How to set severity and priority of a bug

You must have seen developers & testers fighting with each others on priority of bugs. So let’s try to agree on some basic principles on setting the severity and the priority of bugs

Now, you can use this priority number to actually prioritize your bugs and fix them in the required order. Lets see the entire process in the below example:

Set four severity levels: High, Medium, Low, Lowest. Set their values as 4, 3, 2, 1. 4 as highest and 1 as lowest.

Severity(Severity Value):Example
High (4) : Data loss, missing feature, security violation

Medium (3) : Feature is missing but workaround is there, if high profiles users like management will get an impact, then it would be of high severity 4

Low (2) : It is impacting minor things, but, user is able to do the work

Lowest (1) : A cosmetic error, spelling mistake, typo etc..

* Set four priority levels: Critical, High, Medium, Low. Set them values as 4, 3, 2, 1. 4 as Critical and 1 as low. Please ask the business analyst to set the priority.

Priority (Priority Value ): Example

Critical (4) : Application is getting started, Critical business flow got stuck, Data loss, business loss, loss of end user, a security violation, system is very unstable

High (3) : Feature is missing which is not critical for only very few users that do not have much impact on business, if high profiles users like management will get an impact, then it would be of high severity 4

Medium (2) : Feature is missing but workaround is there. If users from management group are getting impacted, then it can be of priority 3 or 4. It can also be some feature of the functionality is not working

Low (1) : A cosmetic error, spelling mistake, typo. Here, one important point to note is that even a spelling mistake or typo can also be of high priority or critical. e.g. If there is a spelling mistake of name of a person from senior management, then it may have high priority.

Since, these bugs are risk to the application and project delivery, so, let’s apply basic principle of risk management here. i.e. Risk Value = Probability x Impact

In case of bugs, Priority = Severity Value x Priority Value

Priority can be calculated as

Bug Id – Bug Description – Severity Value – Priority Value – Priority
Bug_1 Bug Description 1 2 4 8
Bug_2 Bug Description 2 3 2 6
Bug_3 Bug Description 3 1 1 1
Bug_4 Bug Description 4 4 3 12
Bug_5 Bug Description 5 2 4 8

Now, the bug with highest priority should be fixed first. In this case bug “Bug_4” should be fixed first. Then Bug_1 and Bug_5 should be fixed and so on.

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