Interview with Duena Blomstrom


Human Debt and Technical Debt Are Both
Going to Kill You

Interview with Duena Blomstrom

Agilist, Author, Global Influencer
CEO and Co-Founder of PeopleNotTech
United Kingdom

Interviewed by Aina Aliieva
International Correspondent, PM World Journal
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Introduction to the interviewee

Duena Blomstrom is CEO and Co-Founder of PeopleNotTech, a people software solution focusing on Psychological Safety and high performing team dynamics. With a background in Psychology and Business, she is also an international keynote speaker with many years of experience leading Agile teams and creating digital products, a prolific writer on Forbes and LinkedIn and the author of “Emotional Banking” and “People Before Tech: The Importance of Psychological Safety and Teamwork in the Digital Age”.

Duena is also often named as a top 100 global influencer in the tech space and has been recognised as a LinkedIn ‘Top Voice’ with 250,000 followers and 116,000 newsletter subscribers.

More at www.peoplenottech.com and www.duenablomstrom.com

Note: This interview was written in Clubhouse with help of Rita Badawi and Robby Overvliet


Q1.      Duena, in your blogs and interviews you speak passionately about Emotional Banking. Tell us more about it.

Duena Blomstrom (Duena):        Emotional Banking™ is a term I coined many years ago when I was still in FinTech working to build digital propositions for banks with a software solution provider. We had worked with tens of banks and gotten to know their organizations from all layers. What had become clear to me was that for all the talk and building strategies of customer centricity none of them was dedicating any time to examining how their own customers felt about money. So, the term Emotional Banking™ was born at that time.

Q2.      You also mentioned that while you were writing the book emotional banking you came up with the concept of Human Debt. Can you take us back to that moment and explain us how it came about?

Duena:          My background is Psychology, then I moved to business and from business I moved to technology. Eventually, I fell in love with making products. And if you are in love with products, and you happen to be impatient as a result, you fall in love with Agile. So, in 2013-2014 it became very clear to me that having a DevOps culture and Agile mindset is what every organisation needed. But they seemed unable to do get there. When I dug deeper into why that was, it was evident they had already missed some steps that would have been necessary and that they had incurred HumanDebt™ – Human debt is all of those things that we haven’t done for our people that would enable them to be part of a transformation, to have the right mindset and to do the best work and to be the best version of themselves.

Q3.      Unlike technical debt which is easy to see, human debt is not as easy to define. What is the criteria for identifying human debt? How do we know when it is time to do something about it?


To read entire interview, click here

How to cite this interview: How to cite this interview: Aliieva, A. (2021). Human Debt and Technical Debt Are Both Going to Kill You, Interview with Duena Blomstrom; PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue VIII, August. Online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/pmwj108-Aug2021-Aliieva-Interview-with-Duena-Blomstrom.pdf

About the Interviewer

Aina Aliieva

Toronto, ON, Canada


Aina Alive (Aliieva) has 10+ years working in Project Management and an Agile environment. She has managed and consulted on Technical, Construction, Telecom, Retail and Engineering projects. Aina is a Transformation Leader, Coach & Mentor. She helps individuals, teams and organizations in their transformation journey. Aina is passionate about productivity, creating a positive work environment and building Dream teams.

Aina has a Masters’s degree in electrical engineering and an MBA in technology. She holds PMP and PMI-ACP certificates. Aina is a proud member of PMI CWCC (Canadian West Coast Chapter), PMIT (Toronto Chapter), PMI Ukraine Chapter and UAE PMI. She is also a Program Manager, Disciplined Agile in PMI CWCC and DA Ambassador in PMIT. Aina is an experienced public speaker and coach. In her free time, Aina participates in different mentorship programs, speaks at webinars and interviews people for her blog.

She can be contacted at https://www.linkedin.com/in/aina-aliieva/

To view other works by Aina Aliieva, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/aina-aliieva/