I’ve just received my second Microsoft MVP award (in Dynamics AX) and it may be a good time to answer a few common questions about the MVP program.
MVP means Most Valuable Professional and it’s an award given by Microsoft to people active in Microsoft technical communities. People who blog about Microsoft technologies, answer questions in forums, give talks, write open-source software or help others in different ways.
It’s given for one year only, therefore you have to prove your expertise and contribution again if you want to receive the award for another year. There are about four thousand MPVs in the world across all technologies (32 of them in the area of Dynamics AX). You can get more “official” information and find individual MPVs on mvp.microsoft.com.
The award is partially a form of appreciation from Microsoft and an official recognition of technical expertise. But it’s also an opportunity for both sides to work together more closely. MVPs get access to preliminary versions of software and non-yet-public information (which helps with preparing for what’s going to happen; it doesn’t mean that MVPs are allowed to share such information). Microsoft, on the other hand, can get feedback and ideas from experienced professionals from outside Microsoft.
MVPs receives a few other benefits – this is what I appreciate the most:
The first one is MVP Global Summit, a multi-day meeting of MVPs and Microsoft employees. It was my first summit last year and I simply loved it. Microsoft kept us really busy with upcoming changes of Dynamics AX and I met many enthusiastic people (including AX MVPs that I knew only from internet), which is not always the case in my job. It’s going to be a bit different this year, because there may be no AX content at all (the main reason is the collision with Convergence 2014 Europe), but it should give me an opportunity to visit sessions for other technologies and meet even more people.
Another useful benefit is access to some online resources (some of them would normally require being a Microsoft partner; a great thing for a freelancer) and free licenses to software (both from Microsoft and other companies, e.g. Telerik).
If you want to become an MVP, the hardest part is doing something valuable for the community. And doing it a lot. Getting a nomination is easy – see Nominate an MVP page; you can even nominate yourself. Then you have to report your activity (number of blog posts etc.) in the previous your and wait for Microsoft to compare your activity with others… Good luck.