Web Development

What's the Kentico MVP all about?

Matt Nield
Matt Nield

In case you missed it, our very own Matt Nield, Development Manager, was recently awarded Kentico ‘Most Valued Professional’ (MVP) status. I recently got to sit down with Matt to find out exactly what this status means for him, for Ridgeway, and our clients.

Matt Nield talking to colleague

So, Matt, firstly tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

My first job outside university was as a web developer working entirely in bespoke development using ASP, HTML, and JavaScript. I don’t think we had CSS yet, and frankly, practices were pretty cavalier. It was a very different time and not too unusual to see people bouncing around the office on space hoppers or playing cricket with bits of Ikea furniture that had yet to be assembled. Over the years, I’d like to think that I’ve developed and matured with the industry. 

Over the years, I’ve worked with a number of CMS platforms (Microsoft Site Server, Microsoft CMS, EPiServer, SharePoint, and something from Adobe that I forget and is probably best forgotten), a number of eCommerce platforms (Microsoft Commerce Server and Intershop), as well as some more business focused tools (Microsoft BI, BizTalk Server, and Navision). All of these have given me a fairly rounded set of experiences that I can bring to the table when approaching new projects.

After spending a couple of years in London working in financial services, I decided it was time to move back to working closer to home in Oxfordshire, spend more time with my growing family, and get back to working more with the web and a team of people that I knew from days gone by.

When did you first start working with Kentico? 

I first officially started working with Kentico when I joined Ridgeway back in 2012. I was aware of it prior to this and had tinkered about with it back in August 2009, judging by this old tweet: 

Tweet about Kentico

At the time, I was predominantly building sites using EPiServer, wanted to see what else was on offer, and knew some others who were using Kentico in another agency.

What key contributions have you made which have resulted in you gaining the MVP status?

My contributions have mainly been about sharing ideas with the wider developer community. This has mainly come through blog articles and Twitter. Most recently, I’ve been jumping on the headless CMS train and experimenting with Kentico’s new offering, Kentico Cloud. I’ve been blogging about that too and sharing some of the ideas and obstacles I’ve come across. In my role as Development Manager, I’ve also had the opportunity to be involved in calls with the product team for Kentico CMS and Kentico Cloud to discuss up and coming features.

What does it mean to you being chosen to be an MVP? 

I feel quite honoured at being awarded an MVP. For me it means that people are appreciative of my input in the wider community.

I feel quite honoured at being awarded an MVP. For me it means that people are appreciative of my input in the wider community and that what I am doing is useful to people. The existing MVPs are people I have been following for some time now and are those that I perceive to add a great deal to the community either in terms technical knowledge and support, or – in some cases – tools that support the platform and make working with it easier.

What will being a Kentico MVP actually mean? 

Ha – probably more work :-) I would love to be able to say more of the same, but I think part of the responsibility of being recognised and awarded this is that I need to put in more effort. As you might expect, there are certain commitments that are expected in terms of the level of contribution to the community and collaboration with the other MVPs. What’s great for me is that Ridgeway are making that time available as and when needed, rather than this being an extracurricular activity.

The task, as I see it, is to help others get the maximum possible benefit out of the Kentico platform. The Kentico community is growing, and I’d like to think that as MVPs, we are helping to fuel and sustain that growth. To that end, I’m setting myself up with a series of goals over the coming year that will hopefully provide benefit for the Kentico community (customers, partners, and developers), and of course to Ridgeway and our clients.

How will your new gained status impact our clients?

Matt at Kentico event

I’d like to think that this helps to increase confidence in Ridgeway’s abilities. Whilst I have been given this award, there is a team behind me that is equally engaged in the Kentico platform, and equally – if not more in some cases – capable. Having an MVP in the team certainly gives us something to shout about, but in terms of the skills that we have in the team, it is a bit more like the tip of an iceberg.

As an MVP, I have more direct communication with Kentico team members and can spend more time collaborating with them on upcoming features and products. These opportunities mean that feedback from our clients doesn’t necessarily stop with a development team here, but can feed back into the product team.

What do you like best about working with Kentico? 

I like the flexibility it offers, especially in the value that the Portal Engine can add. There are so many different ways that you can do things in Kentico (and a surprising number of out-of-the-box things that require no back-end coding) that most challenges can be overcome. Over time, the platform has become more extendible and I see no reason not to believe that this trend will continue.

What truly puts Kentico CMS and Kentico Cloud ahead of other CMS platforms that I have used is the team at Kentico themselves. Everyone from the partner team to the support team are always open and happy to help with whatever your query might be, meaning the great support from Kentico themselves is just an email away.