MVP Office 365 Opinion


Good news landed in my inbox on the 1st of July :

Extract of the renewal email. It states that Microsoft "appreciates your outstanding contributions"
Renewal notification

Being renewed as an MVP is not a given. Through the year you have to maintain a log of your contributions to the technical community. It is certainly not recognition for sales of Microsoft products. Most contributions are available to view – these are mine. I say most as MVPs do get involved in not for disclosure discussions with Microsoft and members of the technical community. Those discussions, which could be about products or a particular activity e.g. mentoring are covered by a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and remain hidden from public view but are visible to Microsoft. In March every MVP submits their log of contributions and the team at Microsoft spend the next 3 months reviewing over 3,000 submissions. On the 1st of July every MVP is informed at the same time of the outcome of their review. There are those who do not make the grade. The day is punctuated with tweets and posts of celebration and commiseration. This was my 3rd renewal cycle and it does not get any easier.

New for the 2019 renewal cycle was a set questions that each MVP had to answer in addition to providing their log. They do not appear in an MVP’s profile but perhaps in time they will. I found the process of answering the questions challenging as it required me to put me first. I thought it would be useful to share my responses with the community and so I have reproduced them below:

Why do you want to continue to be an MVP?

As an MVP I believe it is my role to ensure that the needs of the community and users are listened to and understood by the various Product Groups in Microsoft. This is an area that I feel I have to continue making an impact in. I wish to continue as an MVP as I believe I still have a lot to give. I know this sounds cliché, but it is the truth. I want to continue to show others that it is possible to change careers and excel in a new discipline or subject. It is through community I became an MVP and it is through community that I will continue to be one.

I want to continue to be an MVP as I believe the Product Groups value my contributions and being an MVP means that they can have meaningful conversations based on trust. I want to be an MVP as the community recognizes the value the award brings and it helps them bridge the divide between vendor and user.

I want to continue to be an MVP as it makes me proud and I get an immense sense of achievement through the opportunities it enables and the help I can provide. The pride motivation is akin to the same reward I used to feel as a Civil Engineer – the feeling ‘I made that’ lasts longer than money.

What are the most impactful community contributions you’ve made in the last year?

I feel my most impactful contributions have been through highlighting the art of the possible e.g. surfacing PowerApps in Outlook, championing the delivery of more inclusive events and education related to the evolution of the IT Pro. I think the area that has had the most community impact is in the sessions and material related to the evolution of the IT Pro and the mentoring I have provided to others who are on a similar journey.

What significant impact do you plan to make to the community in the upcoming year?

I am a strong believer that IT Pro’s are on a difficult journey as they make the transition from traditional ‘command and control’ IT into a world of ‘product ownership’, ‘empathy and diversity’ and being more customer and person-centric. I am planning on making an impact by expanding my contributions in this area. I will continue to expand upon the material I have developed for effective habits, change, adoption and organisational maturity. Working with other MVP’s and the community I plan to launch a microsite that focuses on the subject and encourage conversations around a potentially difficult subject.

What are you doing to make your community better? (e.g. charity work, diversity and inclusion efforts, education, mentoring, etc.)

Through my work around the evolution of the IT Pro I believe I am improving the lot of the technical community. I believe my contributions are making a positive difference and making our community better. I believe my technical contributions, be they through PGI’s, blogs or social media, help the community to continue to grow and excel. In 2019-2020, I will continue to provide ad-hoc mentoring and advice to others in the community. I will continue to give this advice freely and without expectation of reward or return.

I am also working to make the community of the future better. For 2019-2020, I am looking forward to my role as a visiting Professor at Birmingham City University. Through this role I will be supporting the future tech community with their education, development and transition into work.

I am a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Board and through my membership I will continue my work to raise awareness around inclusion, making the supporting of differences the norm and not the exception and focusing the community on person-centric design. I will continue to push for more inclusive events and technology.


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