+4 votes
in Manual Testing Interview Question by
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What is the difference between priority and severity ? This question was asked me by an interviewer . can you explain me with an easy example ??? Let's discuss priority vs severity ...

4 Answers

+2 votes
Well, yes this has been one of the trick questions asked in the QA interviews. There is a fine line differentiating these 2 terms. Lets take an example and try to understand this.
First understand one this, these 2 terms are mutually exclusive. That means a task/bug can be of high priority but low severity and vice versa. Or it can be of both high priority and severity and vice versa.
Priority: when a task should be worked upon / a bug should be fixed
Severity: What is the impact if this task is not worked upon now/a bug is not fixed now

High priority and High severity: you are testing a website and its login functionality does not work. Then this issue must be fixed now to go ahead and if not fixed now then it blocks entire work.

High Priority low severity: A message to be displayed to user in case of incorrect credentials are entered. The message is not user friendly. Though fixing this is not a big job but impact at customer end is major.

Low priority high severity: one of the module is not functioning the way it is expected and customer is fine to defer its release.

Low priority low severity: generally cosmetic issues come under this category. Like color scheme not as expected, font style, alignment etc.

I hope these examples would help. Please revert in case of further details are required.

The difference of those two terms point to the similar understanding of terms bug and issue. Generally we use the term bug as a defect at the system but bug is a a special kind of defect that may never come user end at a lifetime of a software under the usage. If that negative condition never faced then there wont be a bug. Think a 3 billion subscriber service and a special condition will throw an exception for one customer behavior at a time suddenly. The impact is huge for that customer. So the severity is critical for that customer but it is not a high priory defect since it affects just one customer. it is a bug. It's priory is low because the dev team should not fix it because there may be more high priority bug fixes to be resolved that affects thunderer of customers are affected that they can not use the service but the severity is low. So from the point of affected transaction amount the priority is in place, but from the software point of view the critically belongs to the term severity.
+1 vote
by (220 points)


Priority : It is basically referred to effect on  Business Functions

Severity :  It is basically referred to effect on reputation of Business

Lets take some assumptions.

High Priority : P1

Medium Priority : P2

Low Priority : P3

High Severity : S1

Medium Severity : S2

Low Severity : S3

Now I'll try to explain it with some good examples to make the better understanding of priority and severity using IRCTC Website.

On IRCTC website, we need to login, then search our trains, after that book the train and make the payment. we also get a message of ticket confirmation. So, we see how the priority are distributed in referance with effect on business.

High Priority (P1) : Login to IRCTC, Searching the Trains, Book a Train, Making the payments

Medium Priority (P2) : Password Reset not working, Cancelling a Train and Modifications in Tickets

Low Priority (P3) : Message of confirm ticket not coming, mail of ticket booking not sent

On IRCTC website, we see to login page, IRCTC Logo. So, we see how the Severity are distributed in referance with effect on business.

High Severity (P1) : IRCTC Logo is not correct, 

Medium Severity (P2) : Font sizes are not appropriate and have multiple types.

Low Severity (P3) : Background colour of the page



0 votes
my point of view in two words.
Priority it is about application (from developers or testers side). Severity it is about money etc. (from managers side).
Thanks, Nick.
0 votes

The key of Severity is how bad it is, and the key of Priority is when you want to fix it. The Severity is objective and the truth, and the Priority is subjective and dependson the requirement.

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