I have the pleasure to announce I’ve been renewed as a Microsoft MVP, for the fifth year in a row (time flies, I’m getting old). A slight change this time, my award is Office development.
Over the years I’ve been a SharePoint MVP, an Office Servers and Services MVP and now an Office development MVP.
Originally Microsoft had it’s MVPs organized by products, which made a lot of sense in a on premises world which required a deep knowledge in something very specific. Also, it allowed MVP’s to be connected directly with the teams at Microsoft on their product. However, over the last decade the industry transitioned to a cloud first model and somebody who was working with SharePoint (or Exchange, Skype…) is most likely to be working with Office 365 at large (and some Azure as well). A couple of years ago (3?) Microsoft decided to reorganize the MVP program to have award categories (Azure, Office servers and services, Visual Studio and Team Services…) which regroup contribution areas (e.g. OSS: SharePoint, Exchange, Office 365, …)
The only downside for that reorganization is that in the case of Office Servers and Services, the focus was now much more on the “IT pros” and “power user” side of things, with little attention given to any developers (aren’t those guys in Azure now?) when at the time, the SharePoint category would include devs as well.
After a year Microsoft realized that and decided to create the Office Dev award category (which regroups SharePoint dev, Office 365 dev, Excel “dev”, Office add-ins…) and somehow randomly dispatched the MVP’s in that award.
I’m not going to dive in the intricacy of the program (and I don’t think I’m allowed to at some point) but basically the category you’re in will dictate the content you have access to, the product teams that will listen to you and so on. During the last MVP summit, my content was way off my centers of interest and I had to ask all the time to my friends in the “correct” category “hey which room are we going to next?”.
This new category should map much better to my interests and contributions and allow me to have better interaction with the many different product teams at Microsoft.
I started this blog eight years ago now, (time flies, I’m really getting old) back when I was student (I’d soon become a Microsoft Student Partner) and the primary focus was to fill the gaps of Microsoft documentation and my memory.
The idea was simple, whenever I had a problem the documentation wasn’t giving a clear answer to and I didn’t want to forget the solution for, I’d document it. And instead of keeping that for myself, let’s put it on a blog so it might help over people.
Over the years a lot of things changed: Microsoft is much more active on their blogging platform (the focus changed a bit though), they transitioned a to open source, even the documentation is based on open source allowing us to fill the gaps with a much simpler process, people read less and watch more, and cross-technology help platforms emerged (thinking about stack overflow).
With those considerations in mind I think it’s much more valuable to contribute to the global effort on those public platforms (stackoverflow, github…) that will benefit everybody (even those that have no clue about your blog) and allow for peer reviews, updates, etc…
Besides investing more time on those way of contributing, I also changed a lot, my focus back then was both IT pro and dev, and I’ve matured to understand my core passion is development (in a DevOps philosophy).
Lastly I spend much more time giving in person sessions at events than a couple of years ago.( I actually gave my first session in English ever almost five years ago now at SharePoint Saturday Ottawa, hopefully my English has improved since).
All those reasons hopefully explain why there’s a bit less content over here, and this is for the greater good :)
To conclude this post, I’d like to thank all my peers (MVPs or not), the people leading/following/challenging me and finally Simran Chaudhry who was until recently an amazing Canadian MVP lead during my four first years as an MVP!