Tutorial :Use of the severity-property for Trac tickets



Question:

I use Trac regularly in a team at work, as well as for my own project for the university. In both cases I have never felt the need to use the severity property for a ticket. I feel that by using the type and priority properties gives all the information I need, and I cannot think of anything to do with the severity property that would not be redundant. Does anyone have any good usecases for the severity-property?


Solution:1

You can treat priority and severity as orthogonal values.

The severity can indicate how costly the bug is: low severity could be "the color of this icon is wrong" and a high severity could be "computer hunts down and kills user".

The priority is how urgent it is to fix the problem. An icon that uses the company's biggest competitor's corporate color may be high priority, whereas a deadly error that can happen once in a million years may be a low priority.

You can then work on things based on the priority times the severity; something that is medium severity and medium priority may be more important than something that is low severity and high priority.

OR

You can give the ticket owner control of the severity, and the developer control of priority. That gives you a way to see where views differ without having edit wars over the single priority field. But done naively, users will simply set the severity to the greatest value they can, and you lose all usefulness in that field. (And no, I don't pretend to have a useful, tested-in-the-real-world solution to that. There are lots of possibilities to play with though.)

But honestly, a single priority field of high/medium/low has worked well enough for me in all of my projects. A separate severity field just seems like additional complexity for negligible benefit.

Discloser: I'm one of the Trac devs


Solution:2

Ok it's an old question but I guess I'll weigh in with a very unusual, but quite useful, use case.

Background: I actually use a Trac system to manage my (real) life. Like, I create tickets such as, "Install smart lights in kitchen", "Buy tickets to ball game", "Get flu shot", and so on. This is because I'm very bad at keeping to a schedule, but having a tidy list of tasks and milestones that I set out for myself works for me.

Anyway, I use the Severity field to indicate my anxiety level for that particular task. The severity levels range from "no_problem" to "needs_concerted_effort" to "panic_attack". (I have about a dozen, and some are special cases.) Whenever I'm in a mood to tackle something hard I'll pull up a report of tickets with high priorty and severity; if I'm feeling defeated by life and just want something easy to take my mind off things, I'll pull up a report of high priority, low severity tickets.

Another example: though it's not quite the most accurate usage, at work we use the severity field to indicate how much time we expect the task to take. The levels are "minutes", "hours", "days", "weeks", and "months".


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