It is an indicator of the impact of the defect on the software. For example, let us assume you have a web application where the user clicks on a rarely used link and it crashes. Then, the defect is said to be having high severity even though the chances of the user clicking on the link are rare.
Different Severity Levels
- Critical: If a defect causes the termination or complete shut-down of the application, then it is “Critical”.
- Major: If the defect results in the termination of the system but there exist one or more alternative methods to achieve the desired results or use the system, then the defect is said to have the level “Major”.
- Moderate: The bug will be marked as “Moderate” when the defect in the system does not cause the program to terminate but produces results that are not correct or inconsistent.
- Minor: A defect is marked as “Minor” when the usability or functionality of the system is not affected much but must be fixed. The results are obtained by small corrections and there is no break-down of the system caused by the defect.
- Cosmetic: Defects that are related to the look and feel of the system are given the severity “Cosmetic”.
What is Priority?
Priority is considered from the customer’s point of view. Priority indicates how soon the defect needs to be fixed by the developer. Priority is set by the product manager/customer and it determines the time frame given to the developer to fix the bug.
Different Levels of Priority
- Low: A defect that can be deferred or fixed in the later stages once the higher priority ones are fixed, as it is not serious from the requirement point of view is of low priority.
- Medium: A defect that needs to be fixed during the normal course of development activity is given the status as “Medium”. Such defects occur when a particular feature cannot be used the way it should be because of some environmental issue, defect in the program, or some code that has to be added. Usually, these defects are fixed and delivered to the testing team as a part of a new release.
- High: Those defects that need to be fixed as soon as possible so that the testing team can continue with the testing are said to be of high priority. The core functionality fails as a result of such defects and the system cannot be tested or used until the defect is fixed.
Who decides the Severity and Priority of a Defect?
The organization decides the standards regarding who sets the priority and severity of a defect. However, in most cases, the severity type of a defect is set by the tester based on the product functionality and the written test cases. The priority is decided by the product manager based on customer requirements.
Severity vs Priority
|Priority indicates how quickly the bug should be fixed.||It indicates the degree of impact the defect has on the functionality.|
|Set by the Product Manager after consulting in accordance with the requirement document.||Set by the tester based on the functionality.|
|Priority is connected to scheduling.||It is connected to quality standards.|
|The levels assigned to Priority are low, medium, and high.||The levels assigned to severity are critical, major, moderate, minor, and cosmetic.|
|Severity takes into consideration customer requirements.||It takes into consideration the technical aspects of the application.|
|Subjective and changes can occur based on the project under consideration.||Objective and normally does not change.|
|If the Priority of a defect is high and the severity is low, then, the defect must be fixed immediately.||If the Severity of a defect is high and the Priority is low, then, the defect must be fixed but not immediately.|
Common scenarios related to Severity and Priority
- Consider a defect that does not permit the tester to continue with the testing at any cost or causes the application to crash. Even the basic/main functionality does not work as expected. Such a defect is considered High Priority with High Severity.
- A defect that is visible to the customer but is not likely to affect the functionality of the app as an issue with the logo or a spelling mistake is considered a High Priority defect with Low Severity.
- A defect that causes the system to crash and makes the system unusable but happens only when the user clicks on any link that is not used normally are considered as defects with High Severity but Low Priority.
- A cosmetic error that is not visible during normal use is considered as a Low Priority defect with Low Severity.
Understanding with examples
Let us try to understand severity and priority by considering an e-commerce application like amazon.com
Example of High Severity and Low Priority
Suppose the tester clicks on the “Privacy Notice” hyperlink at the bottom of the amazon.com homepage and the page is not displayed. This defect will be of high severity because the functionality is not working. The priority is low because people do not normally spend time reading the privacy notice.
For example: having multiple flows of one task but one of that which is rarely used, is not working.
High Severity and High Priority
You log in to your amazon.com account, add items to the cart and click the “Proceed to Checkout” button. You make the payment and the system crashes. This defect makes the whole buying functionality unusable and so the severity is high.
The basic purpose of amazon.com is to buy and sell products and most of the customers are affected by this. So, this defect is of high priority which must be fixed immediately for the buying process to work.
Low Severity and High Priority
Suppose, that in the amazon.com website, the logo is displayed as ”amazn.com” with the letter “o” missing. This defect does not affect the buying/selling or any other functionality in any way.
So, the severity of this defect is low. But, a mistake in the company logo affects the brand identity and impacts the user experience. So, the defect is of high priority.
Suppose if the Flipkart logo is misspelled as Flipkart. That time it directly impacts the online business for Flipkart company. People will think it’s not a genuine product and they won’t buy it. Business impact is huge. So it got a very high priority issue. But for developers fixing this issue is not that difficult. It is not even breaking any workflow also. So severity is very low.
Severity means how the bug is impacting the applications. It’s staged like blocker/ Show stopper, critical major minor
Priority means which bug needs to be fixed first. stages like urgent,high,medium,low.It always impacts the customer business. suppose the Flipkart logo issue is not fixed soon. Flipkart company will be under huge loss.so it got a very high priority.
Example 2: company logo put opposite. so this is not a functionality impact but a high business impact.
Example 3: An example of low severity and high priority is the About us page on the website is giving an error message, basically, it not blocking any business flow so that’s why is low severity and it is necessary for every business to display about us page so it is a high priority.
Low Severity and Low Priority
Suppose the tester clicks on the “Conditions of Use” hyperlink at the bottom of the amazon.com homepage. If there is an alignment issue in the text displayed or if there is a spelling mistake in the content displayed, the defect is said to be of low priority because people rarely read this page and it does not impact the user experience. The severity is also low because the functionality of the application is not affected.
These are two important terms that are associated with a defect that helps in the right classification of the defect. These two terms help in an efficient defect tracking process and reduce the overall defect turnaround time.
FAQ on Severity and Priority in Testing
Here are some of the frequently asked questions on Severity and Priority in Testing.
What does severity mean?
Severity is defined as the extent to which a particular defect can create an impact on the software. Severity is a parameter to denote the implication and the impact of the defect on the functionality of the software.
What is the severity of testing?
Severity in testing is the severity of a defect or issue that needs to be addressed. It is one of the most important aspects of software development and software testing.
What is minor severity in testing?
Minor severity testing is a type of software testing that takes place on an application or system with very few or no functional defects.
Testing on minor severity is often referred to as light testing and the primary purpose of such testing is to identify high-risk issues, but not necessarily any critical ones. Minor severity tests can be conducted at any point in the development process and typically last for only a few hours.
What is the priority and severity in testing?
Priority and Severity are two terms that have been used in software testing to describe the level of importance of a test case.
The priority is assigned by the tester while the severity is assigned by a product manager or other senior staff member.
In general, priority determines which tests will be run first while severity determines how much time it will take for each test to complete.