What is Rapid Application Development and why you should care?
Even before the Agile methodology became commonplace in software development, the Rapid Application Development model brought flexibility to the entire development process. Rapid Application Development quickly swept the Waterfall model out of its place. And it continues to deliver value.
Rapid Application Development helps to quickly develop prototypes to test functions and features without having to worry too much about their impact on the end product. With RAD, you can add or remove functionalities, change the design of a software product and clean it up by eliminating extra fluff – all without harming the end product.
Markets and Markets have predicted the Rapid Application Development market will grow from USD 7.8 bn in 2018 to USD 46.2 bn by 2023. This growth is driven by the ever-rising demand for faster software programming with low-code, and customizable and scalable solutions.
But how did the RAD model come to light? Is it the right model for your software development process? When should you choose to work with Rapid Application Development?
Let’s find out.
Rapid Application Development in a Nutshell
The Rapid Application Development model prioritizes quick prototyping instead of long, drawn-out development and testing cycles. With Rapid Application Development, developers can make multiple iterations to their software without having to start from scratch each time.
Rapid Application Development has been around since the 1980s. So it’s not new but has always found value in projects where the continuous evaluation of development is at the core.
Steps Involved in RAD
Although RAD has massively evolved over the years, these four basic steps remain at its heart.
- Define the Requirements– The Rapid Application Development model does not need you to start with a detailed list of specifications. Instead, it encourages developers to ask for requirements at the time. As the project advances deeper into the development cycle, the specifics of the requirement can be further ironed out. This step sets the stage for the ultimate success of the project. This is where the developers, users, stakeholders, and other members sit down to discuss the goals and expectations of the project. They also address the current and potential challenges that may hinder their path during development. The key to successful RAD is for all the stakeholders and users to be involved right from the beginning to define the goals and expectations.
- Build the Prototype – Once the scope of the project is clearly chalked out, it’s time for the developers to dive in. In this step, the basic user design is built through prototype iterations. During this phase, users or clients collaborate with developers to make sure their requirements are met at every step in the design process. The developer designs a prototype, the user tests it and provides feedback on how it can be improved. Ultimately, through this collaboration, there is less chance that something will slip through the cracks.
- Rapid Construction – The prototypes and beta systems developed in the previous stage are now converted into working models. Since a large number of glitches and gaps would have been addressed during the prototyping process, the developers can now move at full speed in constructing the product. It is fascinating that even during this phase, the end users provide inputs, and suggest modifications which are subsequently accommodated.
The last two steps repeat iteratively until the client’s objectives and expectations are met.
- Finalizing and deployment – In this step, the features, user experience, and interface of the software are finalized with the product owner or client. Before delivering or deploying the product at the client side, developers test the software for stability usability and maintainability.
RAD- When And Why You Stand to Gain
Does it make sense to use the Rapid Application Development model for each type of software development? Perhaps not. Here’s when you can use Rapid Application Development-
When you have access to a pool of users
If you have got users who can give consistent and reliable feedback on your prototypes, the Rapid Application Development is a great model. Since the RAD model has its roots in the feedback developers receive throughout the cycle, is not the best model without access to dependable sources who will use and review your product in an unbiased manner.
When you Need Quick Delivery:
If you are on a tight deadline, RAD could help. You can cut down on the requirement planning and design phases which individually consume time, and begin prototyping rapidly to deliver something that works sooner. Rapid Application Development is an on-the-fly approach that leads to quick development. Some estimates are that the RAD approach can slash the traditional technology lifecycle by 80 percent.
Rapid Application Development-
- Is a flexible model that can adapt to changes.
- Minimizes the overall project risk.
- Is easy to transfer deliverables in the form of high-level abstractions scripts and intermediate codes.
- Allows Iterative prototyping that reduces the possibility of bugs and defects.
Clearly, with RAD, an organization can build a software product faster, eliminating the need for long development lifecycles and hassle-filled development journeys. Does that sound like something you would consider for your next software development project?