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The missing Philosopher’s Stone

The Microsoft 365 Roadmap is, besides the Office 365 Message Center, the office “one and only” source of truth to handle Microsofts evergreen updates.

After I have worked with the roadmap for a long time, some conclusions are coming down on me.


Microsoft gives its customers a lot of data, but the information is decreasing. Data is just the volume of bytes, while information is something understandable and empowering to make the right decisions.

The quality of the data in the roadmap is, to be careful, questionable.

The “Release Date,” formerly known as “public disclosure availability date” isn’t reliable.

Some statistics based on reports made today:

There are 47 active items with release dates in the past, with the status “in development” and 125 active items with a release date in the past with the status “Rolling out.” The expected value in the status would be “Launched,” or the Release date should be another one. Fun fact: there is one item with the status launched and a release date in the future.

The status if defined by Microsoft as:

  • In development: Updates that are currently in development and testing
  • Rolling out: Updates that are beginning to roll-out and are not yet available to all applicable customers
  • Launched: Fully released updates that are now generally available for applicable customers

Also, there are more statuses:

  • Cancelled
  • Previously Released

So there are open questions. Does the release date mean the date when the status changes from “In Development” to “Rolling out,” Or from “Rolling out” to “Launched”?

Or do we have the new field “Release Phase” introduced in September into consideration?

So have a look into that. There are currently nine phases listed in the roadmap. Depending on the platform and technology, this makes sense.

So for my understanding of the Release Phase “General Availability” should be most likely the same as “Launched” or “Rolling out” as they defined by Microsoft.

Now there are 75 items in the roadmap tagged with “In Development” and “General Availability” at the same time. 21 Items have a release date in the future. The rest have release dates in the past. Tricky, right?

Don’t panic. I don’t want to bother you with theses comparisons of Release date, Status, and Release Ring. But you might entertain yourself with it if you wish.

With simple checks, it’s easy to see that there is a lot of data, but there is not needful information in it.

Fun Fact

Another fun fact: Microsoft removed 15 items from the roadmap in the status “In development” and “Rolling out.” These items have never reached the status “Launched.”

Distilling information from these three fields by secret alchemy is hard enough, or nearly impossible. We, as the customer, are missing the Philosopher’s Stone.

Without the missing Philosopher’s Stone, the message of the Microsoft 365 Roadmap is like:

“Microsoft is changing a lot of things. These things will change lots of functions. You might prepare for this. But even Microsoft has no clear picture when and what will happen.”



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