My bug report template includes a Severity attribute but my teams don’t bother populating it. The severity choices on my template are:
We leave it on the default.
Try as you may, to objectively define Severity, and it is still arguably subjective. “Loss of Functionality w/Work Around”…well, if we are creative enough, we can always come up with a work around; let’s use the legacy process. “Data Corruption”…well, if we run a DB script to fix the corruption is this bug still severe?
From my experiences, it has been better for humans to read the bug report description, understand the bug, then make any decisions that would have otherwise been made based on a tester’s severity assessment.
As an example, if the bug report description does not indicate the system crashes, and it does, it is likely a poorly written bug description. One shouldn’t need a Severity to pigeon hole it into.
My advice? Save the tester some time. Don’t ask them to populate Severity. Benefit from the discussion it may force later.