Today’s business climate requires organizations to go fast and be adaptive. Leading firms are differentiating themselves through rapid innovation — they simply can’t afford to plod along, releasing code once in a blue moon. Instead, they are getting innovation into production quickly and are willing to try new ideas directly with end users. But moving that quickly and experimenting with new ideas in production often clashes with strict governance policies and hesitant leadership focused squarely on risk avoidance. It’s a delicate balance. Too much focus on avoiding risk stifles creative innovation. Eventually, every business needs to make a bold move to differentiate itself from the competition. What’s the answer?

Our research found that feature management and experimentation (FM&E) technology can help provide the balance between experimentation and risk. FM&E technology lets software development teams safely deploy and then release code in a very controlled manner using modern feature toggles. Furthermore, when trying new ideas such as faster checkout flows or different user interfaces, developers are able to leverage experimentation capabilities to expose two different experiences to similar audiences at the same time to see which one performs better in production. And since these tools are backed by statistical engines, they can quickly help product managers determine winning experiences to further their experience optimization efforts.

If we look under the hood, FM&E works by wrapping new code in logic that lets the code determine at run time if and when it should be displayed and to whom. Most commercial offerings include a dashboard for creating the business rules that govern these operations, making these capabilities accessible to product managers who might not otherwise have a coding background.

Could this be the solution to your risk vs. reward challenges? Find out more by attending my upcoming presentation at Forrester’s Technology & Innovation North America Forum, November 2–3, where I will be discussing feature management and experimentation technology in much more detail and explaining how some leading firms use this technology to accelerate their innovation cycle and deliver better code with better results.