STARCANADA 2017 - The Tester’s 3 C's: Criticism, Communication and Confidence | TechWell

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Friday, October 20, 2017 - 9:30am to 10:45am

The Tester’s 3 C's: Criticism, Communication and Confidence

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Communication in agile teams is supposed to be seamless and much better than the “old days”. Whether you are in an independent testing team and need to communicate more formally, or communicating face-to-face in an agile context, how can you be effective when you are sometimes telling people what they don’t want to hear? What do testers do? They are critics, often of other people’s work; they need to communicate their findings successfully with confidence. In this talk, Dorothy Graham looks at what criticism is, its different types and “DASR”, an effective script for giving criticism (technical or otherwise). Knowing how we respond to being criticized also gives useful insight into criticizing others. Dot covers different types and styles of communication, including Virginia Satir’s communication interaction model, illustrated with an example. Self-confidence can make a large difference in our effectiveness as a critical (in the best sense of the word) tester; both under-confidence and over-confidence can be damaging. It is far more common for women to be under-confident, but there are ways to overcome it. Criticism is what testers do; it is important to understand how it feels to be criticized and how to criticize well. The way in which we communicate is crucial to interpersonal interaction, and the right level of confidence is needed to be an effective tester.

Dorothy Graham
Software Test Consultant

In software testing for more than forty years, Dorothy Graham is coauthor of four books—Software Inspection, Software Test Automation, Foundations of Software Testing, and Experiences of Test Automation—and is currently working with Seretta Gamba on a test automation patterns wiki. A popular and entertaining speaker at conferences and seminars worldwide, Dot has attended STAR conferences since the first one in 1992. She was a founding member of the ISEB Software Testing Board and a member of the working party that developed the ISTQB Foundation Syllabus. Dot was awarded the European Excellence Award in Software Testing in 1999 and the first ISTQB Excellence Award in 2012. Learn more about Dot at