Did MVP program actually get some things wrong?

By | November 24, 2023

With Jukka officially opting out of the MVP program it’s hard not to be willing to chime in, at least a little bit. I guess you’ve seen his post by now, but, if not, it’s definitely worth looking at. Just as with about anything he writes about, he beats it to death, puts a few extra nails in there, and puts it all to rest. There is usually not that much to add to his posts other than to say “thank you”:


However, and just because this time around a lot of this may look like personal perspective, I figured I’d essentially do a bit of write up to, perhaps, somewhat second Jukka’s opinion.

Actually, I wrote about it after my very first MVP award:


Right now I’m sitting at 5, it’s a long way to go to get to 11, but, just as it was back then, I’m not sure if the whole thing is worth it.

MVP award is not given for your technical skills or knowledge – it’s given for your desire and ability to share the knowledge you have, and I would also add it has to be done in the way that promotes positive awareness of the Microsoft products. It does not have to be all exciting, always positive promotion. You can criticize to an extent, just look at how Steve Mordue almost crosses that line sometimes, but it has to be constructive and reasonable at the very least.

One does not get much from being an MVP – it’s not paid for, it does not necessarily result in better career (I’d even argue that no employer should hire an MVP other than for marketing reasons🙂 Being an MVP requires continuous time investment, so who is paying for that time?), we might be able to try out certain things early but we can’t really use our “under the NDA” knowledge that much. We can sometimes raise our questions to the product team directly, but that does not necessarily result in the quick answers/resolutions, so, in practical terms, it’s not a given this helps somehow.

However, once an MVP, you start getting worried about losing that award, and your perspective shifts. I need to write a blog post because that counts. I need to join an event because that counts. I need to speak somewhere at a conference because that counts. Instead of, perhaps, I want to write this blog post because it helps me organize my thoughts and knowledge, and, if it helps someone else, I’m happy with that, but that’s not what drives me. In the last five years, my personal perspective shifted quite a bit from that original approach of using this blog as a helpful tool for myself, and, instead, I often feel the need to post something simply because there is nothing else to count towards the renewal otherwise.

Which is where the exhaustion starts I believe, and which is why ever since I got that first award I’ve been constantly bouncing between “no, I don’t want it” to “well, perhaps one more year?”

And I think this is exactly what’s wrong with the MVP program – it twists your motivation and it turns things which you valued intrinsically into something you now need to look at more or less from the KPI perspective.

This is not to say there is some evil plot there, it’s how MVP program is organized, it’s how it works, and it’s just a side effect of how the evaluations are done. Perhaps it will change, somehow, or, perhaps, not. If you are reading this and asking yourself if you want to be an MVP, well, have a look at Jukka’s blog post and think twice 🫤

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