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Guidelines to QA to set Defect Priority and Severity

Below guidelines to set defect severity and priority standards for all Projects. These are general guidelines for the QA as well as development teams.
Essentially there are five Severity levels:

1. Cosmetic
2. Trivial
3. Average
4. Major
5. Critical

And there are five priority levels: Ideally priority levels are to be set by the development team Lead, but still QA team shall mark the priority and assign the defect to the responsible person. The development team should have the liberty to change the priority for the defect as per their development schedule.
The priority levels are defined as below

1. Do not fix
2. Low priority
3. Normal Queue
4. Give high attention
5. Resolve Immediately

The severity and priority are defined below:

Severity Levels
1. Cosmetic: Any bug (defect) associated to GUI of the application will be categorized as a cosmetic defect. This includes all the forms and controls on the forms, alignment of controls on the form, spelling mistakes in error messages, eligible fonts, consistency etc.

Example: Inconsistent casing in message


2. Trivial: Any bug (defect) which does not hamper the functionality (intent of the application) and has no impact on the application.
(a) No tool tip text for the control.
(b) “What’s This” help does not pop up the message.

3. Average: Any defect which hampers the functionality to a very limited extent and is limited to a small subset of users is classified as an average defect and needs to be fixed for the successful go-live.

4. Major: Any bug (defect) which hampers the functionality severely but lets user proceed further shall be categorized as major defect. If the main intent of the application is NOT met then the defect associated shall be a major defect.
Exception: The error in copyright information and Company logos shall be treated as Major though they are of cosmetic in nature

5. Critical: Any defect which results in fatal errors or prevents use of commonly used functionality impacting a significant population of the users shall be categorized as a critical defect. This includes system crashes, looping errors etc.
Example: (a) system crash on clicking a button.
(c) User message appears again and again, user has to either kill the process or end an application.

Priority Levels
1. Do not fix: When the defect is no longer valid due to changes in the design requirements etc.

2. Low priority: The defects associated with GUI can be of low priority level.

3. Normal Queue: The average to major severity defects can be of normal queue level.

4. Give high attention: The Major severity defects can be given “Give high attention” priority as the major severity defects are ones which hamper the functionality of defects.

5. Resolve Immediately: The Critical severity defects or the defects of any other priority having impact on the integrated application should be marked as “Resolve Immediately”.