A decade ago we found ourselves craving new features from Microsoft for the Office platform. We found ourselves getting a Service Pack every 12-18 months that was comprised of hotfixes and perhaps one or two new major features. Release cycles were long and innovation came in fits and spurts. Testing new features was something that as an outsider, you never got to see until that Service Pack was released.
Microsoft introduced their Office delivery rings in 2015 and we began to see an increased cadence in fixes and features being pushed to end users in small increments instead of in large service or feature packs. Caveat being that with increased release cycles that meant that a lot of changes were suddenly flowing to end users.
As those features moved the interface around rapidly end users found themselves suffering from change fatigue and Microsoft introduced some changes to how updates would be pushed out, changing the defaults of channels that users were put into. Rather than having users receive updates monthly, it was recognized that business users (and consumers at home) likely would benefit from a slower release and delivery cycle and also provide help desks time to adjust pushing users into a 6-month cycle.
Where do you find the information about features that are a part of each release?
For those that prefer to have the latest and greatest, there’s the Microsoft insider program. If you’re an unmanaged user (e.g. a home user) then it’s pretty simple to join the Insider program by following the steps provided as a link off of the Microsoft Office site here – https://insider.office.com/en-us/?ref=O365.Help
If you’re a Business user where things are locked down by GPO or Intune, there are options to work through how to make “Insider” capabilities available to your users – https://insider.office.com/en-us/business/deploy
Even if you’re not looking to shift your user base to the latest and greatest, I’d encourage you to check it out for a single user account perhaps to get a feeling of some of the cool new features that are on the public Insider’s blog.