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


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, but there are ways to overcome it.


Dorothy Graham worked as an independent consultant and trainer in software testing and test automation for 50 years, and is co-author of 5 books: Software Inspection, Software Test Automation, Foundations of Software Testing, Experiences of Test Automation and A Journey Through Test Automation Patterns (see She has been a popular and entertaining speaker at hundreds of conferences and events over the years.Dot has been on the boards of conferences and publications in software testing, including programme chair for EuroStar (twice) and co-chair of Axiom WIT 2022. She was a founder member of the ISEB Software Testing Board and helped develop the first ISTQB Foundation Syllabus. She founded Grove Consultants and helped provide training and consultancy in software testing for 20 years. She was awarded the European Excellence Award in Software Testing in 1999 and the first ISTQB Excellence Award in 2012. Now mainly retired. she enjoys singing in choirs and small groups.

Linkedin: Dorothy Graham

Twitter: @DorothyGraham