A while ago Office introduce the First Release program. This was a new solution to allow forward leaning organizations to access new features as quick as possible.
There was a recent announcement that the First Release program was be modified to now allow customers to select specific end users to receive First Release features. This beneficial because new features will not be pushed to the entire organization, it will just be pushed to those users. This will organizations to do some review of these new features with some power users before it pushed to the entire organization. Organizations can customize their change management processes based on this.
It is worth noting that the First Release program is available to Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office 365 Nav bar and Office 365 Admin Center today. The First Release program for select users is not available for SharePoint Online.
Remember there are tons of way your organizations can get prepared for change. There is the:
- Public Office 365 Roadmap website
- Office 365 Public and Private Preview Programs
- Notifications through the Office 365 Admin Center
- Review the Office 365 Blog for announcements
- If you are a managed customer through Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) you can get NDA roadmaps and planning