The Incremental Approach: A Step-by-Step Testing Strategy

The Incremental Approach: A Step-by-Step Testing Strategy


4 min read

In this article, we will explore the incremental approach to testing, its benefits, and how it differs from other testing approaches.

What is the Incremental Approach?

The Incremental Approach is a method where a project is divided into smaller parts or segments, with each segment building or adding to the previous one.

The incremental approach, also known as incremental testing, is a testing strategy that focuses on testing the software in small, incremental steps. Instead of testing the entire system at once, the incremental approach divides the testing process into smaller, manageable units.

Each unit, or increment, is tested individually before being integrated into the larger system.

The Top-Down Approach

In the top-down approach to management, a team or project manager makes decisions, which then filter down through a hierarchical structure.

One of the most common testing approaches is the top-down approach. In this approach, the high-level logic and flow of the software are tested first, while the low-level components are tested later.

This means that the overall functionality of the software is tested before diving into the details. The advantage of the top-down approach is that it allows for early detection of any major issues or flaws in the software's design.

The Bottom-Up Approach

Bottom-up testing is a type of integration testing that integrates modules from the bottom first and then moves upward in the control flow graph until all modules are tested.

The bottom-up approach is the opposite of the top-down approach. In this approach, the low-level components of the software are tested first, and then gradually integrated to form the complete system.

This approach allows for early detection of any issues or bugs in the individual components, but it may delay the testing of the high-level or complex functionalities.

The Incremental Approach: A Balanced Approach

The incremental approach combines the best of both worlds - it allows for early detection of both high-level and low-level issues. By dividing the testing process into smaller increments, the incremental approach ensures that each component is thoroughly tested before being integrated into the larger system. This approach minimizes the risk of major failures and allows for incremental improvements throughout the development process.

Types of Integration Testing

Advantages of the Incremental Approach

There are several advantages to using the incremental approach in software testing:

Early Detection of Issues

By testing the software in small increments, any issues or bugs can be detected early in the development process. This allows for timely fixes and reduces the risk of major failures in the final release.

Faster Feedback Loop

The incremental approach allows for faster feedback from testers and stakeholders. As each increment is tested and integrated, feedback can be gathered and incorporated into the next iteration, ensuring continuous improvement.

Better Risk Management

By dividing the testing process into smaller units, the incremental approach allows for better risk management. If an issue is detected in one increment, it can be isolated and addressed without impacting the entire system.

Improved Collaboration

The incremental approach promotes collaboration between developers, testers, and stakeholders. By breaking down the testing process into smaller increments, each team member can focus on their specific area of expertise, leading to better communication and collaboration.

How to Implement the Incremental Approach

Implementing the incremental approach requires careful planning and coordination. Here are some steps to follow:

Step 1: Identify the Increments

Start by identifying the different components or functionalities that can be tested independently. Divide the software into logical units or increments based on these components.

Step 2: Test Each Increment

Test each increment individually, focusing on its specific functionality and requirements. This allows for thorough testing and early detection of any issues or bugs.

Step 3: Integrate Increments

Once each increment has been tested and verified, integrate them into the larger system. This step ensures that the individual components work together seamlessly.

Step 4: Test the Integrated System

After integrating the increments, test the entire system to ensure that all the components work together as expected. This step helps identify any integration issues or conflicts between the increments.

Step 5: Iterate and Improve

Gather feedback from testers and stakeholders, and use it to improve the software. Incorporate the feedback into the next iteration of testing, and continue the process until the software meets the desired quality standards.


The incremental approach to software testing offers several benefits, including early detection of issues, faster feedback loops, better risk management, and improved collaboration.

This approach promotes continuous improvement and helps deliver a high-quality software product. So, the next time you embark on a software testing journey, consider adopting the incremental approach for better results.