Klaartje van Zwoll

Tester & Agile Coach

From miscommunication to Miss Communication

Last year I divorced. My relationship ended after 14 years.
Naturally I was devastated, but it also meant the start of immense personal development.
I recognised some patterns in my behaviour that I wanted to change. So I took a workshop. And then another. And then another.
What I learned there was not only applicable to my personal relationships, but also to my professional ones.

A huge eye-opener for me was learning about the ‘guess culture’ and the ‘ask culture’, and I learned that I was brought up in a guess culture.
This made me aware of two important patterns in my behaviour. Firstly, I tended to make assumptions about what others desired of me. Secondly, I found it very difficult to say no to those imagined desires. I used to put the needs of others before mine, even when people didn’t actually express these needs.

So, why should you care about my journey?
Because within professional relationships, you may find similar patterns: we tend to assume what others want from us, and we’re not used to talking about this.
Even when we do, we fail to be specific and we fail to reach a common understanding.
For example: When we say ‘I need you to support me more’, what does that mean?
Communicating your own needs, and setting your boundaries at work can be a challenge.
Learning how to do this can improve your mental wellbeing at work.

To help you do this, this talk will address the following key points:

– How to recognise patterns in your own behaviour
– How to communicate your needs
– How to set boundaries in a kind way
– Breaking these patterns will be awkward and clunky, and that is okay


In 2015, Klaartje chose to switch from teaching at a primary school to software development.
She is a tester and agile coach who values strong team relationships and collaboration. She has an eye for people and their interests.

Over the years she built experience in different sectors including education, government and public transport.

Klaartje won the Dutch Software Testing Championship in 2017, and premiered as a speaker at the Agile Testing Days in 2019.

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