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Rapid Application Development Model: What It Is & How It Works

Rapid Application Development Model

There’s more than one way to cook an egg, and the same can be said about software development.

Many software developers prefer an iterative and incremental approach for product development, and that’s not by accident. It saves time, delivers a quality product, and the client can provide feedback so that the final product is up to their standards.

What’s not to like?

That’s one of the main reasons why rapid application development (RAD) was conceived. It was designed to help developers fast-track the product design and planning stage to deliver products rapidly. This development method, combined with user feedback, allows developers to place all their resources on building and testing features, so the final product works as expected.

There are many advantages to using the RAD model in software development.

  • It enables teams to make numerous changes throughout the development cycle, rather than sticking to large laid out plans.
  • It allows for more feedback and testing opportunities, leading to a reduced risk of errors and greater client satisfaction.
  • It’s a more productive use of time, as fewer collaborative teams are required to perform the same amount of work as traditional teams.
  • It can optimize costs for the developer and the client, as teams can meet evolving requirements efficiently.
  • It consists of many independent components, so integration isn’t an issue, and the development of many elements can happen simultaneously.

Should You Choose Rapid Application Development?

The RAD model of software development is nothing new – in fact, it’s over 30 years old. As the name implies, the RAD model essentially priorities “rapid development” or speed over planning. In other words, fewer teams of specialized developers have a closer line of communication with the customer. This setup allows changes to happen quickly, which is great for rapidly changing product requirements or identifying errors.

How Does Rapid Application Development Work?

There are four basic steps that make up the RAD process. They consist of listing your requirements, generating the prototype, managing the feedback, and building the product, with the last two steps happening in parallel:

  1. List your requirements

Any project requires planning, but in RAD, this step is quick and straightforward. There’s no need to gather stakeholders together to prioritize requirements. Plans are broad, and project requirements are generic enough to offer general direction at each stage of the project cycle.

  1. Get the prototype out

Here, the development process begins, which follows the general scope of the project. Developers collaborate together to create many prototypes, which are then presented to the client for feedback and for further direction.

  1. Manage the feedback

As development teams gather feedback about their prototypes, they get a better picture of what the client wants. Since feedback usually concerns everything from functionality to design, development happens at a faster pace with fewer wasted resources.

  1. Build the product

At this stage, final product development commences, but teams can still gather feedback from the client to perfect the details regarding usability, maintenance, and other technical aspects.

Is Rapid Application Development Right For Your Project?

Unlike other software methodologies, the RAD method has clear advantages to both the developer and the customer. It’s faster, more efficient, and is ideal for projects with tight budgets and specific client requirements. At the same time, this model is not always suitable for all applications, especially if teams lack the cross-functional ability or strict, top-down planning is required. Here are three main reasons why developers choose the RAD model:

They have the needed resources.

As mentioned, businesses need the right technology, expertise, and organizational structure to make the most of RAD. Suppose you have a collaborative team culture, a robust and flexible rapid app development platform, and are able to interact with the customer on a regular basis. In that case, you’re already halfway there.

They need to get to market quickly.

If you’re working with tight deadlines and requirements, a RAD model gets your product out quicker than via other development methods. Not only do you shorten the design and planning stages, but the iterative approach also allows you to change direction at a moment’s notice and get a finished product out the door faster.

They need to meet client requirements.

Any successful project must meet client requirements, and RAD makes it possible through frequent testing and modifications. The end result is a project that’s on time, on budget, and without any unnecessary extras.

Select the Right Rapid Application Development Platform

As a development methodology, RAD has long been preferred by forward-thinking developers to launch robust, flexible, and future-proof products in record time. Many use RAD platforms to streamline and accelerate the development of their projects.

When the time comes to select your RAD platform, make the decision carefully. A robust ecosystem, open-source structure, low-code elements, and integration features are all worth considering.

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