Who is Jutta Eckstein

IMG_5053 The 13the person in the Who Is Serie is Jutta Eckstein
Jutta has written 2 books on distributed agile that have  been translated from German to English. She was recently called Nr 87 on Top 100 of Das Computerwoche ranking

I saw a few of her talks at agile conferences in the USA & Kiev. To this day I still use a phrase I learned from her: “With distributed teams you will always pay for travel costs, by bringing the team together or by loosing productivity.” (She said it in a more catchy sentence)
Jutta has been active in the agile community almost since the start. When I started doing distributed agile in 2005, she was the only person I found at the time that said it was possible.














What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

Only a few people know that I started off as a regular teacher. I taught such funny(?) school subjects like sports, arts, craft, design, and technology. That’s probably why I’m still interested in pedagogical patterns, facilitation, and generally education.

If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?
Well this depends if I have to make money out of this other thing or if I could assume that money is available? If money would be available, I guess
I would spend most of my time under water scuba diving at all the phantastic spots all over the world. BTW in my first year of being independent I decided
that it’s up to me based on which business I will survive. And although I spent  most of my time working on IT projects, I also worked for 2 months for a
scuba dive center in Menorca (Spain). As a Scuba Dive Master (which takes more than a 2 day training class followed by a multiple choice test 🙂
I have done that for a change in Sardinia (Italy) and Egypt in the following years. Meanwhile I have been giving up my pro-career in scuba diving, but I keep doing it for fun. Hmm, and if I would have to make money, then it’s getting difficult. Actually my second study wasn’t IT but engineering. Maybe this would have been something. At least the most interesting IT projects to me are the ones that are very close to hardware and where we can actually see something is happening because of the software we’ve delivered. Just seeing that some data has been read, made pretty, and stored in the database again – is somewhat boring compared to hardware-related applications.

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?
Honestly, I have a problem with the second part of the question. I think my biggest challenge is not a good thing for me. Striving for perfection is my
biggest challenge. I have tried to learn over the years that perfection is seldom really good, it seldom pays off (whereas good enough or barely
sufficient does always pay off
) and it costs a lot of energy – sometimes so much energy that I had to pay with my health. So again, I have a hard time
seeing anything good in here

What drives you ?
My passion for getting better (myself), for seeing people enjoying their work more than they did before. I have always the greatest times working with
teams once fun and laughter (please note I’m not speaking of cynicism) became part of the work.

What is your biggest achievement?
Getting independent. After six years working as an employed programmer (first C++ and then I converted to a Smalltalk addict) for a couple of companies, I
felt that I wouldn’t like to work this way for the rest of my life (maybe the decline of Smalltalk was part of this conisderation). At first I thought I will only work as an independent for a few months – actually I thought only to bridge some time till I will start working on my PhD and then spending my time as a professor at a university. But then it turned out that being independent is so much fun and so statisfying for me that I’ve quickly given up on that other idea.

What is the last book you have read?
Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge‘ written by Rainer Maria Rilke.
To be honest, I had a long time where I’ve given up reading – I mean real stuff. During these time I read IT-related books only. Well, now it’s the other way round, I hardly read any work related stuff, yet about 30 “real” books per year.

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?
Jutta, do you still enjoy your daily yoga practice?
Astonishing enough, yes I do. When I attended last year’s Retrospective Gathering in Tisvildea few of us got together in the morning for practicing
Kristina Malther who organized the gathering together with her mom, Charlotte, pointed me to these great yoga classes for download. Since then I’m practicing
every morning for 30 minutes and it helps me a great deal. Beforehand I just went to a class once a week whenever I was home (which means maybe 20 times a
year), and although I liked it, I just didn’t make any progress (see here it comes again: perfection 🙂 ). So nowadays my yoga travel mat is always in my
suitcase and waiting for me together with the online class in every hotel in the world.

Who do you think I should ask next?

There are a lot of people who are not getting as much recognition as they should. So this is a tough question. My I suggest two? Jeanitta Andrea who
pushed Acceptance Test Driven Development forward.

And my second recommendation (no order here) is Lise Hvatum a Norwegian who moved to Texas in order to make Schlumberger more agile – what a challenge!