Please note: This is a cross post from the Virtru Blog, dated June 16, 2023 by Jake Van Vorhis.
There is an ever-present tradeoff between speed and durability in engineering. Even if you’re cooking up boxed mac n cheese, there’s a spectrum that spans bare minimum utility on one side and needless hyper-optimization to the nth degree on the other side. Nobody wants uncooked noodles with still-dry cheese powder for dinner, but they’re also not expecting a couple of bucks at the grocery store to lead to a Michelin-quality in-home dining experience. It’s about balance.
As the Engineering org and Product roadmaps grow, the question “How can we make this happen?” needs to become “How can we make this happen quickly while not harming ourselves later on?” There is a priority switch from feature enablement to enablement while minimizing new tech debt. Paying the technical debt credit card bill is always painful, so navigating the speed and durability tradeoff effectively is one of the most important challenges teams face.
Last year, a feature in one of Virtru’s newer products kicked off an exploration into Feature Flags. What follows is a recap of that journey. I hope you have your cheesy mac ready.