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Testing Priorities

All we have to decide is what to do with time that is given to us

                -J.R.R. Tolkien

You might have thought these simple words of wisdom were from some testing guru but no; they are the words of Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien. Admittedly he probably didn’t have testing in mind when he said this but it doesn’t make his words any less true in a testing context.

It has long been accepted that testers will never be able to find 100% of the bugs in web applications prior to release; however it is more than possible to locate the large bugs that will cause the most significant damage if they were to be released with the application. This process is aided by the ‘Priority’ option in your standard Test Manager Bug Report.

Image showing the priorities drop down in Test Manager

By default a scale of 1-4 is offered and can be used as you see fit (this scale can obviously be changed to include more or less options). I have attempted to explain my current use of this scale below:






Must be run

These tests MUST pass otherwise the application is missing key functionality the client has requested


Must be run

Based on the severity of bugs discovered these still have the potential to postpone a release


Should be run

These should be run but any bugs that are found are unlikely to delay the release of the product


Can be run (time permitting)

These tests can be run if you have time left before release but very little functionality will be lost if they do not pass


This idea sort of follows on from a previous blog I wrote concerning ‘Critical Test Suites’. Clearly the use of such an option is going to be very specific to each individual project and the requirements provided by the Client. However for me, with the quick turnaround of new content in the Iron Speed Applications I am currently testing this scale helps keep me focused; especially when the fortnightly updates are particularly large.

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Comments (1)
  • Ruth 11 Jul, 09:13 AM

    I really enjoyed this blog post, it makes some of the mysteries of testing a little less mysterious.
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