An Insider's Overview of Microsoft's MVP Program

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Author: 
Jamie Miley
Posted: Feb 23rd, 2016

Hi, I’m Jamie and I’m a Microsoft MVP!

Some of you may be wondering what a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) is and how the award is earned. In this post I’m going to give you the inside scoop on not only what it takes to get in, but also the details you’re dying to know – like the benefits you receive with this status!

What does it take to get in to the Microsoft MVP program?

You must be engaged with the online community showing your technical knowledge and expertise in a specific product line. For me it was Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This may sound easy, however to be recognized as a MVP you must engage above and beyond the norm, having a consistent record for a minimum of 12 months. Here’s an example of what I mean by above and beyond. The year before I was recognized as a MVP I wrote 222 technical blogposts and answered enough questions in the MSDN forums to earn over 12,000 points (you receive 10 points per answer). After hours of engagement you ultimately have to be nominated by another Microsoft MVP or a Microsoft employee at which point your hard work is reviewed and, hopefully, approved. Technically, you can nominate yourself, but I don't personally know of any MVP's that were self-nominated so I’m unsure how successful that can be.

What are the benefits?

Who doesn’t love perks? I sure do! Here’s a list of some of the perks we receive!

  • Celebrity status – kinda J. We do receive some name recognition, more from our level of contribution than the program itself. Some people know who we are so it’s not uncommon to be approached at events to answer questions.
  • We receive a Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscription, which is the highest level subscription you can pay for and includes Azure credits, PluralSight Courses, and development versions of just about every piece of Microsoft software every produced. Plus, Visual Studio Enterprise has a wow-factor, so I love this perk.
  • A direct line of communication to the product team is given to us via email which we’re encouraged to use to send our ideas on how to improve the product, report bugs, or generally just ask questions and engage in conversation.
  • Microsoft pays part of our trip for us attend a week of meetings in Redmond with the product team. We get the inside scoop on their product roadmap for the next couple of years. This time is also used for us to provide feedback which I’ve seen the product team use to change gears and adjust features, so they do take us seriously.
  • One of the biggest benefits though is how quickly your network balloons out and how many smart people you meet. I’ve loved watching my LinkedIn network grow with all these great people.

Why does Microsoft choose to invest in this program?

We do a great job of enriching Microsoft’s Technical Communities and other technical communities concerning our product group around the world. These endless hours, answered questions, and engagements save Microsoft lots of time and money that would be spent on support cases and also creates amazing product evangelists that get others involved.

How do we maintain the MVP status?

Each year I submit a list of all my community engagements to Microsoft which is then reviewed similar to the review I had for my initial entry into the program.  Every January 1 I find out if I am still in the program or not. It feels like there is a pseudo-cap of the number of people that can be in the MVP program though the number seems to increase gradually each year within our product group. I’ve hardly seen any MVP’s be in the program for only one year, it’s mostly the same people each year, but with a few new faces, however there are usually one or two that don’t make it back.

How can you engage with me?

Read my posts on Summit Group Software’s blog, follow me on Twitter (@Mileyja), or connect with me on LinkedIn. I look forward to engaging with you!

Note: Summit Group Software does not endorse content posted on personal accounts.