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A New Release Strategy: Preparing for Teams Release

Office 365 empowers individuals, teams, and entire organizations with the broadest and deepest toolkit for collaboration. Office 365 is designed to meet the unique workstyle of every group with purpose-built, integrated applications: Outlook for enterprise-grade email; SharePoint for intelligent content management; Yammer for networking across the organization; Skype for Business as the backbone for enterprise voice and video; and now, Microsoft Teams, the new chat-based workspace in Office 365.

 

When introducing a new technology to your users and organization, adoption and satisfaction do not occur by accident and require planning and deliberate preparation. Does your organization have a Microsoft Teams release plan? Will users know to install the application on desktop and mobile devices or access the service through a browser? And is your help desk prepared to support and guide less tech savvy users and VIPs?

 

Learn more and get ready with these great resources!

 

 

 

 

Here at Microsoft, we like to provide our users with access to the latest and greatest productivity innovation as soon as it is available. We empower employees to choose their preferred method of collaboration and productivity while enabling mobility of experience. However, we are a company of technologists and "eat our own dogfood." Most enterprise and government organizations follow a more structured ITIL model of plan, build, release with corresponding communications and support processes.

 

While putting these processes and supporting resources in place, you need control of your users' experience. Yes, Microsoft wants your organization to realize the full potential of Office 365, and we would prefer if you use all of the powerful applications and services. However, we've heard your feedback and recognize the need to meet your organization's security, compliance, and support requirements. That's why we took a new approach with Microsoft Teams.

 

During the Public Preview period, Microsoft Teams was available for use, but it was disabled at a tenant level by default. At any time of your choosing, an admin could enable the application for your organization. As we approached General Availability, we introduced the per user licensing capability, which allows an organization to enable Microsoft Teams for specific users as defined by you. This is important and the key to our approach. At General Availability on March 14, the tenant level switch will default to ON but it will continue to respect the per user licensing.

 

By using the per user controls, your organization can define a release strategy that is appropriate for your organization. Start with IT Pros and Help Desk folks, expand to Power Users / Champions, and then roll out the application across business units, geographies, or any other subset of users that you choose. Not only does this make targeted release possible, but it also allows you to determine when the new application should be made available to your users. You know your rhythm of business better than Microsoft, and we don't want to surprise your organization during a critical period.

 

Tenant admins can control the org wide setting in the Admin Center (Settings -> Services & add-ins -> Microsoft Teams), and per user settings can be configured in the Admin Center (Active users -> [User] -> Product licenses) or via powershell script for bulk editing. Let's break it down and get specific with screen shots.

 

 

Tenant with Microsoft Teams:

 

Teams on.JPG

 

Tenant without Microsoft Teams:

 

Teams off.JPG

 

User with Microsoft Teams:

 

Teams license.JPG

 

User without Microsoft Teams:

 

Teams license off.JPG

 

Unless the Tenant AND User has Microsoft Teams enabled, the user experience is this:

(note: admins receive a different view that includes resources to learn more about Teams)

 

No Teams.JPG

 

At General Availability of Microsoft Teams on March 14, we will automatically switch the tenant wide control to ON. Now is your opportunity to remove user licenses if you're not prepared, and hopefully you've been reviewing communications in the Message Center. On February 14, we published the following notification (MC93471):

 

Microsoft Teams has been in preview for several months. We hope that you had the opportunity to evaluate it for your organization.

 

As we communicated in December, in MC89318, Microsoft Teams is currently off by default at the tenant level. Later this quarter, Microsoft will begin enabling Microsoft Teams to be on by default at the tenant level, for all eligible users with the appropriate license assignment. IT admins can continue to manage user access to Microsoft Teams via license assignments.

 

This message is associated with Office 365 Roadmap ID 61652.

 

[How does this affect me?]

When we make this change, the ‘Turn Microsoft Teams on or off for your entire organization’ setting in ‘Settings > Services and Add-ins > Microsoft Teams’, will go from a default value of “off” to a default value of “on”.

 

Microsoft Teams will then be available to all eligible users with the appropriate license assignment. Once we turn Teams on-by-default, it will become available to those users. IT admins can continue to manage user access to Microsoft Teams via license assignments.

 

Microsoft Teams will be rolled out gradually to all eligible Office 365 users later this quarter.

 

Microsoft Teams is available in the following Office O365 commercial suites: Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Enterprise E1, E3, and E5 plans. Microsoft Teams will also be available to existing E4 customers who purchased E4 before its retirement. Microsoft Teams is not available to Education and Government customers at this time.

 

[What do I need to do to prepare for this change?]

If you do not rely on this setting to govern user access to Microsoft Teams, there is no action you need to take. Learn more by going to http://teams.microsoft.com.

 

If you currently rely on this setting to govern user access to Microsoft Teams, please migrate over to managing access via user licensing. Please click Additional Information to learn more, including how to use license assignments to enable or disable user access through Office 365 Admin center and PowerShell.

 

This release strategy with tenant and user level controls is an evolution based on YOUR feedback. You've been asking for control, predictability, and clear communications. As the product marketing manager for Office 365 release and change management and a member of the Office 365 Change Council, I hope we are making improvements in the right direction. Please continue providing feedback, let us know if this is a step in the right direction, and keep the suggestions coming!

 

Microsoft's intention is to develop innovative new collaboration and productivity experiences that empowers private and public sector organizations to achieve more than ever before. We are building applications and services on top of the Office 365 platform with built in security and compliance so that your organization can focus on aligning technology to organization and mission opportunities and needs. Our hope is that you will fall in love with Microsoft Teams and leave it enabled or quickly release it to your users.

 

Enjoy Microsoft Teams, and I look forward to your feedback on our approach!

