We fooled ourselves first

Sami Springman
Wed Apr 06 2022

Dogfooding new features to your company using Feature Gates

Our team at Statsig was all too excited for April Fools, planning a funny video that got the whole company involved. While the sales team wrangled everyone around a Magic 8 Ball, Vijaye Raji (Founder & CEO) had his own April 1st surprise gated on the company’s website and he used Statsig’s own Feature Gates to test it out.

A few days before the new month, Vijaye launched a new version of the Statsig homepage only to our internal team. Statsigly was born…

Testing the feature internally, or dogfooding, before rolling it out to everyone isn’t just to get a rise out of the employees but a good practice for all features, even ones you are confident in shipping. We knew the simple changes to the homepage were a good idea, but opening these changes only to those visiting us from our office IP address gave us control to monitor any potential bugs, overall user experience, and to see if the idea worked in general (failing fast!). On April 1st, all we had to do was turn the Feature Gate to 100% Pass for Everyone because we had already tested it on ourselves.

Vijaye had more up his sleeve than just the company name change. He added an announcement banner with a statsigly.com link that took you to a crowd favorite too…

Though most companies aren’t using Feature Gates to “Rick Roll” their own innocent employees, they are able to use the same idea for allowing certain product attributes to be visible to users within specific criteria.

A common example (that Statsig’s website uses as well) is GDPR cookie consent for countries in the EU. Website cookies contain a wealth of data that can be used to identify users. GDPR allows companies to process their site visitors’ data with proper consent. Based on the country of the user, Feature Gates can enable companies to automatically show cookie consent banners or pop-ups based on where visitors are coming from.

Countries can be added or removed and the UI updated in real time without deploying new code. If a problem with the feature were to arise, it is no longer needed, or is only needed within certain parameters, the gate can be turned off just as easily. This is beneficial for launching features for time-sensitive events like sales promotions, peak hours, and seasonality.

These are just a couple examples of the broad capabilities of Statsig’s Feature Gates. Try the tool out for yourself at statsig.com/demo.

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