How To Succeed With Difficult People – Dan Ashby

How To Succeed With Difficult People – Dan Ashby


One of the hardest things that a tester has to deal with is people with misconceptions about testing and what the role of a tester actually is. And many other problems that will occur on a project can be related back to them being people problems.

So how can we get around these problems?

One word: Influence.

Influence skills are key skills for a tester to possess. We need to be able to break down barriers and approach even the most difficult of people to change mind-sets and solve problems.

In this talk, I’ll discuss some of the best influence skills available. I’ll walk through some real life, personal examples of when these influence skills have helped me in my career and my personal life too.

Influence techniques such as “the rule of reciprocation”, “reject and retreat”, “social proofing”, plus many more, with each technique having their different purposes – whether its to influence senior management on approving a test tool, trying to get someone to pair with you or trying to be included in important meetings at the start of the project, these techniques will be essential for opening the doors and breaking down barriers.

About Dan

Hi! I’m Dan Ashby (@DanAshby04 on Twitter). I am the Deputy Practice Head within the Quality Practice at Lab49. I’m currently living in London, but am originally from Glasgow.

I’ve been testing for over a decade now, working on a wide variety of products as well as coaching and training people about testing and agile.

I am passionate about utilizing Exploratory Testing and am currently focused on testing web-based FX Trading web apps, where a big part of my role is also in coaching and training testers and developers about testing and agile within the projects that I work on.

I love getting involve in the testing community and I regularly try to be active by speaking at and attending meet-ups and conferences too. I also blog and I’m the co-host of the Testing In The Pub podcast series (

Many thanks to Tellurium for enabling us to share these videos through their sponsorship.