Difference Between Severity Vs Priority In Software Testing

Difference Between Severity Vs Priority In Software Testing: Don’t confuse the severity of a defect with its priority for fixing. These two measures apply to different questions. Severity refers to how much it hurts when the defect exists, while priority refers to how important it is that you get around to fixing the defect at all. Priority is a measure of your own interest in fixing the problem, not a measure of the importance of the problem.

What is Severity?

Severity measures how badly, negatively, or painfully it affects the customer regularly. Many companies keep track of a product’s defect rates to ensure they are doing right by their customers regarding the number and severity of bugs found in a release.

A defect rate is the number of defects in a product or release divided by the total number of customers encountering that release. A low bug count with a high rate indicates problems for users and, therefore, needs immediate attention.

What is Priority?

Priority measures how important it is to get around to fixing the problem. Priorities can be assigned by customer importance, simply the results of asking customers what they want fixed first (affecting many customers), or criticality, which would be determined by looking at the defect itself and its impact on the customer.

Difference Between Severity Vs Priority

We know the severity and priority, so let us understand their differences.


  • The defect severity of a fault is defined as its influence on the product’s operation.
  • There are five levels of severity: Critical, Major, Minor, and Low.
  • The term “severity” refers to the degree to which something is functional or adheres to a set of standards.
  • The severity of a problem on a product’s functionality is indicated by its severity.
  • The QA engineer determines the defect’s severity level.
  • The severity of a situation is determined by its functioning.
  • Its worth is objective and unlikely to fluctuate.
  • When a fault has a high severity and a low priority, it has to be corrected, but not right now.
  • The product’s technical aspect determines the severity level.
  • During SIT, the development team will prioritize and resolve bugs based on their severity.


  • Defect Priority specifies the sequence in which the developer should resolve defects.
  • Priority is divided into three categories: Low, Medium, and High.
  • Priority has to do with scheduling.
  • The priority of a bug determines how quickly it should be repaired.
  • In consultation with the manager/client, the priority of faults is determined.
  • The business value determines priority.
  • Its worth is subjective and might fluctuate over time based on the project’s circumstances.
  • When a problem has a high priority and low severity, it means it has to be corrected immediately but isn’t affecting the application.
  • The needs of the consumer determine the priority status.
  • During UAT, the development team prioritizes faults and fixes them.
  • During SIT, the development team will prioritize and resolve bugs based on their severity.


Customers are generally more concerned with the priority of fixes than their severity. Severity and Priority have two different definitions, but it isn’t easy to separate them in practice. However, separating them helps them prioritize the defect and fixing it accordingly.

It is important to understand that priority doesn’t always mean the defect is easy to fix. All new defects are given a default priority of High until we have more information about them. This allows us to get started on them quickly, but we’re also aware that there may be more information coming or a better way to fix it.

Each new defect report’s severity is also initially judged as High. This gives us a starting point for assigning our development and testing resources.


Severity and Priority provide complementary perspectives for software teams to prioritize defect resolution efficiently. Severity categorized by testers focuses on technical functionality – it indicates the level of disruption bugs cause in system and software operations. Priority defined by product managers centres on business objectives and customer needs in determining the urgency of fixes.

We encourage teams to collaboratively determine severity-priority guidelines and consistently apply them when evaluating defects. Please share your experiences leveraging severity-priority matrices in test management. Which factors feature in your internal criteria? What challenges have you faced? Community input can help strengthen these testing best practices for optimized quality assurance.


What is the Difference Between Severity and Priority?

The key distinction lies in severity measuring the impact of a defect on software functionality, while priority determines the urgency of fixing the defect.

What is the Difference Between Impact and Severity?

In the context of software testing, impact typically refers to the overall effect of a defect on a system, while severity specifically gauges the degree of the defect’s negative impact on functionality.

What is the Difference Between Incident Severity and Priority?

In incident management, severity relates to the impact of an incident, indicating its seriousness, while priority signifies the urgency with which the incident needs to be addressed.

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