Our Microsoft MVPs in the Spotlight

Sep 7, 2018 | Blog | 0 comments

We’re incredibly proud at Content and Code to have such a wide-ranging skill set amongst both our technical and operational staff. But following the arrival of our third Microsoft MVP, Vardhaman Deshpande, who has been recognised for his tireless efforts and thought leadership within the Office Development space – we thought we’d take the time to sit down with all three of our MVPs to find out a bit more about who they are and what they do. 

What is a Microsoft MVP?


Microsoft MVP

For those of you not aware of what a Microsoft MVP is, they can be defined as the following;

“Microsoft MVPs – Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals – are technology experts who specialise in technologies, like Office 365, and spend their time sharing their knowledge with IT professionals and developers – to help others learn about cutting edge and new technologies and solve problems faced by people within the IT community at large.”

An MVP is someone who shares their knowledge, in their own time, and not only is a leader in their field – but finds enjoyment and value in helping others too. It’s less about taking work home, and more about the work they do not being just a day job – they are passionate about learning everything they can about technologies they work with.

You’ll find MVPs writing blog posts, answering questions on community forums, recording instructional videos for others and presenting at conferences and user group meet ups. They share their knowledge, solutions they have created with the world and don’t expect anything in return.

The close relationship Microsoft builds with people who are awarded MVP affords the opportunity to spend time with Microsoft understanding what improvements are coming to products in the future, and to influence direction, based on their expert take and what they are hearing from people they help on a day to day basis.

Microsoft presents the award to MVPs after a tough selection process where Microsoft carefully evaluate how the individual has contributed to the IT community. The award lasts a single year, with some MVPs lucky enough to receive the award in subsequent years.

Content and Code’s Microsoft MVPs

As a Microsoft Partner, Content and Code has a long tradition of working closely with Microsoft and values the awards both the company wins on a regular basis, and encourages people to share their knowledge with the IT community outside of just the clients we work with – whether that’s supporting staff speaking at user groups and conferences or supporting blogging about the challenges we’ve solved for clients.

Chris O’Brien and Steve Goodman are both long-standing MVPs and this week, Vard Deshpande has joined the line-up, receiving his first Microsoft MVP award, for Office Development – joining only a small number worldwide.

Our newest MVP: Vardhaman Deshpande

Vardhaman works as a Technical Architect at Content and Code. His primary areas of focus being SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure. He has been passionate about technology since as long as we can remember. In his opinion, the fast-paced nature at which the Enterprise Software is moving is what makes it so thrilling and exciting. He is an active participant in the SharePoint Patterns and Practices (PnP) initiative where he has spoken on various topics in the monthly community calls. In his spare time, he is an avid gamer and likes to travel to various European cities. Vardhaman maintains a blog at https://vrdmn.com/ and his twitter is https://twitter.com/vrdmn. You can also find him on GitHub at https://github.com/vman.

You were selected to become an MVP within the Office Development award category, what does this consist of?

This criteria for this award category is split into five main sections:

  1. SharePoint Development
  2. Microsoft Teams Development (including Bots)
  3. Microsoft Graph API Development
  4. Outlook Development
  5. W/X/P Development (Word, Excel, PowerPoint Dev)

Regular community contributions submitted for the nomination are required for the MVP submission. What do you do within the community?

Blogging. I blog around anything which I find interesting, the bonus is that others seem to find these topics interesting as well. Personally, I enjoy sharing my experiences with the wider Microsoft technical community, whether that’s sharing stories about recent client work and overcoming business issues with Microsoft technologies or sharing the latest best practices.

I also contribute with GitHub Open Source work on SharePoint Framework, Microsoft Patterns and Practices (PnP) projects. In addition, I am regularly involved within SharePoint and Office 365 User Group Sessions and Microsoft Web casts where I can help share my expertise with a wider audience.

We understand that there have been some changes to the MVP program in the recent years, what does this mean for the program?

The program itself has broadened in the sense that Microsoft are looking for open source contributions – even before GitHub acquisition – in order to help shape and evolve Microsoft technologies. To me, it seems as if this is all part of the new Microsoft ethos of becoming more open and less proprietary within the marketplace and allowing developers to add further innovations and modernisations to each product set.

What does becoming an MVP mean to you? And, what can we expect from you in the future?

Having worked within the SharePoint space for several years and now progressing into the world of Office 365 development, not only is the work I do a real passion for me, but it is a huge honour to have been selected for the MVP award. On the whole, I am excited about the future. For me, being able to gain early insight, and feedback, into the SharePoint Framework process is invaluable.

