If the 9 key is pressed 10 times in a mobile phone, then phone reboots. What would the priority and severity be?

I answered "low priority, high severity." Would the answer be "high severity and high priority?"

I answered low priority because a person will not usually try to enter the 9 key 10 times. It will be a rare scenario on this interviewer question. If I'm told: "what if 9999999999 this number is one of the emergency kind of numbers like we dial 100 for police or 112 for distress?"

  • When you tell something defend the answer , please update the question by the reason you think your categorization is correct
    – PDHide
    Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 13:32
  • @PDHide updated Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 13:40

2 Answers 2


"The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do." - Michael Porter.

As I see it, Priority is more subjective term compared to severity is more objective one.

Priority has meaning in context of business impact(how many users may enter 9 key 10 times?) whereas severity is more about technical impact of the issue(system restarting)on the system.

I think the reason it's again and again brought up in interviews, to evaluate the perspective of an tester .

A tester can discover thousands of weird ways to bring a system on its knees however as long a real user will never do that , it's means nothing to business.On the other hand if the color of a button in UI is highly unintutive to an user , that's more important to business hence should in turn be important to tester as well.

Every tester needs to understand this on fundamental level that what is important to do and more importantly what not to do.

  • How is severity linked to technical ?
    – PDHide
    Commented May 2, 2021 at 19:41
  • What exactly is your question? Commented May 4, 2021 at 1:04
  • severity is more technical effect of the issue." Severity is about risk not about technical difficulty
    – PDHide
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 5:20
  • 1
    I updated the answer for more clarity however I don't see the point how severity is linked to risk. Commented May 8, 2021 at 23:39
  • severity is not linked to buissness , it's related to risk . The risk could be technical , buissness , or external
    – PDHide
    Commented May 16, 2021 at 12:33

interview is not a quiz but a discussion to understand candidates thought process, confidence, human quality, how he handles counter thoughts etc.

The points put forward is completely correct as having a mobile number as 999999999 is really low. But not impossible i guess , so its a low priority and high severity.

So setting up priority for this bug is tricky, the best approach is to have a risk analysis:

  1. seeing probability of such a number exists
  2. probability of number 9 being used to play games
  3. user base that uses number 999999999
  4. user base of users who travels to the destination that has 9999999999 as the number
  5. work around available
  6. Comparison with competitor handsets

And so on. so "risk analysis" is the key term when priority comes in mind.

  • thanky for detailed approach and answer Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 17:06
  • 1
    if it help could you accept the answer by clickign the tick sign for both the answers
    – PDHide
    Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 17:35
  • 3
    Also, and I cannot stress this enough, some interviewers are really bad at their jobs. Both the role of managing and the role they're hiring for.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 5:02

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