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Dylan Smith ALM / Architecture / TFS

Just sitting in the Seattle airport finally returning home from my first MVP Summit (well in truth I’m flying directly to my next client, no home till next weekend).

As I said this was my first time attending an MVP Summit, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect.  It turned out to be an incredible week, and gives me a new appreciation for the term “drinking from a firehose”.  I’m told that your experience can be very different depending on what Product Group you are associated with.  I’m lucky to be with the Visual Studio ALM group which I’m told is one of the most involved and open of them all.

The week was split up like so:

Mon-Wed – Scheduled sessions/presentations/discussion with the Product Group.

Thu – MVP-2-MVP Day

Fri – Office Hours with the ALM Product Group

And lots and lots of parties in between!


The Product Group sessions were 3 jam-packed days where first Brian Harry, then various feature teams got up in front of the room and filled us in on the vision of the product(s) going forward.  I think everything presented/discussed was all new non-public information about feature sets coming in vNext and even vNext+1.  Most of the features being discussed were so early that there is no working code to demo, the discussions revolved around powerpoint slides and storyboards (and sometimes we were discussing features so far in the future that storyboards don’t even exist yet).

These weren’t your typical conference sessions though.  There was lots of interaction, probably half the sessions took the format where the product group just put up a topic for discussion and let the audience drive the discussion around what we felt was needed to solve whatever problem was under discussion (or if the problem even existed in the first place).  We did a bunch of live polls, where various teams would give us a bunch of potential features and get us to rank which ones were most important to us.  And just in general, the audience was very actively involved throughout every day (I swear there were some sessions where the audience did more talking than the presenter(s)).


On Thursday we did the MVP2MVP day organized by Neno Loje.  This was a day with back to back 20 min sessions from 9am – 5pm (with no breaks!).  Whoever thought this up originally, kudos to them.  The great thing about this, is it gives the ALM MVP’s a chance to present various topics of interest to other ALM MVP’s.  Unlike conference sessions, where you can’t assume deep knowledge, these sessions can cut away all the fluff because everybody in the audience is already an expert, so you get to focus on just the interesting stuff.  A lot of these sessions were ALM/TFS related projects that various MVP’s are working on.  Some examples off the top of my head:

Friday was scheduled basically over the course of the week thanks to Chuck.  He rounded up the various product owners that we MVP’s said we’d like to sit down and chat with.  These were informal sessions, no powerpoints or demos.  Just frank discussion and the opportunity for us to ask questions or give feedback.


And of course there are massive amounts of partying networking that goes on:

Sunday was the get-together of all the Canadian MVP’s.  Us Canadians know how to “network”!


Monday was MVP Welcome Party at the Hyatt, followed up by minor house party at Ted Newards house with 120 of his closest friends (thanks Ted!).  Ted piled up a mountain of tech books he no longer wanted at the door for anybody to take:



Tuesday had no official events planned, so the Imaginet Crew decided to head out for a quiet night, with some Indoor Sky Diving:


Wednesday night was the official MVP Party, where MS rented out the entire Seahawks stadium for the night:



And of course this included Karaoke by Darcy:

and by James Chambers:



And to carry-on a tradition started last year, we ended the night with some Lobster:



I decided to end my weekend with a trip to Crystal Mountain for some snowboarding, which turned out to be a great choice as there was a big dump of snow on Friday night:


Posted on Sunday, February 24, 2013 2:33 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: MVP Summit 2013 Recap

# re: MVP Summit 2013 Recap
Requesting Gravatar...
Gotta wonder about that lobster pic.
Who's eating who ?
Left by Dad of geek on Feb 25, 2013 11:54 AM

# re: MVP Summit 2013 Recap
Requesting Gravatar...
Looks like you had fun :)
Left by Mitch Garvis on Feb 26, 2013 2:12 PM

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