One of the primary comments I heard at SPTechCon last month was that even though people were excited about SharePoint 2010, they had no plans for upgrading, and they felt like it wasn’t worth it to spend time learning about all the new features that they wouldn’t be able to use for a very long time.

While I can see where they are coming from, I definitely view the situation differently. I truly believe that by looking at and exploring what is available in SharePoint 2010, we will be able to build better solutions in 2007 that will help us as we migrate to SharePoint 2010. After all, if information is available today that will make our life easier tomorrow, then we should be soaking it in as much as we can.

Among the key reasons to learn about 2010 is that you don’t develop a custom solution today in SharePoint 2007 that can be done out-of-the-box in 2010. Knowledge of 2010 might enable you to build 80% of a requested solution in 2007, and then build the other 20% with tools available out of the box in SharePoint 2010 when you migrate. Further, having information on 2010 might be the ammunition you need to present a business case for speeding up migration planning.

I don’t think everyone should invest hours upon hours of learning the new product if they won’t be using it immediately, but I do recommend that everyone at least get started. With the wealth of information available, it shouldn’t be hard for you to start gathering information. Here are some of my favorite places to find information:

•    Office Microsoft SharePoint Site
•    Describing SharePoint 2010 in 1 Sentence, 8 Categories and 40 Feature Areas
•    SharePoint 2010 System Requirements
•    Community Forums
•    Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog
•    SharePoint Designer Team Blog
•    SPTechBlog

If you still don’t know where to get started, I recommend looking at your biggest pain points to see how they are improved or eliminated with the release of 2010. From there, I would start looking at your wish list of things you have always wanted to do in SharePoint but just haven’t had time. The third area I would look at would be the list of things that you are currently doing that you wish your users could do for themselves.

Just getting started with these areas can help you begin to develop a clear framework that can be used for strategic planning. This framework will help you better understand and plan for both your current and future needs. By starting to gather information now, you can avoid the “I wish I would have known this before I started this project in SharePoint 2007!” scenarios.

Jennifer Mason is a consultant with SharePoint911