Join us and other TestBashers at this Pre-TestBash Meetup hosted at the beautiful PlayStation offices in Liverpool.

We're very happy to announce this free event, available to all community members and TestBash UK attendees.

This event is now sold out! Join the Waiting List here.

What Happened

Select a session to learn more about it.

  • Callum Akehurst-Ryan
  • How Gaming Made Me a Better Tester
    Callum Akehurst-Ryan

    How Gaming Made Me a Better Tester




    Gaming is still seen as a bit of a childish hobby and something that’s a fun hobby but ultimately a waste of time. Stereotypes around gamers still paint them as an unhealthy subculture with portrayals showing socially inept, selfish trolls who can’t work with others.

    What if I told you that gaming (specifically Dungeons and Dragons) actually helped me to become a better tester and agile team member?

    I’ll set the scene by giving a brief introduction to roleplaying games (specifically dungeons and dragons) and my history with the game (including my time working with the charity Survivors UK to use roleplaying games as a therapeutic tool).

    Talk through the skills that I’ve developed and honed through playing dungeons and dragons as a hobby and how they can be used to become an awesome tester.

    • Working as a team; practising how to work together to solve a common goal where people are bringing different skills to the table. Knowing when to push the spotlight onto somebody else because they’re best fit to do something rather than hogging the limelight and being a rockstar.

    • Building on ideas; roleplaying is improv which means building on ideas to keep up the creative flow using yes… and techniques. Learning how to actively listen to others and contribute something meaningful rather than just ploughing on with your own thoughts is useful (especially in triforce / story shaping / 3 amigos).

    • Try things to solve problems; practising doing experiments in a safe environment to learn that it’s okay to try things. Analysing problems to think outside of the box to creatively solve them. Adapting and changing when your first solution doesn’t work.

    • Being charismatic (Only nerds would think of charisma as a magical power); being like a bard and using the awesome power of charisma testing to find the good in something and charm developers.

    • Being playful (Quality is serious, testing might not have to be); we can harness the playfulness inherent in gaming to our teams. Whether that be coming up with fun test ideas, finding the joy in gamifying our testing, team building or using otter based mascots to help us lang messages.

    • Telling stories; roleplaying is all about the ability to spin an engaging narrative. This carries over to testing where we want to talk to our teams about testing, sell ideas into projects, conduct outreach and debrief testing, where we need to be engaging and compelling with our words.

    Empathy! Trying out being someone else in roleplay gives you practice at putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, you know what else needs that? Testing! We can use the empathy we develop from roleplay to think more about our users and what needs they might have.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Roleplaying is awesome fun, makes for a great hobby and (hopefully) is something you’d like to try
    • Skills from our hobbies and extracurricular activities make us more well rounded people and testers, so we should take the time to embrace them
    • Some practical skills from roleplaying games that you can try out to make your testing better.


    Callum Akehurst-Ryan
    Callum Akehurst-Ryan
    Principal Test Engineer
    Throughout my 15+ year career I’ve had a variety of roles as a Test Engineer, Test Lead and Agile coach. As a result I have a well rounded approach to leadership in an Agile environment, both as part of test and the wider team. I specialise in full stack exploratory testing, embedding Agile testing into start-ups and quality reporting.