Five years. Half a decade. So much can happen in that amount of time yet it often feels like it was just yesterday. At a recent event I was asked by a friend about my Microsoft MVP status and when I told her I’d been honored for the fifth consecutive year, I realized I might be able to offer my readers some education about my MVP journey.
What is the MVP Award?
Microsoft describes the award as their way of saying “Thanks!” to outstanding community leaders. The contributions MVPs make to the community, ranging from speaking engagements, to social media posts, to writing books, to helping others in online communities, have incredible impact. Key benefits to MVPs include early access to Microsoft products, direct communication channels with our product teams and an invitation to the Global MVP Summit, an exclusive annual event hosted in our global HQ in Redmond. They also have a very close relationship with the local Microsoft teams in their area, who are there to support and empower MVPs to address needs and opportunities in the local ecosystem.
There are only about 4,000 MVP’s worldwide. The MVP award is active for only one year. As a Quora poster informally describes, “It’s a private club…It allows you to have tons of connections with people resolving problems with their technologies.”
How is it Awarded?
There is no “one path” to achieving MVP status. There isn’t a test to take, a course to attend, or a how-to guide to become an MVP. Proving yourself worthy isn’t a solitary endeavor, nor can it be done quickly. Microsoft lists a few qualifiers on their site. These include:
- Contributing code to projects
- In-person speaking
- Helping others
- Creating content
- Providing feedback
Based on my experience of being an MVP for five years running, there are three phases of becoming an MVP: being identified, demonstrating your worthiness, and being able to document everything.
MVP’s must be nominated by a current MVP or by a Microsoft employee. You are able to nominate yourself as well, but based on my own and others’ experiences, it seems to hold more weight if the nomination comes from another.
In the letter I received announcing my award, the phrase “willingness to help others” was used more than once. I believe the fact that I’m consistent and active in the Microsoft community has helped to prove my commitment to education and learning.
After the nomination process, candidates for the award must provide documentation to help the decision panel evaluate your worthiness. This might be social profiles, articles you’ve written, excerpts from topics you’ve presented at conferences, etc. I’ve always included anything that will help illustrate the positive impact I make upon technical audiences at all levels.
What it Means to Me
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog, where I’ll break down the unique benefits of why it’s so special to be an MVP. Believe me, it’s well worth the effort!
Are you interested in becoming an MVP? Or do you need the kind of help only an MVP can provide, specifically for Microsoft Project or Project Online? Please feel free to contact me to start the conversation!
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