Why Teams Shows a P at the Upper Right of the User Photo

Refining the Preview Experience

In November 2020, Microsoft launched a mechanism to make Teams features launched in public preview available to end users using a switch in client preferences. In July 2021, they connected the Office preview channel with Teams public preview through the AllowPublicPreview setting in the Teams update policy assigned to user accounts. The policy blocks access to Teams public preview functionality, allows users to switch between Teams normal and public preview, or automatically links Teams public preview with the Office Current Channel (preview), part of Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise.

Last Wednesday, Microsoft posted a blog to announce the introduction of a new client-side indicator for public preview. The announcement was followed up with message center notification MC284365 (September 10).

Look, My Avatar Has a P

Effective immediately, the presence of a P in the upper right of the user profile photo (avatar) in the menu bar of the Teams desktop client is a marker showing that the client runs public preview (Figure 1) instead of the generally available software. The idea is that indicators help both users and support personnel know what version of the Teams client is in use. It’s a simple visual clue that prevents endless discussions about when the client was set up and how it is configured.

Look, my Teams user photo has a P!
Figure 1: Look, my Teams user photo has a P!

Using indicators like this is common within the Teams development rings. For instance, if you connect to the Microsoft tenant, Teams displays an MS indictor to show that it’s connected to the mother ship, while TAP means that the client is running software issued through Microsoft’s Technology Adoption Program. Other Teams clients have different arrangements for running beta software. For instance, the Teams iOS client has a beta version available through Apple’s TestFlight program.

Of course, if you don’t tell users what the big P means, they won’t know whether it’s good or bad for Teams to display it. Some user communications might be called for here!


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