The term product increment refers to adding a new feature to a product. Whenever we want to enhance the functionality of a product, we add a new feature to it. Whenever we are building a software product, it is not built all at once. Instead, it is built feature by feature or module by module. With the completion of each module, it is integrated with the other modules. This process is referred to as Product Increment.
What Is Product Increment?
When we are working with a methodology like Scrum, the sum of all the backlogs of a product at the end of the sprint is called product increment. At the end of each sprint, some new functionality is added to the product and new features are added that enhance the usability of a product. These features could be functional or non-functional. With the completion of each sprint, the product comes one step closer to product completion.
The work done is not considered a part of the increment unless it fulfills the definition of done. Here is the definition of done in terms of Scrum:
Definition of Done
It is an agreement between the product team on the set of certain conditions that must be met in order to consider a backlog item done. The definition of done provides a clear understanding of what work was done during the particular backlog so that everyone knows the changes being implemented on the product.
The definition of done implies that whenever an increment is done at the end of each sprint, the product should be in working condition and ready to go live for production.
The Need for Product Increment
Building a software product is not an easy task and takes time. One cannot just directly develop a product and launch it into the market. Instead, a product has to go through the product development life cycle.
The fastest yet most effective way to get a software product ready is by dividing the development into multiple modules. The Agile Methodology uses this same approach. In Agile, when we use Scrum, each module is divided into sprints. With the completion of each sprint, one or more features of a product are implemented and merged with the previous product increments, and we get the working product owned by the product owner. An increment is considered only when it fulfills the Scrum definition of Done.
Creating a Product Increment
Whenever the development team is working on a product increment, all the essential activities such are analysis, testing, designing, etc., are done by the team to achieve a working product at the end of the sprint.
When we are following the Scrum methodology, we work on one feature at a time. The increment developed in a certain sprint is then integrated with the previously developed features.
Whenever a product increment has been added to the product, it should be sent live for testing. In this way, the product team gets early feedback, and they improve the released product feature and the upcoming increments.
The Benefits of Product Increment
The incremental model brings great relief to the lives of the developers. It leads to high-quality products as the developers get enough time to improve the product. The product owners also get a chance to change the requirements if they do not like a certain increment. Furthermore, when the development team follows the incremental approach, the beta testing of the product can be carried out with the release of each product feature. This way, the development process speeds up and the owner gets what they wanted as fast as they can.