How to become a MVP?

Most likely if you are reading this post you already know what a MVP is.   If not, a MVP is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional.  What does that mean?  To quote Microsoft’s MVP home page “Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) are exceptional technical community leaders from around the world who are awarded for voluntarily sharing their high quality, real world expertise in offline and online technical communities. Microsoft MVPs are a highly select group of experts that represents the technical community’s best and brightest, and they share a deep commitment to community and a willingness to help others.”

How does one become a MVP?   I have seen this question posted on various newsgroups and I get asked this a lot.  Well, first of all the MVP award is just that, an award.  As one of my fellow MVPs states “It is an award not an entitlement”.  I am proud to be a MVP and have been one for the last 6 years but each year I get nervous wondering if I will get re-awarded.  Yes, I answer a lot of questions in the newsgroups and yes I blog but like I said each year I worry if it is enough (some might say our wonderful MVP lead April takes pleasure in making us suffer [:O] )

So here are some things that you can do to help your chances of becoming a MVP.  There is no hard formula like if I answer X questions and post Y blogs I will get the award but these are some guidelines:

  • Active with UserGroups  (not as a simple member but one that presents / runs / heads up committees)

  • Blogging  –  Actively posting “USEFUL” information about the product  (not simply referencing other peoples post and claiming them as your own although if someone else has posted useful information feel free to tell others about it)

  • Writing and Publishing  – Books, Trade Magazines (SharePoint Beagle, SP Advisor, TechNet, MSD2D)

  • Speaking events – Conferences, code camps

  • Donates his or her time freely and willingly to help users in the community doing things like posting useful code in places like CodePlex

  • News Group participation ( MSD2D, MSDN)  Providing more answers and less questions

  • Recognition as a knowledge expert in thier discipline.

The SharePoint MVP community is a very tight nit group but we are always willing to accept new members that demonstrate the willingness and ability to become a MVP.

Information Rights Management in MOSS

Based on the number of questions I see in the newsgroups and forums regarding Information Rights Management (IRM) I figure a quick overview post is in order.

Most people know that IRM allows you to setup rules that determines how long a document is considered viable and what to do with it when it expires.  However there are other features of IRM that are as useful as well.  Other features that are part of IRM include Labels, Auditing, and Barcodes.

Labels allow you to add important information to a document when it gets printed.  You can allow users to enter the label when the document is uploaded and you can set what the lable will contain.  You can use most of the metadata that is associated with the document and use it as a label.   Just surround the metadata with {}.   Interesting tidbit.  The example that is listed on the page uses pieces of metadata that does not exist in most document libraries. [:D]  This seems to require the Rights Management Server to work correctly.

Auditing is the feature I find that I use the most.  In these days of lawsuits and multiple stories of cover-ups, auditing can be very useful.  You can keep track of who opens. edits. checks in/out, moves/copies, or deletes/restores the document.

Finally barcodes works like labels in that they get printed with the document. This seems to require the Rights Management Server to work correctly.

 Administrators can also make these available or unavailable through the Central Administration.

Well, there is it….an incredibly brief intro to IRM.   I think you will find that most people will use the expiration and auditing features the most since they work with very little effort but the other features can be quite useful as well.