While on the Visual Studio team a cool project that we ran with the MVPs was the MVP Intern program. In this program, an MVP would come out and work with the product team to deliver some tool/feature/paper/template etc. Willy-Peter Schaub and Ed Blankenship actually came out and lived in my house!
Reading an old post of mine on the topic: MVP in Residence- final recap (also included below for RSS readers) got me musing about if this make sense for my “Power MVPs”. (we stopped this in Visual Studio when a physical visit was no longer needed to get these projects rolling and the “ALM Rangers” were born)
Having hosted three of these “residencies” I can unequivocally say this is a great way to connect the MVPs with the product team and drive lots of positive behaviors while delivering cool projects. To have a good residency a couple things really should intersect.
There be some “deliverable” at the completion.
Like any good project it should have measurable ROI and have value for all parties involved.
The project should be able to be used as billable time.
If this is the NOT case it is either eating vacation time or people are trying to juggle work and not really “present” much of the time. Those people would continue to own their current deliverable. The ideal scenarios has both Microsoft and the host employers splitting the hosting costs. Often this also intersects with needing MVPs that being away from home isn’t a hardship.
Make a lasting positive difference in how that person works with us
Many MVP’s could come out and would focus 100% on a project but they when back home many would revert back to how/what they are doing now.
Collaboration between community and the product team becomes a de facto standard
While the physical visit may come to a conclusion the idea of collaborating on projects with the product team should continue – and hopefully continue investing in and bring other MVPs to help with.
Need to have a Microsoft Product owner as a sponsor that is passionate about getting a solution created.
Interestingly this seemed to be one of the largest hurdles!
Here are some projects that came to mind that may fit the bill
- <code name of project removed> scaffolding
- Power BI performance white paper
- Admin white paper
- Power BI End User Training “assets”
- PowerApps/Power BI training/demo onboarding tooling
Also interestingly an unattended consequences of my earlier efforts: My “interns” ended up being hired by Microsoft. (Not saying this is good or bad…Just is)
Including the original post from 2008
Last week one of the VSTS MVPs (Ed Blankenship) went WAY beyond the call of duty and spent his vacation time and frequent flyer points to fly himself to Redmond to spend a week on campus to deliver a VSTS community project(s)! The three projects Ed was looking to tackle were:
1. Package the Microsoft Process Template we use internally with TFS to the world via codeplex..
2. Create a set of “on boarding” content for Visual Studio Team System 2010 for the User groups to redeliver.
3. Go through Team Lab “Walk through” document in preparation of releasing to the community.
From the outset there was never any expectation delivering all of these projects but by the end of the week Ed had finished both: The packaging of the Microsoft Process Template* AND the Tech Review of the Team Lab document. The only reason multiple projects were even chosen was in the off chance one became blocked /or finished before the end of the week.
Overall both Ed and I felt the experience was very worthwhile and will be looking forward to doing it again. (And yes I have already had a couple requests to do this by other MVPs and influentials.)
While the delivery of the Microsoft Process Template to the community will be a great win, I feel the highlight of the week was having one of the MVPs, own and deliver a Microsoft project through Microsoft’s processes/channels– and well worth the estimated ~6 hours it took of my time to make this happen.
On a personal note Ed will be the fourth MVP we have had stay with us at the house since we have moved back to the USA (Tiago Pascoal, Grant Holliday and Anthony Borton were the first three). I must admit growing our ever expanding extended family since returning has been nice and they have been a good surrogates for our foster children in Australia.
Low Lights/Lessons Learned
The largest challenge we faced was the 5 day time constraint of Ed’s visit– we had all the time commitments of a starting a new CSG employee: creating contracts, getting a new badge, allocating an office, getting a network account plus all the tax associated with kicking off three new projects. So what would I do differently next time?
1. Decrease the administration setup time. Ed didn’t get his Cardkey until Thursday! I NOW know it is ONLY a TWO step process getting an MVP started. ( I went through several different forms/process to figure this out)
- · Microsoft E-Mail/Network Cardkey Access Agreement (ECA). –Takes 1 business day to process (Could have been done before Ed arrived….)
- · Headtrax Business guest account. Takes 2 business days to process this after the ECA was FAXED in. (Again could have been in place before Ed arrived…)
- If possible extend the duration the MVP is here…in Ed’s case it wasn’t until Friday that he was driving his own schedule, scheduling meetings, finding meeting rooms working his way through bugs etc.
- Decrease the number of projects being worked on to just two. While it was nice to have a two backups trying to kick off three projects pretty much guarantees too many meetings to get a lot of work done in a normal 8 hour business day for the first couple of days.