Today, we are announcing a change in how customers can preview upcoming Microsoft Teams features. This includes adopting pre-release channel names like Office and Windows Insider programs, as well as a new broadly available Public Preview channel. With this change, Insiders will find similar names and expectations for similar channels across Windows, Office, and Teams programs. As mentioned in the Windows Insider blog post, our goal is to not only make it clearer for existing Insiders to choose the experience that’s right for them, but also for new Insiders to pick the right channel as they join. The Insider community is important to us due to their early actionable feedback and we are working to align how all our Insider programs work better together across Microsoft.
Read on to learn more about the Public Preview channel and why we are launching it.
Teams Public Preview and channel names alignment Teams continues to innovate at a fast pace while delivering an enterprise-grade experience to over 115M daily active users. We first launched pre-release access to Teams features via our Technology Adoption Program (TAP) over 4 years ago. This continues to be a private and under NDA program for all participating customers.
As Teams adoption continues to accelerate, it is important to bring in more diversity and easier options for customers to preview pre-release features for product quality, internal planning, adoption & training readiness. With this, we are launching Teams Public Preview channel to allow customers to preview and evaluate features before they roll out to the rest of their company. Please review this article for guidance on how to configure preview access for selected users in your tenant.
Teams Insiders can pick one of the three channels, based on the quality of client builds they are most comfortable with and participation commitments.
One key difference between Teams and rest of Microsoft 365 is that Teams delivers feature rollout against build rollouts. This means (1) a feature can be enabled without a new build update, and (2) different channels may have the same build version at any point in time.
About Teams pre-release channels Here is an overview of the available channels:
Beta Channel Ideal for early adopters and IT Pros who want to test features as they are being built. We look for bugs and regressions from this audience before releasing the features to the next channel. This was previously called Ring 1.5 and is available to participating Teams TAP customers and only under NDA and program requirements. This channel requires the most time commitment and is only available via self-customer nominations.
Private Preview Channel Insiders in this channel will see more stable features for validation and piloting adoption. There will be faster updates and adoption help from Microsoft. Pre-release feature support is provided directly by Teams engineering. This channel was previously called Ring 3 and, like Beta channel, is available to participating Teams TAP customers only under NDA and program requirements.
Public Preview Channel We are launching Public Preview with this announcement. This is for customers who want to evaluate a feature or developers who want to build a solution before broader deployment. There are no program requirements or commitments. This is an opt-in program, controlled via IT admin policy. Please read about how to configure this policy here. For Developer Preview please read here.
Aligning with Office and Windows With today’s announcement, Teams pre-release channels are better aligned with Office and Windows Insider programs. An Insider can now make a choice as to which experience, they want and have it mean the same thing between Windows, Office, and Teams. Insiders will need to opt into each Insider Program separately, but we are looking to improve this experience over time.