Why do developers seem to get their feathers ruffled when we talk about defect severity? I am not implying that developers are ducks, chickens, or geese. I could have used the phrase why do developers get their panties in a wad when we talk about defect severity, but that did not seem PC.
First I will give a little back ground. I was asked to inspect and access team quality. Hmm, that is a monumental task. Where shall I start? Lets take a look at how many severity one defects are in production. If there are any severity one defects in production, then the quality status is RED. If there are no severity one defects in production then the quality status is GREEN. Seemed like a simple assessment, which would require some follow up conversations if the values were red. By no means do I mean to imply that this is the only indicator of quality, but it was the first flash light used to look into the cave.
But wait we (development) do not care about severity we focus all of our efforts on Priority. This has been echoed by at least three development leads.
My two brain cells are telling me that severity is the perception of how bad a defect is and priority is the process around getting a defect resolved. Hmm, do I have this all wrong? Is priority the only thing of importance. I read Perfect Software by Jerry Weinberg a few months ago. Did I not understand his writing? Well I guess I had better do whatever any internet geek would do, "Google It"!
I found a great post by my friend and colleague Dr. Stan Taylor. I did not see to much in that post that I could disagree with. Next I stumbled on a Bug Advocacy video by Professor Cem Kaner. I did not find a definitive answer there. I read at least 10 other blog posts and all seemed to have a slightly different spin, but there did seem to be some consistency that severity is the perception of the user and priority is the decision process on when to fix a defect.
I am still perplexed as to why inspecting severity gets such a negative response by development. Let me attempt to noodle out a couple of basic definitions. Please note that I did not come up with these definitions, but I tend to agree with these.