I stumbled upon the Microsoft 365 Product Roadmap while searching for ways to work around a bug in Excel on my MacBook Pro. I was pleasantly surprised that a large global tech giant like Microsoft would publish its Product roadmap for the whole world to see! You can view the roadmap online as well as download it as a CSV file. In this article, I aim to provide 3 takeaways from my analysis of the Microsoft 365 Product Roadmap.
Takeaway #1: The Microsoft 365 Product team released 13% more features in 2020 than they did in 2019
It seems like the Microsoft 365 Product development team has been hard at work in 2020! In the first two Quarters of 2020 alone, they shipped (status = Launched) more features than they did throughout 2019. This could possibly be because they have hired more resources in their Product development team this year.
Another explanation could be that the team prioritized paying back their Technical Debt* in 2019 which might have reduced the number of features they could release.
*According to Dan Radigan of Atlassian, “Technical debt is the difference between what was promised and what was actually delivered”.
Takeaway #2: More features were planned and shipped for the Mobile and Online platforms than other platforms
The number of features that were planned (Status = In Development OR Rolling out) and shipped for the Online (aka cloud) and the mobile platforms were almost 6x more than the other platforms. This observation is in line with CEO Satya Nadella’s “Mobile First. Cloud First” vision for Microsoft. You can hear his thoughts on this CNN video on Youtube.
You might notice that the Mac platform stands at a paltry 5 features compared to the 96 features for the mobile platform and 203 features for the Online platform. If you were, like me, wondering why Excel on your Macbook Pro is so buggy and clunky, the above graph might offer some insights!
Takeaway #3: 50% of all features were planned for the top 4 Products (Teams, SharePoint, Outlook and OneDrive)
Almost 50% of all the features were planned or shipped for the top 4 Products — Microsoft Teams, Sharepoint, Outlook and OneDrive. In total, the Microsoft 365 Product development team looks after 63 Products. The Product suite also contains other popular names such as Excel, Office 365, Yammer, and Visio.
Focussing a large chunk of the team’s time on the top 4 Products is most likely due to either a) they contribute to a large portion of the company’s revenues, b) they’re part of the Strategic direction or c) both a. and b.
Microsoft’s 2019 annual report highlighted the importance of Microsoft Teams and Outlook in their vision for the “Modern Workplace”. Therefore, it is likely that these two Products are part of a strategic direction for the company. An interesting side note: in 2019, Microsoft Teams had more than 13 million Daily Active Users. By contrast, Slack, a workplace communications and collaboration software had 12 million daily active users during the same time.
An analysis of the Microsoft 365 Product Roadmap offers some interesting insights. Firstly, the Product Development team doubled the number of features they shipped in 2020. At this rate, we could see 4 times as many features shipped by the end of the year.
Secondly, the team is seen to be laser-focused on the Mobile and Online platforms. This demonstrates an alignment with the CEO, Satya Nadella’s vision for Microsoft to be a “Mobile first. Cloud-first” company.
Lastly, the team is allocating a majority of its effort to four products — Microsoft Teams, Sharepoint, Outlook and OneDrive. From Microsoft’s 2019 annual report, we know that these products are important to Microsoft’s vision of building a Modern Workplace.
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