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Understanding Rapid Application Development

Dheeraj Peyyala
Product @ TYNYBAY
Jan 21st, 2022
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The publication of a paper by James Martin on RAD appears to have sparked interest in rapid application development (RAD) (Martin, 1992). The main goals of RAD, according to Martin, are high-quality systems, quick development and delivery, and minimal costs. These goals can be summed up in a single sentence: the commercial requirement to produce working business applications in less time and for less money (Rapid application development (RAD): an empirical review, by P Beynon Davies, et al., 1999). The RAD technique countered the rigidity of other traditional software development models–where you can't simply make modifications after the initial work is completed. This article attempts to understand what RAD is and thereby understand its application in software development.

What is RAD

Rapid Application Development is an Agile software development methodology that emphasizes quick prototype releases and iterations. Unlike the traditional Waterfall method, the RAD model prioritizes software and user feedback over meticulous planning and requirements documentation.


Traditional software development methodologies are falling short of meeting demand as mobile application development accelerates. SDLC is time-consuming, allows for few revisions, has limited user engagement, and requires a lot of coding. RAD provides a more straightforward approach to application development, one that requires little coding and is highly adaptable to changing business needs. Narrowing down on which methodology is efficient is determined by the company's needs. There is a gradual yet quick transformation from traditional software development to modern RAD.

RAD Methodology

RAD can break down the process in a variety of ways, but in general, RAD is divided into four stages.

Phase 1: Requirement Planning Although the planning phase is brief compared to other project management systems, it is crucial for the project's ultimate success. At this stage, developers, clients (software users), and team members communicate to establish the project's goals and expectations, as well as any current or anticipated challenges that will need to be addressed.

The following is a simple breakdown of this stage:

  • Understanding the present issue
  • Defining the project's needs
  • Finalizing the requirements with each stakeholder's approval.

Phase 2: User design Once the project has been scoped out, it's time to work on developing the user interface through numerous prototype iterations.

Phase 3: Rapid development Phase 3 transforms the prototypes and beta systems created during the design phase into a working model. Developers may build the final functioning model faster than they might be using a traditional project management technique because the bulk of the problems and adjustments were handled during the rigorous iterative design phase.

The phase is broken down into smaller steps:

  • Getting ready for a quick build
  • Development of programs and applications coding
  • Unit, integration, and system testing.

Phase 4: Release This is the stage when the finished work is ready to be released. Data conversion, testing, and the switchover to the new system, as well as user training, are all included. While the coders and clients continue to seek for flaws in the system, all final improvements are made.

Advantages of RAD

  • Faster Development: As a result, businesses benefit from a faster time to market or swift deployment within the company, which helps them achieve their objectives.
  • Code generation that is more efficient: Development teams can work quicker and smarter while reducing server and infrastructure needs for cloud development environments by using a platform-as-a-service model (PaaS) and containers as part of RAD.
  • Constant and Rapid User Feedback: This implies that everyone has access to the information they need to sign off on progress, and development teams have access to the information they require to accelerate development.
  • System Integration in the Early Stages: A RAD system immediately identifies any faults or issues during integrations and demands immediate correction by mandating early integrations inside a prototype.

Disadvantages of RAD

  • Requires flexible systems: The overall system design necessitates that each component is adaptable, allowing pieces to be swapped or changed by members of the team.
  • Difficulty to manage with large-scale projects: While this isn't always a bad thing, managing within the scope of the project, extra flexibility, and unpredictability of the entire project, especially for larger applications, can be difficult.
  • Demands frequent interactions with the user: It challenges the team's willingness and ability to connect with users on a far more regular basis.
  • Possibility of ignoring best practices: with a Rapid iteration approach, the best practices of an agile methodology can take a back seat.


While RAD has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, we need to understand that there are always specific projects that are time-sensitive that would work best with the RAD methodology.

However, it is also very important that RAD is implemented without compromising on the technical excellence and good design from the agile understanding, the rapid prototyping should be embedded into the framework, and only then this hybrid model will give the best output in terms of speed, quality, and customer satisfaction.

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