Most importantly it means that I will be able to help influence – even if it’s only in a small way – the direction Microsoft products take and share my insights with the wider IT community.

In terms of the future, I look forward to continuing working with industry leaders and working at the heart of cutting-edge technologies. I will continue to blog regularly both on my own blog and for Content and Code and look to further contribute to the SharePoint and Office 365 community.   

Our longest serving MVP: Chris O’Brien

Chris works on the development side of Office 365 and comes from a background of building applications in SharePoint, .NET and web technologies. Chris is Head of Development at Content and Code, leading a team of talented developers with expertise in Office 365, SharePoint, Teams, Microsoft Graph, PowerApps, Flow, Azure and much more.

Chris has received the MVP award for 11 consecutive years. He writes a highly-regarded blog at www.sharepointnutsandbolts.com, and regularly speaks at Microsoft and industry events.

How did you become awarded an MVP and what motivates you?

Back in 2007, I had 3 articles that I wanted to publish and then stop there. Since I’ve been writing and speaking for the last 11 years, something clearly went wrong with that plan! I found that I really enjoy being part of a technical community and working on the leading edge – there’s always something new to learn and ways to get better. Over the years I’ve contributed to Microsoft’s efforts to shape some areas of Office 365 and have had great conversations with peers as we try to solve some of the challenges that can come with new technology and approaches. It’s hugely rewarding, and I’ve made some great friends along the way!

What interesting things have you got coming up we should know about? 

I’m working hard to round out some articles and demos around Azure for extending PowerApps and Flow, and later in the year I’ll be speaking at the European SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure conference in Copenhagen. In fact, I’m on the organising committee for the event this year, so as well my sessions on Office 365 and Azure development, I’ll be helping the conference run smoothly. It should be a great event with a big representation from Microsoft 

Our leading Office 365 MVP: Steve Goodman 

Steve works as Principal Technology Strategist, and spends his time helping people understand how best to utilise Office 365, getting hands-on solving some of the more complex problems associated with migrating to the cloud or to newer versions of Exchange Server. As a six-time Microsoft MVP award recipient, you will find Steve talking about Office 365 and Exchange at conferences and user groups worldwide. Steve also records podcasts and writes blog articles both here, at Content and Code and on All About 365 sharing his experience with others. 

How did you become awarded an MVP and what motivates you? 

“I started blogging nearly eight years ago after spending a lot of time reading technology blogs and finding them immensely helpful to me and the team I managed. I found that I wasn’t really making great notes on the challenges I was working on and rather than just keep them to myself, I started my own technology blog.

After joining a Microsoft TAP for Exchange 2010 and working on early Office 365 deployments, I realised much of this was new ground not just for me, but lots of others. At that time, I ended up getting really interested in what was to become Office 365 and spent a lot of time answering questions on forums.

As Exchange 2010 gained steam along with Office 365, I spoke at user groups, and a publisher came across my blog and asked if I’d be interested in writing my first book. I realised at the time, whilst working and managing a team of system admins, that just managing systems wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I really got a lot more enjoyment from helping others solve problems and learning all I could about new, cutting edge tech.

Moving to work as a consultant I had a lot more exposure to all sorts of different environments – which helped me find more ideas to write and speak about. The rest, as they say – is history.

Over the years I’ve authored books on Exchange for Microsoft Press, courses for Microsoft learning, presented at conferences all over the world and more.

These days work doesn’t feel like work – so it’s easy to stay motivated there. Content and Code – and CEO, Tim – are supportive of the work I do as an MVP, like speaking at conferences, and with the rate of change in the cloud, every IT pro needs to be motivated to learn. The good thing about blogging, podcasting or presenting your knowledge to other people is it motivates you to work harder, as effectively you are putting yourself out for the world to critique.”

What interesting things have you got coming up we should know about?

On Monday 10th September, I’m part of the team organizing Evolve Conference – a one day event about Microsoft 365 and Azure. It’s in its fourth year and it’s not too late to grab tickets. As well as helping put on the conference, I’m also speaking about Exchange Server. In a few weeks’ time, later on in September, I’ll be at Microsoft Ignite, speaking about Office 365, Exchange and Powershell. You’ll also find me in Orlando recording the All About 365 podcast, live from the podcast studio, and on the Microsoft Teams stands helping out during the week.


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