Ask any developer how you sort bugs and they might reply P1/S1 or S1/P1.
Priority – the impact to the owner’s of the software
Severity – the technical impact to the software
Both are critical factors in identifying how bugs are logged.
Lately, I’ve taken to updating these definitions to apply to other areas of a project that I might be working on.
Priority – impact to the owner
Severity – impact to the system that we are working on
When we talk about the system it could be the process, the software, the team, whatever, but the question remains the same – how does it affect them.
For instance, if I have two members of my team out sick for a week, that is a severe impact to me and my team. Our customers will see it as something I need to look like (i.e., why is everyone away), but it’s a lower priority to them as long as we’re still pumping out work.
It’s not a concept that I will talk about with users, but in trying to align priorities in my head – it helps greatly in trying to understand and categorizes “emergencies”.