Who is Jenni Jepsen

I met Jenni a few years back at XPDay Benelux. She did a wonderfull session together with Portia Tung. I have to admit I was at the session because of Portia. I was so impressed with Jenni, I went to her flirting with your stakeholder session the next day. I left even more impressed. I had numerous online conversation with Jenni since. I was really glad when Nicole invited her.

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

Many people do not know that I had a sister who died in a car accident. She was nearly 18, I was 20. That was the first time I’d experienced a death of someone close to me. I felt a lot of guilt at the time – she was a much happier person than I was. And being the only surviving sibling, I felt a bit lost dealing with my and my parents’ grief. Of course, this is a sad story, but it has had a major influence on my life. I really appreciate who my sister was, and afterwards I can see that I appreciate others so much more, I think, than I would have without having gone through this loss. Living each day to the fullest is not a cliché for me. It’s helped me to make some courageous decisions.

If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?

Hmmm, I guess I am now working in IT, aren’t I? I’m helping project teams improve their communication and collaboration. But I don’t have an IT background, so I don’t necessarily identify myself as “in IT.” I think that if I had not discovered Agile, I would still be working with executives and organizations helping them communicate the benefits of their products and services to end-user customers. I like what I do now much better. It’s more challenging, more interesting and I can see a greater good created by using Agile methodologies within the entire organization.

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?

My biggest challenge right now is to continue to integrate in Denmark. I moved here from the U.S. in 2008 (for love). My Danish is not quite fluent yet, but I’ve made major steps. My next goal is, in two years, to be doing my work completely in Danish if that is what the client prefers. Really learning the language is good for me because it’s been an unexpected “test” that I think helps keep my mind sharp. Isn’t that what they say, you should challenge your brain by learning another language? It’s either that or crossword puzzles

What drives you?

Two things: my desire to share what I know with others to help them align with goals, create meaning for their stakeholders, and build trust within the organization, AND my perfectionist tendencies, which are not always a good thing. I want to do the best job I can at all times. Making my clients happy is critical, but making sure I feel I’ve done my very best is even more important to me.

What is your biggest achievement?

Helping raise my independent, clever, curious son. He’s 24 now and it’s so great for me to see his transformation and know that I played a part in that.

What is the last book you have read?

Fiction: Fire dage i marts, about a woman’s relationship with her mother, grandmother, son and boyfriend, and events that span four days in March – in Danish.
Non-fiction: SWITCH, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath about organizational change.

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?

Q. Where do you go to learn?
A. Many places: conferences (especially the smaller ones), books, courses, blogs, twitter…but conversations, really deep conversations, with others both in and outside of the Agile community, seem to be where I learn most.

Who do you think I should ask next?

There are so many smart, talented people in this community. How about:

  • Ole Jepsen – my partner in all things, and the man that brought “Agile” to Denmark.
  • Martin Heider – young, energetic, helping lead the Agile movement in Germany.
  • Michael Sahota  – okay, I just feel good hanging around Michael. His focus is on using games as a way to align with strategies and get people really communicating.
  • Portia Tung  – her ability to get at the heart of the matter and work with teams to find answers is uncanny.

If you like these answers, you can find more in the book: who is agile. Jenni also answered Lisa’s question: What are you looking forward to most in the next few months?