mvp-blog

Celebrating the 10th Annual SDL Tridion Sites Most Valuable Professional Awards

It’s an exciting day – today we’re announcing the winners of the tenth annual SDL Tridion Sites Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award. As background, the Most Valuable Professionals award was launched to thank and recognize all the great professionals that freely share their knowledge, real world experience and objective feedback to help others implement and enhance our technology. A small get-together in Portugal in 2009 naturally evolved into larger annual hack-a-thon sessions, celebratory nights, and late-night jam sessions. MVP activity, word-of-mouth, and a short promotional video encouraged even more sharers over the past decade.
 
This post compares the program’s start to today’s sharing practices and platforms, considers MVP activity in the SDL Tridion Sites customer and partner community, and concludes with thoughts on the future of community and product.

Then and Now

Following industry trends, MVP and community contributions on the product-specific TridionWorld platform organically grew into today’s platforms, practices, and open source projects. Reminisce about the TridionWorld migration, read “How Should I Use SDL Community?”, or compare then and now with the following table.

Community aspect

Then

(Sharing in 2009)

Now
(Sharing in 2019)

Question and Answer

TridionWorld Forum

Tridion Stack Exchange

Online Discussion

TridionWorld Forum

·       Tridion Stack Exchange Meta

·       SDL Community group

·       LinkedIn

·       Reddit

·        Etc.

Blogging

·       TridionWorld articles

·       Personal websites

·       WordPress

·       Blogger

·       Etc.

·       SDL.com

·       SDL Community Blogs

·       SDL Community Technical Blogs

·       ContentBloom-sponsored Tridion Developers Blog

·       Various other partner blogs and personal blogs

Examples

Code and set-up examples, starting with copy-and-pasted code snippets and downloadable projects

·       SDL AppStore

·       Open source projects on Github and SDL open source projects

·       Partner-hosted Alchemy Webstore

·       Video tutorials on YouTube

Ideation

SDL Tridion Ideas

 

SDL Tridion Ideas on SDL Community

Chat

Various, following personal preferences and the “network effect”

·       Slack channel

·       Skype

·       And various others, following personal preferences and the “network effect”


Community content followed the latest platforms and the MVPs were there at key milestones, leaving a lasting impact on the product and community.

Impact

MVP activity coincided with several product and community milestones. But did they share because they were making an impact? Or did they make an impact because they shared? Though difficult to tease apart correlation from causation, I suspect the MVPs shared because of the interesting challenges they solved with our customers. MVPs shared because they could, because there was an audience, and because of a deep fascination with Tridion as a sophisticated multi-site, multi-lingual, and multi-channel content management system. They adopted product capabilities and collaborated, created, and shared their solutions to such challenges.

MVPs helped the community adopt new features, collaborated on open source initiatives, and created new solutions for the customer and partner community. They explored SDL Tridion Sites features, capabilities, and extensions such as event-based automation, the Content Manager Core Service API, and Graphical User Interface (GUI) extensibility. Dynamic Delivery for Tridion (DD4T) involved MVPs and other community members and was adopted as part of the official Digital Experience Accelerator (DXA) reference implementation. DD4T and DXA eventually enabled the SDL Tridion DX suite through the delivery-side integration with SDL Tridion Docs, SDL’s Structured Content Management solution. MVPs worked on the Alchemy Webstore and SDK to extend Tridion’s native GUI extensibility.

From how-to guides to the Razor Mediator, which introduced .NET-style MVP rendering into the Content Manager, the MVPs were involved. From question and answers to PowerShell expertise to the power user PowerTools extension reboot and Tridion Practices and Patterns, the MVPs were involved. From connecting front-end expertise to Tridion efforts as well as bringing Tridion to the cloud and the cloud to the Tridion community, the MVPs were involved.

They fostered a culture of asking smart question, keeping each other honest, and a competitive spirit at being the most helpful. Winners over the past decade continue to work with Tridion Sites or related technology, from owning their own companies to presenting at conferences, serving as consultants, or working full time in and outside of SDL. Several MVP alumni can be found leading digital projects at the largest brands and companies like Adidas, Amazon, Disney, and Google.

MVPs helped push activity to StackOverflow, which was matched by the community's own Tridion Stack Exchange proposal, which then helped reveal even more would-be sharers and award winners. 

What more could you want from such a group? Ten more years of sharing and encouraging sharers!

Permission

From my very first Tridion project as a customer to winning an MVP award, my personal brand advocate-turned-defender story is embedded into the history of the Tridion Sites MVP program.

After applying SDL solutions as a customer from 2009 to 2011, I surprisingly won an MVP award and started a new career with SDL, eventually connecting with peers, colleagues, and friends from around the world. I’ve had the chance to sit on the selection committee and the pleasure to mentor would-be sharers.  Ultimately, a bit of knowledge sharing turned into once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work abroad in the Netherlands on the actual product starting in 2015. Now, in my day-to-day work as a product owner, I have the insight from MVP alumni, the broader community on SDL Community, Slack, and platforms mentioned above, and with customers in the SDL UX Research Program.

Most critically, the program enabled a critical, yet subtle difference in the form of permission. This program has given many of us permission to do more and to share more. A few MVPs admitted to me they explicitly made the effort to overcome that initial hesitation to share their expertise with the public.

When you doubt the validity of your ideas, when it’s unclear if you can share, or when time feels limited, an award program for community sharing and its award winners are a nudge and shining beacon to others that you can give yourself permission. This program is a personal reminder me that when the backlog of ideas is endless and the next step unclear, I can make a connection to colleagues, partners, and customers to get help revealing the true challenges and opportunities. I Regardless of role, position, or company, we have and can continue collaborate and work together to solve our industry’s biggest challenges.

I’m grateful for a program and product that shaped my career and showed us of what we’re capable together, when we give ourselves permission. I’m grateful for the intersection between a sophisticated product, luck, and perhaps my own verbosity and penchant for sharing. I have the privilege and opportunity to give back and now shape the future of this product we value. 

It’s that permission to reach out across roles and companies to create something bigger than we could have dreamed individually, in the intersection of product, customers, and community, which will shape the future of the MVP program and the product itself in the next 10 years and beyond.

Special thanks and congratulations to MVP winners over the past decade, Nuno Linhares as MVP chair (“Benevolent Dictator for Life”), and hostess-with-the-mostest Carla, who managed to repeatedly shuttle a group of wide-eyed award winners to and from a picturesque, remote location in Portugal, kept them focused and merry while saving time for some adventure and local culture, meeting a perfect SLA year after year. Obrigado!