IMO, Priority should not be populated by testers. My teams use a customized version of Microsoft Team Foundation Server’s bug work item template. For whatever reason, Priority is a required attribute upon logging bugs. It defaults to “Medium” and I never change it.
From my experiences, testers often overstate bug priority, wanting to believe the bugs they found are more important to fix than other work that could be done. Some testers see themselves as the saviors of the user-in-distress. I see myself as the information gatherer for my development team and stakeholders. I don’t understand the business needs as well as my stakeholders, thus I remove myself from making claims about bug priority.
- Priority is a stakeholder question and it’s always relative to what else is available to work on. A High priority bug may be less important than a new Feature.
- From my experiences, Priority does not lead decisions. It follows.
- Tester: “Per our process, we will only patch production for High priority bugs”.
- Stakeholder: “Well, obviously we need to patch production today”.
- Tester: “But said bug is only a Medium priority”.
- Stakeholder: “Then change it to a High”.
- IMO, Priority is all but useless. The more High priority active bugs one has, the more diminished it’s label becomes. A better label is “Order”, as in let’s rank everything we can work on, from most important to least important, where each item has a unique ranking order.