Sidestep the Upgrade Trap

Tech-News, blogs and Twitter are abuzz with the sneak-peaks, rumors and actual reports about features in both Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010; for now, I’m going to avoid the hype. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve consumed almost everything that has come my way on the subject, but if you’re moving from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010, my advice is to focus on what you have. Whoa, “focus on what you have?” Wait a minute; this from a guy who strong-armed his VAR into installing MOSS 2007 the moment it was released, what’s up with that? Well, there are two significant differences between these two upgrades.

First, SharePoint Server 2003 to MOSS 2007 was way more than an upgrade, it was huge. Working with SP 2003 was like being at sea in a lifeboat with one oar, you would survive but you were going to work hard and lose a few people along the way. When they released MOSS 2007, they dropped you another oar, a map, a motor, fuel, food, water and a few cold beers. Three years ago, we actually put some projects on hold so we could avoid exposing new users to problems that MOSS 2007 was going to solve. I don’t see that same kind of transformation coming with the 2010 upgrade.

The second difference is even more important, we have more to lose! We have a much more robust SharePoint installation today than we did three years ago. We have applications that need to be tested and users that need to be trained and supported as we make the transition. Moving to 2007, we could afford a few bumps in the road, this time it has to be seamless.

In addition to those important differences, we have to consider attitude. I do not want to send the message “this will be so much better in the next version” – SharePoint is good now! The migration to SP 2010 needs to be managed like every other bit of improving technology; the message needs to be “this good thing will be getting better”. I’m looking forward to the new features but I dread hearing one of my users say “would it make sense to wait until the new version to start this?

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