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Habanero technical specialist awarded Microsoft MVP

Habanero congratulates Yaroslav Pentsarskyy for being designated a 2010 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in SharePoint. This is the second year in a row Yaroslav has received the designation.

The MVP award is a way for Microsoft to recognize independent experts in various product areas. MVPs get access to pre-release versions of various products and can make a direct impact on what goes into the product final shipping product. There are only six SharePoint MVPs in Canada and 193 worldwide.

According to Microsoft, "To receive the Microsoft MVP Award, MVP nominees undergo a rigorous review process. A panel that includes members of the MVP team and Microsoft product groups evaluates each nominee's technical expertise and voluntary community contributions for the past 12 months. The panel considers the quality, quantity, and level of impact of the MVP nominee's contributions. Active MVPs receive the same level of scrutiny as other new candidates each year."

The following is an interview with Yaroslav about the Microsoft MVP award.

What is the MVP program all about?

The MVP program is not just technical in nature. It's also about helping a community of users and customers with product adoption. The role of an MVP is to be a leader in the community and drive engagement from developers, IT professionals, and information workers. These roles all ask different types of questions and need different types of support.

How do you become an MVP?

MVPs are nominated by other MVPs, Microsoft staff, or other technical community members. You are expected to supply a portfolio which identifies things like users groups in which you are a presenter, conferences you've spoken at, blogs you've written, or books you written. They ask for all your references. A Microsoft product team reviews it. People who are nominated do get rejected. It's not an easy award to get.

What do you get?

You get access to the product team that develops various products, in my case SharePoint. There's a yearly summit in Redmond where MVPs are invited to get together and the product team asks what we'd like to see in future releases. We're participating in a three year strategic vision. It's cool to see what Microsoft is currently working on and what will be coming out in three years. It gives me a real sense of engagement.

What does being awarded an MVP mean to you?

It's a big honour. Microsoft is a leader in software development and the practices and standards we follow internally at Habanero come from them, so to be recognized by Microsoft is huge. They don't recognize many people and those they do recognize are really impressive.

It sounds like achieving the MVP designation requires that you make a big commitment of your own time?

I think part of it is personality and I would be doing the same thing even if I wasn't an MVP. After spending a lot of time solving a problem you want to share what you've learned with others. It's also really important to get feedback to determine if there might be a better solution out there that someone else has discovered.

What was your contribution to the SharePoint 2010 beta release?

I wrote a lot on SharePoint's new social features and wrote SharePoint how-to's, short-cuts, and tips-and-tricks. There were a lot of bugs we found in the betas of both Visual Studio and SharePoint that we didn't want to have to deal with later on, so it was great to be able to directly contribute to the product's QA in this way.

Did Habanero support you in achieving MVP recognition?

I have not seen a company that encourages professional and personal development as much as Habanero. We have time allocated for blogging, training requests are rarely denied, resources (like books) are never an issue, and taking exams is encouraged and paid for. The overall team is really supportive and collaborative. We have knowledge sharing sessions all the time. A lot credit goes to Habanero for this particular award. It's great to work at company that appreciates such efforts.

What's next?

I'm going to continue my work contributing to blogs, video tutorials, user groups, and conferences. I'm also very excited about a publication I'll have coming out this fall! Stay tuned to my blog for more details in coming weeks.

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