The old development joke about “testing in production” has been a reality for a long time now, and in response engineering teams at most companies have cobbled together their own tools to test in production and release code to segments of their user base. These approaches often have mixed results: gains in time-to-release can come at the expense of the stability of user experience. The founders of Split were once those engineers themselves, building custom release tools internally at LinkedIn and RelateIQ (now: SalesforceIQ) before they decided to create a single service—a platform for controlled code rollout—that could deliver features for any company.
When Split came to Hero they had a viable product, but knew they needed to add features and re-think the user interface to scale beyond their beta test. Hero approached the project with intensive research, speaking to vice presidents of engineering at top enterprise startups and several engineering teams that had built their own code-release tools. We also met with the development, sales, executive, and marketing teams at Split to determine which user flows and features were critical to success. That exercise helped the team hone in on the key pain-points developers were experiencing, how they were addressing those problems internally, and what sort of UX approaches might help developers in the future.
In the design phase, the team focused first on the Split editor, helping to plan out what features it needed to have, how they would work, and how that functionality would be communicated to users. The team also talked through the brand and visual design of Split, deciding that it should be visually inviting and easy-to-use, but still harness the power of an enterprise-grade platform.
In just three months Hero delivered everything Split needed to build the next phase of its service. Split is now a controlled-rollout platform that goes beyond feature flags, enabling anyone to manage feature rollout for multiple languages, target users, monitor performance, and kill problem features.