I'm the only QA engineer in a team of 4 developers. We are usually having deliverables and almost all of them are working on different projects. So I need to test it and I find myself playing catchup most of the time.

I have to ask them how to test etc as I do not get enough time to think creatively "how to break the code". In our Scrum retrospective, the team gave this feedback that they feel like they are spoon-feeding me.

How can I become better, more organized, disciplined Quality Engineer?

  • None of us know your situation well enough to say whether you are being spoon-fed. There is nothing wrong with asking for advice on how to test something new. Over time, your developers may expect your questions to focus less on general testing techniques and more on specific aspects of their code that they feel the least confident about.
    – user246
    Oct 28, 2016 at 14:03

4 Answers 4


As you are in a Scrum team, also think in Scrum ways of working:

Scrum recognizes no titles for Development Team members other than Developer, regardless of the work being performed by the person; there are no exceptions to this rule;

This means you are not supposed to be the sole tester on the team, everyone is responsible for the quality result. If one person testing is a bottleneck the team should find a way to remove that bottleneck. Either by more people testing or getting more testers. Preferable you teach the developers how they can test there or other developers work.

I am the only QA engineer for three Scrum five person teams, hence I cannot do all the testing work. I do train the developers how to think about testing, testing technique's, experiment with testing frameworks, etc..

Agile testing is not (just) "about breaking the code", the Agile testing manifesto states:

Preventing Defects over Detecting Defects

Here are some books and links I think you should read:


I think a few things you can do is to join in the meetings with the business rep to understand the feature better. I find breaking the code is part of testing. Have a test plan: what's in scope or out. Define how you will test it. Will it UI? API? which test level: system, integration, unit? To me, the most important part is to test the happy path ie functionality. There's BVA, EP and pair wise testing, domain. There are numerous types of non functional testing to perform: check for styles, security, performance, load, cross browser, device. of course, check what's in scope. you can also prioritise: smoke testing, new feature, enhancement, bug fix, functionality, cross browser, OS, regression, non-functionality in that order.

There are numerous testing tasks you can perform: have a register for defects and template for defect recording. Ensure you have a test management tool to record test steps, results, date e.t.c.

Ensure you have a release notes so that you know what's in the code. analyse and propose test types and test levels. have a exit criteria: all high and critical defects are verified fixed e.t.c. have an entry criteria: e.g. new features pass smoke test or app pass smoke test. define and review with team members on defect severity.

in short, have a process and stick to it.

good luck


I am in agreement with Niels on this. I did want to add a few more points to assist in expediting the QA process.

  1. Understand your product, become the expert
  2. Take charge of the quality of the product
  3. Review the changes prior to code being written. Ensure that expectations are met
  4. Cover potential holes prior to code being written
  5. Work closely with development to understand what changed and why

To me personally QA has a bigger impact when they focus on the process than verifying the product. Most of the issues that occur are do to the process and less about the actual product in Agile. Gaps in requirements happen, they get overlooked and usually don't get discovered until the very end. If you start to close these gaps, saving everyone time and effort, you will become the hero of the project.

To start this process:

  • Perform Root Cause Analysis on defects. The goal is to prevent them from being written.
  • Ensure the Development Process is followed
  • Review Source Code
  • Learn your Developers, their stengths and weaknesses
  • Communicate, communicate and communicate
  • Allow people to sleep at night
    • Explain that your ultimate goal is to avoid late night calls with issues

I have to ask them how to test etc as I do not get enough time to think creatively "how to break the code"

Why do not you read the requirements yourself? Discuss with business team or project manager in case of confusion. Never ask to developer about requirements/change request/defects. Understand yourself the complete requirement. It is not the developers' responsibility to give briefings about requirements/change requests.

The team gave this feedback that they feel like they are spoon-feeding me.

Yes! they are spoon-feeding you, if you ask to them about how to test. If you are new to this, first spend some days for learning about SQA.

  • Agile team often do not have requirements, except some one liners on a post-it. Suggestion someone is new is not very constructive. I think you miss read the question. Sep 30, 2016 at 7:29
  • I agree with you, it is not for Agile team. I missed that Sep 30, 2016 at 10:39

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