This error is annoying, but it has some known causes.
Here are the ones we know about:
Source farm is of a higher patch level than the target farm
To check the patch level of the farm, go to Central Administration > Manage Servers in This Farm > Configuration Database Version.
You can look the number you see up on this page to find the CU or Patch you’re on: SharePoint Build Numbers
The target farm has not had the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard run post-update / hotfix
This is an important part of the upgrade / update / hotfix procedure and should always be done. See Stefan Gossner’s post here:
Why we recommend / require to run the Configuration Wizard also for Security fixes
You can figure out if the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard needs to be run by running it, and if you see the first screen mentioning anything about upgrading the farm, you need to run the wizard to complete the upgrade.
If you don’t see the word upgrade, it will be asking you to repair the farm instead.