Know the Business
While I really like jmort253's take on negotiation, I think it's also crucial to back up and take a look at the big picture. A compensation incentive is only valuable if it induces a change in employee behavior. The obvious issue is - why should a company pay more for something that is already part of your job?
Next, the company will only pay more if the outcome is a change in behavior that causes a meaninful advantage to the organization. Early delivery of a given component is only meaninful - for example - if the user community who depends on that component can use it at that time. If there are 3 more parts to the release process, and those parts are not ready, then the early release was to no advantage.
In the end, the company does have to meet a bottom line. Incentives are particularly tricky, because they raise an expectation - when an incentive is removed, it's quite likely that the performance to the incentive will disappear as well. So a company is wise not to consider incentivizing a single project, lest the other projects suffer. And if the incentive process doesn't cause the expected improvement to the overall business, the company can be in real danger.
Before starting an incentive discussion, start asking these questions of the management around you that you trust to have a clue. Even asking the "why haven't we tried incentives?" is a really good question - since it's quite likely that your management has considered it.
Know How Decisions Get Made
There is a wide variation in how much control a technical manager may have over the financial aspects of teh business, and there's no perfect way to tell. In fact, in a perfect world, it should be somewhat seamless as lower level management should have bought into the incentive/pay structure and be ready to support it, regardless of how much control they may have had.
It's worth it to chat your way up the chain, while realizing that you may have to go up a few layers of management to get to someone who is empowered to actually change the rules. But the value of talking from your direct management up is that they can usually both help you streamline your delivery for the next level, answer some of your questions, and the discussion prevents them from being blindsided when their management says "why did this guy come buggng me about incentives?". No one likes feeling clueless (managers least of all) and so keep them in the loop.
In a healthy organization, it should be possible to question this status quo without a serious smackdown. Be ready to listen - your manager MAY have good reasons for telling you to give it up (for example, when your company is so in debt that they are considering a layoff... this is probably a bad time to go asking for incentive pay). But they shouldn't be blocking you just because thinking about incentives is hard, irrating, or "just not something we do here". The reason should make some level of business sense.
In a large organization, or an organization that is clued in to both employee satisfaction and business growth, you can expect that someone in your management structure has done some thinking on this and MAY have a valid reason for saying "no".
A key element in negotiation is to hear and understand that reason before making a counterargument. And when you do counterargue, you need to make sure you address the concerns and have a reasonable answer from the other person's perspective.
Incentives can be tricky, because many of the things (especially in a knowledge working field such as software engineering) that might be incentive-worthy are also things that could be described in the job description - high quality, adherance to schedule & cost - even innovative thinking and improved efficiency are part of normal expectations in the software industry. For the most part, companies will want to target incentives to work that is "above and beyond" which means you have to sell this that way.
Also - be prepared to support all the what-ifs. A decent manager is going to have to ask around all the edge cases. What about people who aren't on the incentive? What if the target isn't met? At what point does incentivized behavior become a standard expectation? Are there partial incentives for partial success? What happens if it's a team incentive but only one guy on the team rises to the challenge?
If some of these what-ifs create outcomes that are unacceptably bad, be prepared that it might not go through.
Also be prepared that individual vs. team incentives may (or may not) be very different things... and individual incentives are often private enough that you may not be aware of them.