Software Testing Basics – Defects Categorization

Software testing has many avenues and is one of the most sought-after testing practices in the modern-day business environment. Defects categorization is one part of software testing. This blog discusses the definition of defects in software applications, the process of isolating defects during testing, and finally, the categorization and resolution processes for them. 

What is a defect in a software application? The defect in a software application is an error or fault in the application that results in incorrect behavior. Incorrect behavior results in compromised quality, which results in disappointed customers if left unresolved. According to famous computer science professor and author Jerry Weinberg, “quality is valuable to some person.” Furthermore, James Bach, another expert in the field, defines software bugs as “anything that threatens quality.” A defect severity categorization is the “extent to which the value of the software application is compromised for a use.” 

A defect can be caused for many reasons, such as flaws in the design, code, or the environment of the software application. Even though QA teams continuously monitor applications throughout their development lifecycle, defects are common and require immediate action. An application is considered bug or defect-free only if it performs as it was intended. If it fails to do so, then it goes through further testing. 

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What is the process of finding defects? 

Software testers need a well-planned, established, and focused approach to identify and fix defects in the software application. This process is called software testing or debugging.Softwaretesting 

Software testing is a process that checks whether the actual software application matches the functional and non-functional requirements which were intended by the developers. It involves manipulating manual or automated tools for evaluating the areas of interest. The core intent behind this is to find differences or missing requirements in comparison with actual requirements.  


In programming, debugging is a multistep method that involves identifying the problem, isolating the source of the problem, then correcting the problem and finding a workaround for it. The last step involves testing the correction to make sure everything is working as intended. Debugging usually starts after the defect is identified and is done with the software application’s source code. 

Defect categorization 

There are 2 parameters for defect categorization.  

  1. Defect priority categorization 
  2. Defect severity categorization 

These parameters help the project team to plan their deliverables accordingly. The software development process has many constraints that do not allow development teams to have a fix-it-all at once approach to defects. The defect priority categorization helps them segregate the most crucial defects that require immediate resolve. 

Defect priority categorization: 

The defect priority categorization measures the “time to react/fix” parameter.If the priority is high, then the time to react/ fix that defect must be minimum and vice versa. The defect priority categorization can be defined as the following: 

High: In this scenario, the tester needs to fix the defect immediately otherwise, the build would be at stake. Other planned tasks need to be paused to avoid any problems in the core application functionality.  


A defect is labelled in the medium categorization if despite the system failure, the flow of the application continues to run. 

Low: These are less important bugs. Functionalities of the application are working fine, but those can be further improved if defects under this category are fixed in relevance to the available time.  

Deferred: Some defects are marked as deferred because there are greater chances that these will be fixed in upcoming releases. The client may also adjust the requirements based on analysis conducted on the deferred defects to improve the user experience and implement the functionality that would be good to have at later stages of the application development cycle.  

Defect Severity Categorization: 

The magnitude of the affected portion of a software application from a particular defect is classified under the defect severity categorization umbrella. If an integral and the most used part of the application is broken then its severity would be critical. Defect severity categorization is the parameter that draws the attention of the application developers to help finalize the TO-DOs before the deliverables.  

The defect Severity categorizations are as follows: 

Critical: This means that the core functionality is broken. The system is not working at all OR the entry point of the system is not working. 

Major: This means that the basic functionality has malfunctioned, and specified results are not achievable through the modules.. 

Moderate: If the system is generating false, conflicting, unreliable, imperfect, or partial results, then we can it is labelled as a moderate defect.  

Minor: No or less impact on the core functionality or requirement specifications are categorized under minor defects.  

UI/ UX: The defects related to the appearance of the application or user interaction with the application are put under this defect category.  

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Getting defect severity categorization hooked up with defect priority categorization makes the test management systems more organized and increases the traceability access for managers and decision-makers.  

Analyzing these two parameters helps the managers in assigning the financial resources and planning the required testing efforts. 

These parameters also help in resource management. Some of the bugs require a certain type of expertise. Hence, those are distributed among specialized domain experts to get them resolved quickly.  

Although the defect categorization priority and severity may be different for different companies, their control remains the same. These are subjective parameters but remain the same within the organizational culture or the nature of the project. One should pay close attention while reporting a defect against these parameters as critical deliverables or decision-making depends on these two factors.