A New Release Strategy: Preparing for Teams Release
Published Mar 10 2017 11:18 AM 23.1K Views

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.)

Version history
Last update:
‎Feb 10 2023 12:24 PM
Updated by: