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Criticality Escalation

Part of any kind of bug or problem reporting system is triage: the act of deciding how severe each report is and placing it into the appropriate category.

Common categories in software development are things like “Critical,” “High,” “Medium” and “Low,” for example. They would usually be given associated numeric values: probably 1-4, in this case.

I realise that I mentioned “triage,” which of course means dividing things into three; and then I’ve introduced four levels. That would be quadage, maybe? Tesserage? Anyway, three levels wasn’t enough for people: at some point “High,” “Medium” and “Low” just couldn’t cut it.

But even the terminology is breaking down now. This snippet below is based on values from an actual document written by an actual company, for reporting problems during user acceptance testing (UAT).

Severity Description
1 – Extremely critical Critical problem that completely stops testing…
2 – Very critical Critical problem that prevents some testing…
3 – Critical Non-critical problem…
4 – Less critical Minor bug…

Imagine if they used that in hospitals: “The patient’s critical.” “Oh, not too bad, then.”

And I love how the definition of “Critical” is “Non-critical problem…”

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