When we talk about major defects, we also talk about the availability of workaround. I need to know what do we mean exactly by a workaround. Example: If a function is not working at all, however, the user can use another function to get his desired result, then can we consider this as a workaround?

  • "If a function is not working at all, however, the user can use another function to get his desired result, then can we consider this as a workaround?" - Perhaps. It depends on the context and the difficulty/cost of using the workaround. Dec 6, 2017 at 20:49
  • did you tried to google workaround? urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=workaround --- "The term "workaround" implies that there should be a quicker, more efficient, or otherwise better way to accomplish things. But also that such improved methods are unavailable due to some circumstances beyond the control of those directly involved." Does it explain your problem? Dec 6, 2017 at 20:50
  • The purpose of my question is that I am setting the definition of defects severity. And as per ISTQB definition (see below), the defect related to the above scenario has a minor severity, but I am not convinced in that, how would it has minor severity in the time it is related to work stoppage of the tool. A Minor defect may impair usability or cause the system to produce incorrect, incomplete or inconsistent results. A Minor defect has an easy workaround. Example: A feature does not achieve the expected result in one module but the same task is easily doable from another module. Dec 6, 2017 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


Yes, your insinuation is how I understand 'workarounds' as well, in the context of software testing. Defining it more verbose you could say it's a process (a number of actions) achieving a result that is normally achievable through an easier, more dedicated or user-friendly process. (*)

In practice, a workaround might differentiate between critical and high severity (business impact).

For example, there is a major difference in impact on business processes between:

  1. "We do not receive any orders placed via our web shop." - This can be considered critical as business stalls.
  2. "We do not receive any orders placed via our web shop, but a helpdesk employee can manually trigger the event queue so we get the orders anyway, albeit with a few hours of delay." - This can be considered high severity, because business processes aren't working optimally, but due to a workaround the process is flowing (but it's still important because the workaround is demanding resources and/or costs money in some way).

(*) Note, the inverse interpretation is also possible: a shortcut that users have found, which was not intended by design but allows them to perform a task faster or easier.

  • So what can I consider the defect in the above scenario, Minor or Critical? please advice Dec 6, 2017 at 22:09
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    That is hard to judge without more context. I would say, if a user can use another function (provided by the system) to achieve the same thing, it sounds like an easy workaround and thus NOT critical.
    – FDM
    Dec 7, 2017 at 5:14
  • ok Iam with you, but dont think that the defect in the above user preven user from continue his testing? for that I say it is critical. So the question now does the severity is related to the impact on tester or on the customer. Dec 7, 2017 at 8:06
  • If you are talking about TESTING and not PRODUCTION / BUSINESS then this is a feature that cannot be tested as it's not working. So yes, then the defect could be considered 'blocking' (critical) for testing purposes. Because obviously, if it's a new product yet to be released, you'd want the core processes to work as designed...
    – FDM
    Dec 7, 2017 at 8:35
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    You are asking a question that could be a topic on its own. Please post a new question and accept this answer if your "workaround" query is clarified.
    – FDM
    Dec 7, 2017 at 8:55

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