations can tailor the automated governance pipeline to their specific needs, adjusting policies and checks based on the nature of the application, industry regulations, and internal requirements.

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The Split Feature Data Platform™ gives you the confidence to move fast without breaking things. Set up feature flags and safely deploy to production, controlling who sees which features and when. Connect every flag to contextual data, so you can know if your features are making things better or worse and act without hesitation. Effortlessly conduct feature experiments like A/B tests without slowing down. Whether you’re looking to increase your releases, to decrease your MTTR, or to ignite your dev team without burning them out–Split is both a feature management platform and partnership to revolutionize the way the work gets done. Schedule a demo to learn more.

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