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What is an MVP? That’s a question I’ve been asking myself since I was first awarded MVP for Microsoft Dynamics CRM in January of 2006. The letters stand for Most Valuable Professional. That sounds nice. But what is it? Well, it’s an award given out by Microsoft to recognize non-Microsoft folks for their expertise and contribution to the ‘communities’. Does it mean that an MVP is someone who has sold a lot of their product? Nope. Is it someone who is an expert in the product? To some extent, but not entirely.
Do MVPs have lots of certifications? Some do, most don’t. Is there an exam to become an MVP? No. So how does one become an MVP? First, someone must see something in them that makes them noteworthy and nominate them for the award. Nominators may be Microsoft employees or other MVPs. Then a committee of Microsoft MVP Leads, and others I suppose, check them out and see what their contributions have been over the past 12 months. If the committee feels the nominee is deserving, they make the award. Contributions may be on-line such as helping folks in the on-line newsgroups or more recently off-line like running user groups, study groups, participation in events, etc.
So, once an MVP is awarded, then what? Well, there are a few bennies like a nice award gift and some ‘MVP bucks’ to use in the Microsoft Company Store. There is access to some private newsgroups and even an MVP Academy that offers on-line courses free for MVPs. And MVPs are offered MSDN or TechNet subscriptions so they have access to most Microsoft software and resources. Beyond that there is little that is formal. But there appear to be many informal benefits. MVPs are asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) which basically says they won’t share any secrets that Microsoft shares with them, big or small. They don’t have to sign it to be an MVP, but most do.
Once they have, the folks at Microsoft, like the development teams, are free to share what they are doing and planning to do and to ask for feedback from the MVPs before it is made public. This allows the MVPs to be a great resource for Microsoft. As an MVP I have (informal) access to the team. When I have an issue with CRM I can post it to the private newsgroup, and one of the CRM development team, or another CRM MVP, is likely to respond. I have found this to be a great resource as the team is quite willing to help. This also gives them insight into what is happening in the field with CRM. This is definitely a Win/Win! And being an MVP allows one to hang out with other MVPs which is really a treat!
And of course being asked to be a guest Blogger is a nice perk for being an MVP. :-) Please read my regular blog, Larry’s Taco Talk. You can learn more about me from my MVP Profile and of course my own web page at http://www.LentzComputer.net.
Larry LentzMicrosoft Dynamics CRM MVPLarry@LentzComputer.net