Why wasn't this tested?

A great little video from @simon_tomes talking about strategies on how to deal with the ever so dreaded question software testers get asked many times in their careers.

Perhaps we can come up with some more ideas of responses to add here?

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I thought Simon’s responses were wonderful! While the question may be put to a tester or the testing team, I agree that it is an opportunity to reflect on the information gathered from a production behavior that reflects poorly on a product’s behavior. I also agree that it is an opportunity for the project team to collaborate on a response.

There is also a context of the question. If you, as a tester, are working with a project team that has a polarized relationship with those in product construction, it is very difficult to suggest that a collaborative approach will help resolve future inquiries of the same type. In this one instance, you, as the tester, may take it as a learning experience and begin to lay a foundation for collaboration during the next sprint, next iteration, or next project. That collaboration includes not only exploring risks and opportunities as Simon suggests, but reviewing product definitions with the team at the start.
If you, as a tester, are working in a project where you have some collaboration, then this could be perceived as a setback to that effort. It is not. It is an opportunity to improve the collaboration efforts and engage every one in finding a solution to both the present issue as well as improving methods that can support early detection.
If you, as a tester, are working in a project where quality is a team sport, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this question. I have worked in such projects and the collaboration is evident even when production issues may imply something was not tested. The team reviews the information and renders solutions. I feel we all grow in the experience.


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There’s another scenario where this question crops up: the one where it’s the tester asking the question - which I did when a previous company I worked for deployed third party software tools which didn’t actually work. No-one had done acceptance testing of the product when it was deployed, and the contract with the vendor didn’t cover any acceptance criteria to be tested.

I suspect that if it had been a product deployed into the business environment instead of being a company-side software tool, my question would have been taken rather more seriously.