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  1. #1
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    Different Definition of Severity for QA and Support

    Our QA Team is now under the same department as "Support" (Support as it suggests support clients and raise bugs that they find)- us as QA log incidents we find as part of testing before released to clients. Now we are in the same department we have to work closer together and a issue has come up- we have different terminology for Severity's logged on each incident databases.Support thinks that both definitions should be the same I disagree as I feel we manage incidents at different points in the products lifecycle and therefore the definitions of severity are going to be slightly different. Does anyone have a opinion ? or any feedback that can assist me with this matter ?.

  2. #2
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    Re: Different Definition of Severity for QA and Support

    I have been on both sides of this argument - I managed a support department for a while, and now spend most of my time in QA during development.

    In my experience, it is possible to combine the severity levels for both departments, but it takes some serious discussion and compromise to come up with meanings that are understood by both and accepted by both.

    For example, can both departments agree that a severity 1 issue is one that is a show-stopper without a workaround? If they can, then you have severity 1 defined.

    The real question you are asking, but not asking, is do both departments really WANT to have combined severity levels? If they want it badly enough, it can happen.

  3. #3
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    Re: Different Definition of Severity for QA and Support

    Thanks Darren for your response- just to clarify I am not asking at all is do both teams want to have a combined severity level (I already know the answer !) but is there a valid discussion in the point I have raised in that severity may mean different things at different points in the products life cycle and to different audiences ?.The definitions are'nt that to dissimilar but Supports quite rightly is very much from a clients point of view, QA's is very slightly different.

  4. #4
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    Re: Different Definition of Severity for QA and Support

    You have hit the nail squarely on the head. In order to make the severity level definitions universal, you must make sure that support and QA have the same points of view on those levels. If you can get to that point, the battle is virtually won.

    To that point, I'm not sure that support and QA should have different views. The common thread is the body of requirements. QA works to verify that the application meets stated requirements. Support should be working from the premise that the requirements have defined how the user will interact with the application.

  5. #5
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    Re: Different Definition of Severity for QA and Support

    Joness,

    I don't think you're ever going to get to a point where both QA and support have the same view of what severity is for every bug... and I think that's a good thing!

    QA has an inside track to development that most support organization do not have (or maybe even want)... and support has access to the customers that QA doesn't have. So if your organization relies on the support representatives to be the only customer advocates, I think you're set just the way you are.

    Even if QA is supposed to act as a customer advocate; acting like a customer and truly understanding the customer are 2 different things. They may have the best of intentions but until you're on the phones with the customers on a daily basis, you won't appreciate that viewpoint.

    To me, the people within the organization (managers, developers, QA, support, documentation, etc.) all need to have the right to express their concerns and then need to work together to prioritize the issues.

    Once this is allowed, who cares what the severity gets set to? Management hears all the voices involved and can finally make an informed decision!

    We all think differently and have different experiences. My job as a QA rep is simply to provide information... our support reps appreciate that position as well.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
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    Re: Different Definition of Severity for QA and Support

    joness, I agree with you, you could read my idea of how to evaluate severity during test phase http://www.testingreflections.com/node/view/3040 I stress there out that it is different from customer value and even have nothing to do with it.
    Hope you could borrow some ideas for talking with support. However one issue I don't address - when testing phase is over and there are certain bugs not fixed you should re-evaluate the customer value for them, you should actually do it since few weeks before finishing test phase. So I would suggest support to be involved in the defect evaluation just before test complete.

    [ 12-08-2005, 12:18 AM: Message edited by: Ainars ]
    ?:the art of a constructive conflict perceived as a destructive diagnose.
    Ainars

  7. #7
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    Re: Different Definition of Severity for QA and Support

    Broop and Ainars thank you very much for your comments they were really helpful. Broop you were able to put into words for me what I was thinking and trying to explain to my manager. Regardless to say the issue has been resolved and the 2 classifications will remain different !!

 

 

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