Bug Severity Levels: From High-Impact Showstoppers to Minor Annoyances

Deep Dive into Bug Severity Levels and Streamlining Test Failure Triage

Key Takeaways

  • Bugs in software are categorized into severity levels, ranging from critical (requiring immediate attention due to severe consequences) to trivial (minor cosmetic issues).

  • Bug severity levels help in efficient bug management, resource allocation, and risk mitigation, allowing development and QA teams to prioritize and address critical issues while managing lower-priority ones.

  • Beyond bug severity levels, intelligent test failure diagnostics can help identify the root causes of issues, summarize test results, maximize data from tests, and spot trending issues to facilitate faster bug resolution.

Crafting software is like sculpting a masterpiece — it's all about chiseling away at imperfections until it comes to life. But unlike sculpture, software bugs can rear their ugly heads in various shapes and sizes. And with the broad variety of bugs possible, it’s tough to figure out the most significant issues keeping you from protection.

Bug severity levels are categories capturing "how damaging the bug is" to the system. It's like a gauge that tells devs and QA teams how urgently the bug needs to be resolved. With this, teams can efficiently prioritize bug fixes, bring structure to the chaos of debugging, and enhance overall software quality.

Bug Severity Levels

Bug severity levels are necessary for efficient bug management and bug triage. It offers a systematic way to help prioritize, allocate resources, and show the impact of software issues. That way, dev and QA teams can focus on critical issues that need attention while still addressing minor issues at lower priorities. They also aid in risk mitigation, quality control, and managing software releases.

Some companies may have their own internal methods for bug severity, but in general, they can fall under one of six levels:

Level 1: Critical

Critical bugs are the most severe and require immediate attention. These bugs often render the entire system unusable or have severe consequences if left unchecked. A critical bug can lead to system crashes, data corruption, or a complete software breakdown. They pose an immense risk to a system’s stability and should be fixed as soon as possible.

Examples of critical bugs:

  • A web app with a critical security vulnerability that allows unauthorized access to sensitive user data.

  • Financial software that miscalculates interest rates, leading to incorrect transactions.

Level 2: Major

These bugs are often significant issues that impact the software's core functionality but don’t completely disable it. These still require an urgent fix but don’t pose the same risk as critical bugs. Major bugs can cause severe disruptions or degrade system performance, affecting your user’s ability to perform critical tasks.

Examples of major bugs:

  • A mobile app with a major performance issue that causes frequent crashes and slow responsiveness.

  • An e-commerce site with a broken checkout functionality that prevents users from making purchases.

Level 3: Normal

A normal bug is an issue that affects non-critical functionalities but doesn’t render the software unusable. These usually only cause inconveniences to your end-users that may require some workarounds until it’s resolved.

Examples of normal bugs:

  • Word processing software that causes formatting issues but can be manually fixed by end-users.

  • A video streaming service with occasional buffering videos that creates an unpleasant viewing experience but doesn’t fully prevent playback.

Level 4: Minor

Minor bugs, as the name implies, are even less of an issue than other bugs. They don’t normally impact functionality but are minor annoyances that pop up within the system.

Examples of minor bugs:

  • Mobile apps with small graphical bugs that don’t affect usability.

  • Web applications with typos that make it hard to read but don’t impact functionality.

Level 5: Trivial

Even smaller than minor bugs, these are usually purely cosmetic issues with little to no impact on functionality. They’re low-priority and are generally only fixed to improve the user experience or to maintain a good appearance.

Examples of trivial bugs:

  • A website with a minor alignment issue on a non-critical part of a page.

  • An application with a slightly misaligned icon.

Level 6: Enhancements/Feature Requests

These aren’t really bugs but more of a category for suggested improvements, new features, or changes to an application. They don’t indicate any issues with the system, only suggesting things be changed or improved.

Examples of enhancement and feature requests:

  • A user requests a dark mode for an app/website.

  • A stakeholder suggests a new report generation feature for analytics software.

Go Beyond Bug Severity Levels with Intelligent Triage and Test Selection.

When tests encounter failures, the process involves more than pinpointing the error. Knowing how severe an issue is doesn’t tell you what went wrong but what needs fixing. And trying to determine what went wrong (and how) can be even harder to find. With Launchable’s Intelligent Test Failure Diagnostics, you can eliminate the guesswork and solve bugs faster.

Understand the issue. Our platform analyzes your test results and turns your logs into easy-to-read summaries. Your teams can see what happened and where it went wrong.

Maximize the data from your tests. Our system identifies any matching stderr to catch related issues and boost your team’s workflows.

Spot trending issues before they get out of hand. Every single test you run gets its own Test Session page that tracks results and related issues so teams can spot new or recurring issues.

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