Dungeons and Testing

Image of a wizard looking out at the sun rising between towering rocky outcrops

Pushing the door open, you see a large window-lit room with monitors on each of the many desks that are laid out in an almost random pattern. At most of them sit hunched figures typing away, and at first no one notices your entrance. Then a woman sat on a tall-backed desk chair by a window looks up and smiles. “Hi.” she says. “You must be the new tester, come in…”

This page and its contents are a work in progress, please feel free to tweet suggestions: @bruceonlybruce. There’s also a public trello board here where I’m throwing ideas together when I have the chance. Pop me your email if you want to add to it!

I love Dungeons and Dragons, roleplaying and fighting with implausible yet unforgettable characters in an awesome high-fantasy setting – so when I was thinking about ways I could measure my skills and progress as a QA/tester, a character sheet was one of the first things that came to mind. For those who don’t know, a character sheet is the paper representation of your character, including details about their skills, background and weapons or spells. You can find some examples here.

A starting – or level 1 – character has no special abilities other than a thirst for adventure, and completing quests with friends gives them the experience they need to improve their stats and kit. The best part about it in my opinion is that no matter how high you go in the game, you’re never expected to be good at everything. In fact, it’s impossible without the use of some god-like items that you’d never really see in the game, which is why you have to play in teams who have different specialisms. It takes all sorts to build a party of heroes, and the same goes for the testing community.

Below is my progress on fleshing out a character sheet template for software testers, based on the DnD system. I think it’ll be fun one day to play a game – perhaps I’ll have something cool done by TestBash Brighton next year, who knows! But for now, this was borne from a wish to find some clarity on what skills make a good tester, and how to progress. Along with a desire to have fun, of course!


Below, you can also see the information from the sheet with some sections filled out as an example:

Character Information

Name:

Background:
Class:
Level:

Personality Traits

Traits

General personality traits

Nitpicky. I get annoyed at very small issues


Bond

A promise or mission that binds them

Ambition. I will be the very best that no one ever was


Ideals

What they strive for and admire

Testability. We will make everything testable


Flaw

Their great weakness

Pessimism. I think the worst and am easily disheartened



Stats


CHA| |Charisma: People skills
INT| |Intelligence: Book smarts
WIS| |Wisdom: Common sense
CRE| |Creativity: Mental dexterity
CON| |Constitution: Survivability

Proficiencies

Languagesspoken or programming

  • common
  • javascript

Toolstypes of tool

  • bug-tracking tool
  • selenium

Skills


Automation (WIS)| |
Coding (INT)| |
Debugging (CRE)| |
Deception (CHA)| |
Dev tools (INT)| |
Heuristics (WIS)| |
History (INT)| |
Insight (WIS)| |
Intimidation (CHA)| |
Investigation (INT)| |
Pairing (CHA)| |
Perception (WIS)| |
Performance (CHA)| |
Persuasion (CHA)| |
Security testing (INT)| |
Performance testing (INT)| |

Actions

This section specifies the actions your character may take during an encounter with a bug or other problem at work.

Weapons
  • †jira
  • postman
Spells
  • methodology
  • team spirit
  • the heart of the cards

Features

This section lists special features, resistances or actions your character has based on their background or specialism.

Showman: once per long rest, you can draw on your past experience as a children’s entertainer to give an exciting feature demo that inspires your team, giving them +3 to CON saving throws until their next short or long rest.


Whew. I’m going to keep updating this, and work on working out how to make a fillable pdf document after the v1 is finished so all y’all can try filling one out. I think I might have to purchase Adobe DC, since GoogleDocs doesn’t seem up to the task (or I’m not).