Skills I use in testing that I learned from playing Dungeons and Dragons

Magnus Pettersson

Short talk - in English

Can we learn vital testing skills from a collective daydream? I say yes, and I’ll tell you how it worked for me. Roleplaying has elements that answers to the description above, and teaches skills that can be put to good use in testing. My own journey as a roleplayer started when I was 8 years old. Now, about 30 years on, I can thank my hobby for many of the skills I use in my testing career. I ended up in testing by coincidence like so many others and had to use whatever skills I already knew to come in control of my new job. Fortunately, the skills I’d learned through all these years of roleplaying proved useful, and through the years, I’ve had many opportunities to find uses for them. The curiosity and ability to learn things fast, that sort of comes natural with roleplaying helped me alot during an internship where I had to learn the quite complicated software fast to become productive in the test team. Reading the thick books and tables that makes out the rules and worlds of some of my favourite roleplaying systems, proved very useful when sifting through data, for example when I had to follow reports for several busses in the region of skåne, to see if they sent the data they were supposed to. Writing scenarios for a hobby was no different than writing a scenario test which was well suited to combine with another common roleplaying feature, the drawing of maps and floor plans. As an example: I was testing alarm controls on a new platform a couple of years ago. To make my scenarios more clear, and have a comprehensive way of describing quite complicated alarm systems I made a simple floor plan for my scenarios. Thanks to this, the scenarios managed to live as long as needed, and could be pulled out months after creation without raising any questions on what was the thoughts behind any of the tests. To this day, 8 years of testing and 30 years of roleplaying later, I still try out new ways of using skills I learned from playing Dungeons and Dragons, in testing.