In software testing, Severity and Priority are the common terms assigned to bugs to classify their importance.
Severity typically indicates:
- Impacted degree of the Technical Functionality
- Gaps in meeting Requirements, Quality, and Standards
While Priority indicates:
- Urgency of the bug fix from the Business / Functionality aspect
- Allotting the available time and resources in the schedule
Severity and Priority gives four possible combinations:
- High Severity + High Priority:. Typically showstopper bugs that do not allow further testing fall in this category. Bugs such as system crash, runtime error, page not found, or missing resources are serious and also must be given the highest priority.
- High Severity + Low Priority: Some loss of functionality can be low priority if it can be scheduled in the next build / release. Report generation, log records, or sorting related issues can be tackled at lower priority while the main functionality gets tested at a higher priority.
- Low Severity + High Priority: While the functionality may not be greatly affected; issues such as logo, images, copyright notices, titles, or parts that may cause legal problems or affect the brand, must be immediately fixed.
- Low Severity + Low Priority: Failure at border or low frequency cases, poor error messages, small spelling or grammar issues in UI – such issues do not affect the main functionality and can be managed later. However, if the effort required is minimal, or if the bug-fixing can be assigned outside the core development team, then they should be fixed fast to reduce the bug count.