Introducing the SharePoint MCM Program and the First Microsoft Certified SharePoint Masters!

As the Program Manager for the SharePoint Master and MCA programs, I am pleased to introduce the programs and the first two groups of Certified SharePoint Masters! (Microsoft Certified Masters for SharePoint 2007)

To recap, the Alpha delivery (Rotation 1, or “R1”) was held in November of last year and the Beta delivery (R2) finished up in early April. Throughout this process I’ve had the great pleasure of working with the SharePoint MCM Instructor team to design, build, deliver, improve, update, redeliver, (repeat) the SharePoint MCM program.

The Instructor team is made up of 15 – 20 of the top subject matter experts in the world. Each Instructor is a SharePoint expert, either as members of the SharePoint Product Group or as deployment professionals in the field, and they’re exceptionally deep in the areas they instruct. Additionally, in a few target areas we pair Instructors with domain expertise in dependent technologies (SQL, AD, etc.) with SharePoint SMEs in the same area – such as paring our SQL Instructors (Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp) with our resident SharePoint SQL SME (Bill Baer.)

Each delivery, or “Rotation”, spans three back-to-back weeks of training in Redmond, WA. The first step in the SharePoint MCM journey is to ensure application pre-requisites are met. Once the pre-requisites have been met, the next step is to complete an application. After application pre-requisites are verified, the Instructor team will review the applicant's documentation and then schedule a one hour technical interview conference call. This phase of the process is important for a number of reasons. Due to the intense nature of the program and the depth and breadth of material covered, the Instructor team conducts the technical interview to gain a better understanding of the applicant’s skill level and subject matter expertise. This is a very rigorous, comprehensive, and thorough application process. Applicants should expect to demonstrate a working knowledge, expertise, and hands-on experience across SharePoint Products and Technologies, as well as a willingness to share their knowledge with and learn from others. The documentation along with the technical interview provide the basis for assessing an applicant's readiness to enter the program. Applicants whose applications are accepted should be very proud for having become “MCM candidates.” This in itself is a great accomplishment and having great experts in the room is a key aspect of each rotation.

The candidates that attend and work through each rotation bring a terrific amount of expertise and a wide array of experience to each delivery. As the SharePoint Master program is targeted at SharePoint professionals who actively design, build, configure, deploy, support, and troubleshoot SharePoint implementations, each candidate has a background across the SharePoint stack. If you’re a SharePoint professional, you’ll realize that this covers quite a lot of ground. In fact, to get a feel for some of the areas covered, a good place to start is the recommended pre-reading list for each rotation located here.

To provide more insight into the program, some of the members of R1 and R2 have recently posted blog posts describing their rotation experience. I’ve posted these below along with posts from Arpan Shah, Andrew Connell, and Todd Baginski as they provide a good view into the program from different vantage points: 

· Bill Baer: An inside view of the SharePoint MCM Program

· Russ Houberg: Master Training: Are You Ready?

· Mirjam van Olst: My Microsoft Certified Master Experience

· Maurice Prather: A Perspective on the Microsoft Certified Master Program for SharePoint

· Spencer Harbar: Certified Master for SharePoint 2007 “R2”

· Arpan Shah: Meeting Potential Future SharePoint Masters

· Andrew Connell: Microsoft Certification Master for SharePoint - My Involvement in Helping Create the Certification Content and Some Thoughts...

· Todd Baginski: SharePoint Certified Master - An Inside Look

Hopefully the above links provide more insight into the program and help provide a better understanding of the overall experience of a rotation.

So with that, without further ado, it is my great pleasure to introduce our first SharePoint Masters! Each of these individuals has demonstrated deep knowledge and subject matter expertise as well as real-world hands-on experience with SharePoint. As mentioned earlier, each SharePoint MCM has undergone a thorough interview process, attended a full rotation, passed three comprehensive written exams, and finally, has successfully completed a thorough qualification-lab (aka “the qual lab”) practical hands-on exam.

Please join me in congratulating our newest Certified SharePoint Masters!

Listed below in alphabetical order:

· Aku Heikkerö: Aku is the Lead IW Architect for Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) in Europe and is based in Helsinki, Finland.

· Ali Mazaheri: Ali is a Senior Consultant with MCS and is based in the West region of North America.

· Bill Baer: Bill is a Technology Architect with Microsoft Online and is based in Redmond, Washington.

· Brett Geoffroy: Brett Geoffroy is a Principal Consultant for Microsoft Consulting Services in the Netherlands. He originally hails from the US – most recently the San Francisco Bay Area - and currently resides in Amsterdam.

· Ingeborg Struijk: Ingeborg is a member of Microsoft Services in the Netherlands and works as Information Worker Consultant.

· Kimmo Forss: Kimmo Forss is an Architect in the Microsoft Online Services Group, with particular focus on SharePoint. Previously, Kimmo served as a Lead Architect for Microsoft Enterprise Services and is based in Helsinki, Finland.

· Maurice Prather: Maurice is an enterprise architect, SharePoint MVP, and serves as the Lead Architect for ShareSquared, Inc. (http://www.sharesquared.com).

· Mitch Prince: Mitch is a Principal Consultant and Delivery Architect with Microsoft Consulting Services based out of New York City.

· Nakul Joshi: Nakul is a Consultant with Microsoft Consulting Services and is based in India.

· Peter Williams: Peter is a Senior Consultant for Microsoft based in Sweden.

· Scott Jamison: Scott is a Director of Enterprise Architecture with the Enterprise Product Group at Microsoft.

· Spencer Harbar: Spencer is an independent SharePoint consultant, trainer, and SharePoint MVP based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

· Todd Carter: Todd is a Principal Premier Field Engineer with Microsoft and is based in Las Colinas, Texas.

· Vesa Juvonen: Vesa is a Senior Consultant for Microsoft Consulting Services and is based in Helsinki, Finland.

Congratulations to all of our new SharePoint Masters. We expect to add additional names to this list in the coming months as we’ll have more qual-lab and written exam retakes in the next few months (from R1 & R2), as well as an R3 delivery in June. We’ll be sure to post updates with regards to new SharePoint MCMs as needed.

I’m looking forward to working with the new group of candidates in June and to continued collaboration with our new community of SharePoint Masters!

James Petrosky