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Customer Experience as a Tool for Testing New Features

The majority of software developers believe that the final-user experience is the essential component of the features they create. The range of researches draws the inference that the companies realize the criticality of focusing on customer experience in order to stay afloat, therefore, this method of development is easily adjusted with the business objectives.

The latest Garner’s research shows that almost ninety percent of the companies consider customer experience to be an overarching factor in their business. In order to fulfill the requirements of the businesses, software vendors have always deployed the instrument and approaches to manage the applications they generate, tagging the problematic points by configuring the options and flags.

Forty years ago, in order to configure the code routs and to activate the experimental options, the software developers were using mechanisms such as preprocessor macros. When twenty years later the development communities have shifted to the principle of continuous delivery, they started using more fast-moving approaches to maintain stage deployment into the production process that doesn’t call for the transformations in a codebase.

The businesses that call themselves customer-oriented and digital-first still have to control the essential business parameters, for example, conversion factors and modifications in the involvement in each release. Nevertheless, the necessity for swifter development, increased number of iterations and deployments transform the method of how we handle the process.

The approaches to control and tagging that have been widely used for longer development cycles and blocky releases in the past are not suitable for fast and continuous cycles that are used nowadays. The experienced software developers will shift to more cyclic and trial process – flagging the features, in order to evaluate operational capability, productivity and customer’s reaction to the transformations in real-time mode.

The feature flags represent a more comprehensive approach to the deployments and the way to speed up delivery of the applications. It is the possibility to get insights from the users during the entire development cycle and to generate software products with mitigating the risks of failure or error.

Spend less time to get a response

Considering customer experience to be the most crucial parameter demonstrating whether the application has fulfilled the initial expectations, the vendor has to avoid situations when he gets a notification about some issue related to customer experience from the customer’s responsibility.

In a real situation, when deployment of a finished application, the vendor always takes some risk – from receiving the client’s complaint to incurring a financial loss.

One research proves that the hour of idle time will cost to the enterprise about one hundred thousand dollars at the mean. If it is not performed correctly, the problems that arise from the feature deployment can impact the vendor seriously and will make the development team taking prompt actions to find the cause of failure and to fix it.

It is common knowledge that the clients are very antagonistic against the software problems like idle time or slow downloading time, therefore, the time that passes between detection of the problem and figuring out the reason of its incurrence can be really crucial for a vendor’s popularity among existing and future customers.

Adhering to more conventional approaches to control and tagging, the development team is able only to get a notification on the problem after a vast part of the user’s product has been damaged. But when you control the deployment and tracing parameters throughout the course, you can detect the possible issues beforehand and decrease the destructive radius of the harmful effect.

According to IBM’s System Sciences Institute, the cost of fixing the error after it has been detected is four to five times bigger than the cost of repairing the error, found in the development process. Instead of wasting time and resources for finding the cause of an error or detection of time when it incurred, deployment of feature flagging provides software developers with the possibility to specify certain points of time and impact for change, and in case of necessity to call off the upgrade of software product in order to mitigate the effect on the customer experience.

Minimizing and controlling those risks in the development process means that developers can focus on preliminary diagnostics of the current status of the product and to enhance those features that may lead to the issues after release. Indeed, this strategy provides for avoiding the most unwanted problem by the customers – operational delay.

Real-time data is crucial

In order to meet the velocity of the business, the developers have to be able to code and modify software during the actual process and to justify the decisions on changes by data. The option of feature flags and trial iterations give developers the information required to achieve the successful feature modifications with pinpoint accuracy. By using the experimentation, you can assess the progress of technical parameters and connect them with the feature changes effected by compilations of practical information obtained from the real users.

This method ensures a range of increments, increasing the probability of successful release, and monitoring of the process. By using foolproof conditional statements, the software developers are able to trace which code is run and who is the recipient. One more important option is the ability to call off the features and upgrades in case the error is detected without damaging the customer experience.

The capability of controlling the changes in the real-time mode provides certain advantages for the development teams, business stakeholders and, what is crucial, for the customers who are the key elements of the application production and delivery process. The trial iterations restrict the vulnerability of software products to damage that may be caused by a sudden failure and, therefore, mitigates the harmful impact on the entire customer experience.

By deployment of incremental and trial methods in new upgrades integration, the companies can release new products and updates faster, safely and more productively. Moreover, the businesses can minimize the risks by establishing a more error-proof, highly accentuated and well-controllable process of application release.

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