What is the Difference between defect priority and severity ?

What is Defect Severity?

A defect is a flaw in the product, that deviates from the actual product specification.Defect Severity is termed as the value of impact a bug has on the operation or functionality of the product or software system.

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Defect severity Levels :

  • Critical: A critical bug is the one that does not allow the user/system to proceed at all.
  • Major: A bug that is severe would leave the system non-functional. However, certain parts of the system remain functional
  • Medium: It cause some undesirable behavior, but the system is still functional
  • Low: It won't cause any major break-down of the system

Defect Severity Vs Priority

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 What is defect Priority ?

Defect PRIORITY tells us which bugs should be fixed first.
The Priority status is set by the tester to the developer, and it must mention the time frame that is optimal to fix a defect.

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Defect priority Levels:

  • Low: The defect is an irritant but repair can be done once the more serious defect have been fixed
  • Medium: A medium priority bug can wait to be fixed in the next version of the product release. It is not a pressing issue.
  • High: The defect must be resolved as soon as possible as it affects the system severely and cannot be used until it is fixed

A Higher priority bug must be fixed at the earliest.Higher the priority, lesser the time frame to fix the defect by the developer.The priority status is often set based on the customer requirements.


Though a spelling mistake is a low priority bug, but, in a scenario where the name of a company is misspelled, then the priority becomes high and the severity is low to fix it.

What is the difference between Priority and Severity?

Bug Tracking process uses these two terms "Priority and Severity" to denote the value of a defect and its affect on the project .

Severity: Where Severity is often talked about with the Application point of view
Priority on the other hand is often customer dependent, described with a User point of view

Severity- Where severity talks about the seriousness, importance, impact and depth of the bug on the system.The Severity status is used to explain how badly the deviation is affecting the build.The severity type is defined by the tester based on the written test cases and functionality.
If an application or a web page crashes when a remote link is clicked, in this case clicking the remote link by an user is rare but the impact of application crashing is severe, so the severity is high and priority is low.

Severity: Where Severity describes the bug in terms of functionality.
Priority: Priority on the other hand describes the bug in terms of customer needs and requirements.

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High Severity Also High Priority - Application doesn't allow multiple user's.

High severity Also High PriorityA bug which is a show stopper. i.e., a bug due to which we are unable to proceed our Page on testing.an example would be a run time error during the normal operation of the software,which would cause the application to quit abruptly.

High Severity But Low Priority - Application doesn't allow customer expected configuration.
High Severity But Low prioritySupposing, you try the wildest or the weirdest of operations in a software (say, to be released the next day) which a normal user would not do and supposing this renders a run -time error in the application,the severity would be high. The priority would be low as the operations or the steps which rendered this error by most chances will not be done by a user.

Low Severity But High Priority - No error message to prevent wrong operation. 
Low Severity But High priorityAn example would be- you find a spelling mistake in the name of the website which you are testing.Say, the name is supposed to be Google and its spelled there as 'Gaogle'. Though, it doesn't affect the basic functionality of the software, it needs to be corrected before the release. Hence, the priority is high.
Low Severity Also Low Priority - Error message is having complex meaning.
Low severity Also Low priorityCosmetic bugs

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