How do you use the Office 365 Roadmap for planning?

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Microsoft

The Office 365 Roadmap (roadmap.office.com) provides visibility to services, applications, and features that are under development, rolling out, and available.  Updated on a weekly basis, the Office 365 Roadmap also includes filters based on service, app, platform, and recently added/updated, as well as a search bar, to make it easy to find information.  Whenever possible, the feature item will include a link to additional information, which is often a blog post or support article.

 

What best practices have you developed for using the Office 365 Roadmap?

13 Replies
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Roadmap is a great tool to keep an eye on all upcoming chages with new/added services or fucntionalities.

 

After implementing first release pilot users i keep an eye on this portal.Make a note of items which are violating our GIS policies. Just to give an exampleO365 external groups can be added with external users for collaborations which is still under development etc.

 

I was wondering if MS can provide RSS feed for this website so that we would be notified immediately with changes happening with so many O365 Services?

 

Thanks 

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Hi Vinod, that approach makes a lot of sense!  Do you use the Message Center as well?

 

I can't commit to an RSS feed specifically, but we are evaluating the best way to deliver this type of functionality.  First, we're upgrading the backend infrastructure, which will give us greater flexibility.  That project is in the early phase, so it won't be terribly soon.  Are you interested in an RSS feed so that you can receive push notifications or integrate with a ticketing system?

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Hi,

 

i check message center everyday.

 

Yes i am interested in RSS feeds or some other mechanism so that i dont have to spend most of the time on this portal. It will make my life easier to share the particular roadmap item with my peers and upper management.

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Hi Brian, I refer to the Roadmap constantly in conjunction with the Message Centre. I often find I need to triangulate between these two assets and the Office Blog to get the full picture. What would be useful is for a date range on recently added / changed so I could refine down to that week's changes only. Sometimes the description of each change can be a little wide or general so refining on product or service would be useful. My best practice would be to ensure you read as widely as possible from the Microsoft documentation as you can an visit the network.
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Vinod-

 

I'm a big fan of RSS too.

 

It's not an official Microsoft feed but here's an RSS feed that I run for the roadmap:

 

http://feeds.feedburner.com/Office365RoadmapWatcher

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I find the roadmap very useful, and it's well featured now. Sometimes there is a lag between things being announced and the roadmap being updated, but I guess there is some fun inside Microsoft to join things together (e.g. Evernote to OneNote is still in Development, when it shipped last week). It's not a big issue.

The message center is ok, I would prefer it if could integrate with Planner so we can track there what actions and activity we are doing against each action.
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I rarely if ever check the Roadmap anymore due to the fact it really doesn't give me the information I need for my tenant. It is all fine to announce that feature X is being rolled out, but when my tenant doesn't get feature X for a year or more it is completely useless for planning.

 

Where I do go is to these forums (and other places) to see what new features are actually starting to show up for folks and then I keep an eye out in my tenant for those new features.

 

What I would prefer is some sort of list that give a ballpark of when new features are going to arrive for MY tenant. Sorry, but knowing when it is rolling out for other tenants is of no use for me since I can't plan for something that I have no way of knowing when it will arrive. Give me a ballpark of a month and that would sure help more than what is now, not knowing at all.

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I use Office 365 Roadmap and Office 365 Message Center to better plan for the future administration and usage of Office 365.

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The Roadmap give is a general idea of what is coming down the pipe from Microsoft. We review it regularly once or twice a month. For any item we think will have an impact on the users, be it a new app or a change to an existing app, we develop a communication plan letting them know about the change. The Message Center and First Release give us that early alert for when a feature we spotted on the roadmap is about to come out. So that is usually used to trigger some of the last communication we do before a new feature rolls out.
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I watch the Roadmap, Message Center, and Office blogs, but I still struggle to find enough details about changes coming to do anything about it. When I see something announced as rolling out, I'll check it out in our test tenant (We have a second Office 365 tenant that we treat as our "test tenant" by having it set to first release.). Once the feature is there, I can test it and start to formulate a change control plan for my organization. In almost every case, the Roadmap is too vague - in both the description of the feature and the timeline. I would like to see deeper descriptions on the roadmap, as well as a roll out schedule for my tenant. Maybe cross reference notices in the message center to the specific item on the Roadmap?
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This might be a little off topic but looking at how things are communicated externally, how does Microsoft manage these changes internally, what processes do you have in place? In such a large organisation, how do you keep everyone in the loop?
It has been said somewhere that you go through 4 iteration stages before items get into official First release. How does staff keep ontop of things, with probably facing even more bugs than we see coming our way?
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This is a fantastic question!  In fact, I think Microsoft IT should write a white paper on the topic, but in the meantime, I can share some insight.  Of course, the answer is that it depends.

 

For the most part, release and adoption of new capabilities is organic.  When Groups became available, people started using the feature, and by demonstrating the value with colleagues, use started to grow.  We now use Groups very frequently, and in many cases, they have replaced our common distribution lists.  Other functionality like Advanced Threat Protection is simply enabled, and there is no user action required.

 

Microsoft employees approach our work systems in a similar manner to how we use consumer services.  We recognize that improvements are ongoing and adapt to new features and functionality.  We do not receive communications when things are changing unless it's major maintenance on a business critical system, but even those situations seem to be decreasing in frequency (LOB apps more than email, sites, IM, etc).

 

Ultimately, MSIT configures our Office 365 services to ensure compliance and security for Microsoft data, and then users are given the flexibility to use services, apps, and functionality as we see fit.  For example, there are multiple ways to share a file - via email, IM, or OneDrive - and all of them are protected so that individuals can take the approach that they prefer.