What is feature rollout?
Feature rollout is a methodical and strategic release of a new feature to a product, such as an app. The objective is to reduce the risk of errors, hotfixes, and negative impacts on the user experience. The feature is introduced in a controlled setting, where it undergoes testing for proper functioning before being made available to all users.
There are several approaches to feature rollout, with the three most critical being continuous delivery, continuous integration, and continuous agile development. These techniques are not mutually exclusive and often overlap. Following is a brief overview of each technique:
Continuous integration is the practice of integrating new code into the existing system. Before releasing a new feature, errors are automatically rectified. In this practice, the focus is more on automated testing to ensure that the new integration doesn’t cause any errors or breakage in the system.
It’s a practice of feature rollout which automates code building, testing, and deploying. The deployment team can decide the feature release date and frequency. It reduces the lead time between code development, production, and release. Continuous delivery leads to faster deployment of new features to the end user.
Continuous agile development
In this practice, no human involvement happens at any stage of the production pipeline, and a new feature fails to deploy if it fails in the pre-release test. It leads to a faster rate of feature release.
Feature rollout process
A feature rollout process aims to deploy an error-free and tested feature. So, let’s explore the steps involved in the process of feature rollout:
A plan for the new feature is created based on a hypothesis, use cases, and user feedback. Also, the design stage clearly defines the goal and timeline for the feature rollout.
Develop a release strategy
Once the design of the feature is complete, a rollout strategy is devised, including pre and post-rollout experimentation and a feedback mechanism. The goal of the strategy is to smoothly roll out the feature and continuously improve it based on user feedback.
At this stage, the development team builds the feature through multiple cycles.
The feature is tested in controlled environments to fetch any errors in functionality and faults in the code. The aim is to test the feature for its purpose and user experience.
After testing the feature, it is released in the live market for the end user. The feature is released gradually in stages, depending on the strategy.
At this stage, feedback is gathered for monitoring the feature’s performance. Feedback mechanisms such as on-page surveys, dynamic heatmaps, session recordings, and event tracking provide valuable insights into how the feature performs in the real market.
After the initial rollout and optimization of the feature, it is critical to continuously monitor and make improvements based on user experience and feedback. Additionally, new features should be designed and introduced to meet user expectations.
Benefits of feature rollout
Feature rollout brings many benefits with it. Here are some of them:
- The rollout of new features ensures thorough testing of their functionality and impact on the user interface and experience. This minimizes the risk of errors and negative consequences from implementing new features.
- It speeds up the release of new features, enabling quicker product enhancement to keep up with the rapidly evolving market and user needs.
- Frequent feature rollouts generate more feedback from end users via both direct and indirect channels, making the product user-centered.
- It allows brainstorming on features, as A/B testing and beta testing give tons of feedback and vital information. This opens the door for team discussion and collaboration, further encouraging feature improvement.
- Feature rollout brings stability to the whole production pipeline as features are gradually deployed and tested for functionality.
Rollout features with VWO Fullstack
VWO Fullstack is a comprehensive server-side testing solution designed for enterprises. It enables server-side experimentation, cross-channel A/B testing, omnichannel deployment, feature flagging, and managing the feature lifecycle by rolling out features in stages and testing various feature variations. Further, with VWO Fullstack’s feature rollout, you can:
- Easily turn a feature on or off with a toggle control.
- Determine the specific environment(s) where the feature will be visible.
- Control the percentage of traffic included in the campaign by allocating it.
Get a complete server-side testing capability that allows you to integrate its SDK in just 15 minutes without affecting performance. Request an assisted free trial or live demo to see how it can enhance the overall digital experience across your product.