Seeing as the latest wave of MVP’s has just been awarded, it’s likely to be on a few people’s minds as to how to achieve this.
The first thing you have to ask yourself is – how are you standing out from the crowd? What are you doing that makes you rise head and shoulders above anyone else in what you do? If you can answer that, you could be on your way to MVP.
The next thing to ask is – how passionate are you about this? Because you have to be passionate on insane levels to achieve and then maintain this award. It can take 3 – 5 years to win an award. It’s a brutal attack on all your senses! Are you sure you can maintain unpaid community work for that long? And thereafter? If not, this is not for you.
There is a common misconception that MVP is a technical award only, it’s not. It’s a community award too. It’s for exceptional work in the local and international community.
Some things you need to know about the program :
- It’s not open to Microsoft employees.
- There are 15 main categories of MVP’s which are then broken down into the various competencies.
- There are less than 250 SharePoint MVP’s worldwide. (And less than 5000 MVP’s in total across all the product lines).
- There is a rigorous review process that looks at your last 12 months of activity.
- The award is only valid for 1 year and you need to re-apply every year to the same strict criteria.
- Awards are given every quarter.
- Budget is allocated to each product and country for MVP’s. This means that regardless of what you’re doing, you may not be nominated as there is only budget available for 2 SharePoint MVP’s in the country. (This is extra motivation to really shine hey).
- MVP’s are subject to strict non disclosure agreements and you will be in plenty of trouble if you break the NDA.
- The local and international community leaders have to sign off on your nomination.
- You can nominate people for the award if you think they’ve really excelled.
- You get an MSDN and TechNet license for the year.
- You get a really cool trophy and certificate!! … and of course modest bragging rights. 😉
- You can attend the annual MVP Summit at Redmond long as you pay for the flights.
How do you get started? Start contributing to the community – in a very big way! Competition for MVP is very high and getting higher by the day. If you are really serious about standing out in the community, start learning how to speak in public, start learning how to listen properly, and learn PowerPoint presentation best practices because you could end up on the speaker circuit. If that happens you’ll spend a lot of time building slidedecks and talking to people.
If you aren’t writing a blog, best you get started right now and write voraciously! Get on all the social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, etc and start answering questions. Attend every user group and conference you can. Volunteer your services. Know your craft. Most importantly, specialise. You can’t be all things to all people. Decide on the one thing you’re good at in SharePoint and excel in it like crazy!!
Document everything you do.
Your reasons need to be pure. If you suddenly start trying to contribute because you think it will get you MVP, you won’t succeed. You need to help the community because you genuinely want to and believe in your heart it’s what you are born to do.
Finally, should you succeed at being awarded, remember that with great power comes great responsibility – don’t let it go to your head. In other words, don’t become a schmuck, (lots have).
Get all the rest of the official details from the MVP site – and good luck! Go for it, you can do it.
What has changed since I became MVP in January? The hits on my blog have gone up by 1000+ every month, I’ve had people contact me from all over world asking for advice or to work with me. Is it worth it? Hell yes!! 🙂
[This post has been placed on the Information Worker website for your convenience.]