There are independent experts who collectively volunteer tens of thousands of hours each year supporting consumer electronics, smart devices, gaming, enterprise technologies and solutions, solutions for small and medium-sized businesses/organizations. They are MVPs or Microsoft Most Value Professionals who can provide elite expertise and solve difficult challenges. As an update for October 2015, a good place to look for daily advice is the Microsoft MVP Award Program Blog and I weekly highlight articles in Canada’s IT Manager’s Blog (IT Manager Connection), which is merged into Canadian IT Pro in November 2015.
I use MVPs in my work. A good example is when I keynoted two consecutive annual National Deans of IT summits in Toronto and keynoted a series of educational conferences across the country.
I reached out and MVPs donated their expertise to the colleges for technical issues including student mentorship which I gave out as prizes.
As a vice-chair of the first World CIO Forum (WCF), I needed high quality world-ranked speakers and an MVP went far beyond the conference requirements in speaking about Agile Development as a Scrum Master. His name is Stephen Forte, serial entrepreneur, founder of AcceleratorHK, senior executive (CTO) for a number of companies.
You can find more about Stephen in a series of interviews with him: “Chat: Stephen Forte, CSO, CTO, Founder, Microsoft MVP, Global Entrepreneur and Developer”; “Stephen Forte: Chief Strategy Officer, CTO, Scrum Master, Author, Serial Company Founder, Microsoft MVP, Keynote”. I did two articles from my WCF experiences which appeared in IT World publications in 2012 (World CIO Forum: The vice-chair’s 8 takeways; Toyota CTO Tadao Saito: My IT Leadership Lessons).
I have also recommended MVPs for particularly demanding technical work where a working solution is needed promptly from a validated authority.
In my work with a myriad of non-profits, MVPs again have provided considerable support in creating the backbone infrastructure and then in maintaining the platforms.
My colleagues at the Vancouver Technical User Group regularly use MVPs as speakers drawing large audiences for events. For example, Richard Campbell is a frequent celebrity speaker for User Groups and has his own well known radio show, DotNetRocks where he shares tips from top experts worldwide.
What is an MVP?
The MVP designation is a special annual award selected through community-based nominations and akin to an external “fellows” program since MVPs cannot be Microsoft employees. The due diligence is thorough and can take a year to research before granting the award.
An MVP like a CIPS fellow is recognition for outstanding service and expertise. MVPs are unbiased and objective, select and exceptional community contributors recognized for their expertise across more than 70 products and services and in over 40 languages.
Starting 20 years ago with 37 awardees, there are nearly 4000 MVPs worldwide in 90 plus countries with about 200 in Canada. Many forums have MVPs answering questions, in fact more than 10 million questions this year and reaching one million customers every day.
Canadian MVPs are particularly noteworthy actively speaking, authoring best-selling books, blogging, writing papers and articles, answering questions in forums, conducting webcasts/podcasts, providing unique product feedback and offering solutions to difficult challenges. Canadian MVPs have contributed in Microsoft forums 70,543 replies, 108,846,874 Views of Replies.
Fun Facts and Figures
- mvp.microsoft.com: Over 200k page views/month
- MSDN blog: Over 1 million views
- Facebook: Over 2 million
- Twitter: 22k followers
Where do you go for an MVP or to nominate an outstanding member of your team for this award?
Here are links to their official channels:
This is one email address I use regularly, firstname.lastname@example.org, for my MVP needs. Simran Chaudhry runs the program in Canada and one of the most responsive leaders I have come across since I started in this business in 1965. For those outside of Canada, they can use the web addresses given above.