 

Brian Levenson

Product Marketing Manager

Office 365 Release and Change Management

 

(Edited March 13: Corrected typo in "Microsoft Teams" and added context paragraph for the full suite of collaboration tools.)

13 Comments
Valued Contributor

These are superb resources but man oh man the complexity.  I don't understand how people can just unleash Groups and Teams on there organizations with little to no controls.  I have a hard enough time keeping up and understanding the breadth of Teams (and I consider myself quite an o365 pro), I'll be curious to see how "Joe Business User" can learn all the nuances and adopt.

Occasional Contributor

Our Tenant setting is ON and our Users licenses are assigned but still we are getting the same error when we try to sign in.

This is totally a mess... definitely something is not working in the backend. Please fix it.

Trusted Contributor

@Brian Levenson please send a Big Thank You to the person that wrote the  "What are the technical requirements for Microsoft Teams? How does Exchange hosting change what users can do in Teams?" section of the FAQ page at https://support.office.com/en-US/article/Frequently-asked-questions-about-Microsoft-Teams-%E2%80%93-...

 
That type of info has been very difficult to find for many previously released products, i.e. O365 Groups and Planner.
Microsoft

@Brent Ellis, I interpret your comments to be the complexity of the productivity platform (rather than the specific app). You're absolutely right that Office 365 is a broad and deep set of tools, and there is certainly overlap between the applications. It is Microsoft's responsibility to build intuitive solutions that work the way people expect, and it is also Microsoft's responsibility to provide you with insight, guidance, and use cases to take advantage of the productivity experiences. That's on us, and we intend to keep making this easier for you.

 

However, we also have overlapping capabilities intentionally. At Microsoft, we view a modern workplace as mirroring our consumer lives in many ways. People expect to work in the office the same way they collaborate in their personal lives. In my personal life, I have a million options, and I want to collaborate where I am, when I'm there. Should I send an email or an SMS? The modality matters less than the efficiency in reaching my friends/family. At work, people often take a similar approach and start using consumer services when IT does not provide the experience that they want. Thus, Office 365 provides many different ways to acheive the same means. The intention is to minimize the risk of shadow IT, where teams or individuals start using unsanctioned services. Your organization's data should be discoverable, manageable, and protected, which is why Office 365 info protection features integrate deeply throughout the entire suite. We want you to feel comfortable with the compliance, empowered by the security, and freed to let your users choose their preferred experience and work style.

 

@Dean Gross, thank you for the feedback! I strongly agree with the kudos to this team and the need to continue on a similar path for future services and apps. Robust documentation with accurate and insightful guidance is a critical component of our change and release management strategy. Historically, you could build a test environment, play with new capabilities, and build your own documentation and help content. Now that Microsoft operates the infrastructure and makes the new software available to you at release, it is crucuial that we provide you with the appropriate information earlier.

 

@Christian Pezzin, I'm sorry to hear that your experience isn't what we expect. I would suggest opening a support case for investigation and troubleshooting. If your organization subscribes to US Government, Germany, China, or Education services, this may be intended until Microsoft Teams is avialble in those offerings.

Occasional Contributor

Case opened. We'll see if I can fix it in that way. Thanks! :)

Contributor

@Brian Levenson -- this is a huge step in the right direction!  This method of rolling out new services, coupled with the recent announcement about using groups to manage licenses, is awesome.

Senior Member

@Brian Levenson - thanks so much for this resource, I went to launch Intro to Teams virtual academy course from your link and received a retired course error, I couldn't find anything updated relating to Teams in the courses list - is there somewhere else I should be looking? Thanks!

 

2017-03-15_12-16-23.png

Microsoft

Thanks for the heads up, @Angi Lundy! That course must have been retired recently since it worked when I published the article on Friday. I did a quick search and didn't find a replacement course, so for now, I've just removed that resource from this post.

Senior Member

It looks like the new academy stuff and other great resources are linked on Karuana's deployment post from earlier today: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/Guidance-for-a-Successful-Microsoft-Team...

 

You guys are awesome, thanks so much for providing all the great information for a successful rollout.

Regular Contributor

For EDU, Teams is disabled but our users licenses were/are acitvated automatically as well. The admin control is disabled, so we can't turn it on and off to remove these licenses.

 

Because of these licenses the Teams tile became visible to all our users resulting in errors when they are trying to log into Teams (using the tile).

 

I'm sorry, but from an EDU point of view I don't consider it a succesful rollout yet.

Frequent Contributor
Experienced totally the same in my edu tenant. At the admin center page it says that Teams is not available for edu subscriptions, yet there is an on/off switch, which I have set to off. Yet the Teams tile appeared, resulting an error for those attempted to use it.
Contributor

@Brian Levenson - Some feedback from EDU on the licensing of Teams.  On March 3rd, the Teams license appeared in our Tenant and was enabled for all 100,000 + users. (we have a script which notifies us of new O365 licenses so we were alerted when it appeared).  However, since we are EDU we cannot enable Teams at this point, so our users were seeing the new Teams icon and then getting the "Talk to your administrator" message when trying to access Teams.  Since we have 100,000 + users in our tenant, it then takes us close to a day to disable the license via Powershell and our Help Desk has to deal with the end user confusion.

 

We have provided feedback in past on how the "automatic enabling" of new features impacts large environment who need time to plan, manage and communicate new services or features, so I just wanted to take opportunity to reiterate that point.

New Contributor

Great to see the EDU tenancies speaking up! We are a tenancy of well over a million users. With the most lightning reflexes capable, immediate notifications of the new licence option, and most agile governance business decisions, there is no way that we would have been able to prevent the Teams icon from being presented to users. How much fun it is to have the error message directing users to "Ask your IT administrator for access".