Dungeons & Dragons & Development: How Playing Games Makes You a Better IT Pro

By Michael T Lombardi

Elevator Pitch

D&D has been experiencing a resurgence in popularity - but in addition to being fun, it also has a lot to teach us about engineering skills. Learn how you can play a game and improve your lateral thinking, empathy, communication, problem solving, and a host of other skills.


Dungeons and Dragons, as well as numerous other tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs) has a lot to teach us about engineering.

I’ll cover the very basics of what tabletop roleplaying is, then expand on how it helps you practice critical engineering (both software and operations!) skills. I’ll cover each of the skills below with an story from real-life play and explain how these lessons translate back into our work as IT Pros using examples from incident response, customer support, and feature implementation.


  • Empathy
  • Collaboration
  • Communication


  • Lateral Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Investigation


  • Improvisation
  • Content Generation
  • Conflict Resolution

This talk is light on technical demos and heavy on culture and workflow, helping folks move towards one of the pillars of DevOps in a meaningful way.