About a year ago I wrote a blog post on how to become a Microsoft MVP. I had planned on following up with a second blog post providing more information but the more I review what I put in place the more I believe that it stands well as it is. I hope that the original blog post was useful to aspiring MVP’s and would love to hear if it was – please post your comments here if you found this useful or if you have additional questions.

In the spirit of this original blog post I thought that the logical follow-up is for existing MVP’s – once you have become an MVP how do you keep your MVP status? (Or what are the most common ways that people lose their MVP status).

In the eight years that I have had the honor of being a Microsoft MVP I’ve seen a lot of MVP’s come and go and I’m sure at some point in time my tenure as an MVP will come to a conclusion as well. That said, the following are the top items to consider if you want to keep your MVP status based upon my experiences:

  1. Never break your NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). Breaking your NDA is an express route to losing MVP status. Microsoft needs to be able to trust that whatever they tell us under NDA will stay under NDA.
  2. Professionalism is a key to long term survival as an MVP. Strong MVP’s are passionate about their products and want to see the products continue to evolve and to get better. Passion however can easily lead to non-professionalism. I have never seen a situation where it is acceptable to insult or to behave rudely to Microsoft product team members. While we are often competitors (since many of us are consultants or run consulting organizations) we are professionals first and foremost.
  3. MVP’s need to renew yearly based upon the last 12 months of contributions. The most important thing to remember is to keep doing what you were doing to receive your MVP status (sharing with the community using the approaches that you used to achieve your status). If anything once you become an MVP it may be time to put on the turbo boost because now you are seeing the caliber of the other MVP’s already in the program! Understand and keep understanding that being part of the MVP community is a privilege not a right. If you come to a point where you assume you belong in the program start questioning yourself.
  4. Check your ego at the door both when dealing with Microsoft personnel and when dealing with your felling MVP’s. Microsoft doesn’t owe us anything, and our fellow MVP’s were granted their status as well so they must have done what’s required to achieve that status.
  5. MVP’s primary purposes are to share with the community and to provide feedback to Microsoft on products that we work with and what the community needs in those products. When things don’t seem to change it is easy to become negative especially over a long period of time providing this feedback. When you reach the point of frustration on a specific topic ask yourself – is this the hill I want to die on? At some point MVP’s either need to decide to let go of a particular fight or to choose to step away from the program. If you have wondered an MVP can choose to quit the MVP program and walk away from their status as an MVP.
  6. Joining Microsoft = Giving up your MVP status. An interesting one that people may not be aware of is that if you chose to join Microsoft as an employee you must give up your MVP status. I have seen many great MVP’s join Microsoft as employees and while we always miss them in the program we continue to get to work with them just in a new capacity.
  7. As an MVP we need to continually adapt to change. New technologies may change the entire landscape so that products that we live and breathe for may disappear over time and be replaced with others. MVP’s which survive in the long term must evolve and change.
  8. Misusing the MVP Award to do things like generating business only is a long term method to not be renewed. Helping the community is first, helping your business is second.
  9. Get to know your fellow MVP’s. Attending events like the MVP summit and conferences are great ways to expand your network and to involvement is key to being renewed. People need to see you both locally and internationally and of course it’s a good idea to get to know your MVP lead.
  10. Maintain your MVP profile. This is most of what your MVP lead has available to them to show why you should continue to be an MVP. If you don’t maintain this you making it impossible for them to advocate on your behalf.

I would like to put a huge thank you to my fellow MVP’s who have been like a second family to me and were also instrumental in putting together this top 10 list. I hope that this has been an interesting insight into the MVP program and would love to know: What you think? Are there other key points that you have found to retaining your MVP status that I should have included in my top 10?