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Incremental Model | Advantages, Disadvantages | Software Engineering | BSc.CSIT 6th Sem

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incremental software development modelIntroduction, Pros and Cons of Incremental Model,
Software Engineering Notes | Sixth Semester,
BSc.CSIT | Tribhuvan University (TU)

Incremental Model
In an incremental model, customers identify, in outline, the services to be provided by the system. They identify which of the services are most important and which are least important to them. A number of delivery increments are then defined, with each increment providing a sub-set of the system functionality. The allocation of services to increments depends on the service priority with the highest priority services delivered first.

Once the system increments have been identified, the requirements for the services to be delivered in the first increment are defined in detail, and that increment is developed. During development, further requirements analysis for later increments can take place, but requirements changes for the current increment are not accepted.incremental model

Once increment is completed and delivered, customers can put it into services>they can experiment with the system that helps to clarify their requirements for later increments and for later versions of the current increment. As new increments are completed, they are integrated with existing increments so that the system functionality improves each delivered increment. The common services may be implemented early in the process or may be implemented incrementally as functionality is required by an increment.

In this software development model, rather than deliver the system as a single delivery, the development and delivery is broken down into increments with each increment delivering part of the required functionality. User requirements are prioritized and the highest priority requirements are included in early increments. Once the development of an increment is started, the requirements are frozen though requirements for later increments can continue to evolve)

Incremental development advantages

  • Customer value can be delivered with each increment so system functionality is available earlier
  • Early increments act as a prototype to help elicit requirements for later increments
  • Lower risk of overall project failure
  • The highest priority system services tend to receive the most testing

Variant in this approach called Extreme programming:

  • New approach to development based on the development and delivery of very small increments of functionality
  • Relies on constant code improvement, user involvement in the development team and pairwise programming


  • As product is delivered in parts, total development cost is higher.
  • Well defined interfaces are required to connect modules developed with each phase.
  • Testing of modules also results into overhead and increased cost.
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