Defects- Severity vs Priority with Examples

When we log defects there are two fields that we need to fill in – Severity and Priority. In this blog, we look at the differences between these and some typical scenarios.

Defect Severity:

This stands for the degree of impact the defect can have on testing and user’s needs.

High – showstopper, tester/user cannot proceed further eg. cannot login, system hangs, crashes, closes abruptly, corrupts data in a database.

Medium – work -around or an alternative is available. Eg. If I cannot enter my house through the front-door but can enter through the back door easily.

Instead of doing something through one step, I could access an obscure screen and still do the action on the application.

Low – cosmetic, spelling mistakes etc


Priority  is about how soon the defect need to be fixed  or the time line. A high priority defect needs to be fixed as soon as possible or ASAP. It stands for the business impact a defect can have or the level

Priority can be of the following types:

High: A defect with high priority must be resolved as soon as possible because the defect is affecting the application or the product severely. Usually all high severity bugs are high priority.

Medium: Medium priority defects should be resolved after the high priority ones are resolved and in the next build or version.

Low: Low priority defects are resolved after Medium priority defects.

As the word implies, they set the ‘priorities’ right.

Some defect scenarios:

High Priority & High Severity:

Eg. A tester or user is unable to Login to Yahoo.

An error occurs when the user tries to send email and so user is unable to send any emails through Yahoo email.

High Priority & Low Severity: The spelling mistakes that happens on the home page or heading or title of an application. Eg. YAHOO is misspelled YOhoo

High Severity & Low Priority: An error which occurs on the functionality of the application (for which there is no workaround) and will not allow the user to use the system but this is rarely used by the end user. Eg. Unable to add contacts to the Contacts /Address Book

Low Priority and Low Severity: Any cosmetic or spelling issues which is within a paragraph or in the report (Not on cover page, heading, title).

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