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Difference Between Severity and Priority

In the testing cycle of software, a bug usually acts as the most crucial entity. Two of the most important attributes that one can assign to a bug are Severity and Priority. Both of these attributes assist in fixing bugs pretty accurately and go through the process of release scheduling while still avoiding any major issues. Although they both serve a similar purpose, they still vary a lot. In this article, we will discuss the difference between severity and priority in testing. Read ahead to know about the individual roles that each of them plays.

What is Severity in Testing?

One can define Severity as the extent to which any given defect can affect/ impact a particular software. Severity is basically a parameter that denotes the impact of any defect and its implication on a software’s functionality. In other words, Severity defines the overall impact that any defect can have on a system.

For instance, consider if a web page or an application crashes after clicking on a remote link. In such a case, a user would rarely click on the remote link. Yet, the overall impact of an app crashing is very severe. Hence, the severity gets high, and yet the priority gets low.

What is Priority in Testing?

One can define Priority as a parameter for deciding the order in which one can fix the defect. In this, the defect with a higher priority first needs to get fixed. Priority basically defines the order in which one would resolve any given defect. The priority status defines if we should fix something or wait. The tester sets this priority status to the developer along with mentioning a time frame that can fix that defect. If they mention a higher priority, then the developer needs to fix it at the very earliest. Basically, the priority status comes into play according to the customer’s requirements.

For instance, let’s consider a case where one misspells the company name on a website’s home page. Thus, in this case, the Priority gets high while the Severity gets low for fixing it.

Difference Between Severity and Priority in Testing

Parameters Severity in Testing Priority in Testing
Definition Severity is a term that denotes how severely a defect can affect the functionality of the software. Priority is a term that defines how fast we need to fix a defect.
Parameter Severity is basically a parameter that denotes the total impact of a given defect on any software. Priority is basically a parameter that decides the order in which we should fix the defects.
Relation Severity relates to the standards of quality. Priority relates to the scheduling of defects to resolve them in software.
Value The value of severity is objective. The value of priority is subjective.
Change of Value The value of Severity changes continually from time to time. The value of Priority changes from time to time.
Who Decides the Defect The testing engineer basically decides a defect’s severity level. The product manager basically decides a defect’s priority level.
Types There are 5 types of Severities: Cosmetic, Minor, Moderate, Major, and Critical. There are 3 types of Priorities: High, Medium, and Low.

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