Various Phases In Rapid Application Development Methodology in 2023

November 30, 2022
Various Phases In Rapid Application Development Methodology in 2023


Today's businesses run on speed. It's all about faster development, bringing a product out and getting customer feedback immediately to refine and improve the features. It is due to the increasing pace of companies striving to meet consumer demand.

It’s no doubt that the traditional model may not fit today’s scenario. It may be time-consuming and may not fit the versatile projects that organizations dabble with these days. Hence, Rapid Application Development Methodology emerged as an alternative that helps with faster yet effective deployment.

So, how exactly does RAD work, and what are the various phases in RAD software development?

Read on to find out!

What is Rapid Application Development?

Rapid Application Development, as the name suggests, refers to modifications in the development system or strategy. In traditional models, the development team is cornered away from the consumer, only to receive consumer feedback when the product is already done.

But rapid Application Development is a feedback-oriented model. Rather than just having feedback at the end, RAD includes customer feedback at each stage of the development strategy.

It reduces the amount of effort needed to meet customer demands. When feedback is incorporated at every stage, the end product is naturally optimized to better match customer needs. This way, RAD involves collaboration between teams, feedback, and software modifications done accordingly, leading to faster and more effective deployment.

The 5 phases of Rapid Application Development

The RAD model in software engineering involves five steps. The nature of rapid application development leads it to have reusable components and results in the parallel development of software. It makes it suited for projects with a time crunch. When organisations want to spend the limited time that they have on building the project rather than planning, then RAD software development may be the best fit.

While the end product is delivered faster, the quality is not compromised, as every stage is a result of customer feedback. The main principles of RAD methodology include

1. Business modelling

At the heart of this stage is acquiring essential business information. Business modelling consists of analyzing the flow of information within and between various functions in the project. It leads to scrutinizing what type of information is produced by which sector, who handles it, where the information ultimately reaches, and so on.

Rapid Application Development starts with a broad analysis of the business by an internal team on these parameters, as they are the most crucial before getting started on any project. Knowing where the information comes from, how it can be handled, and which factors affect the flow of information is important.

These form evidence and the crucial documentation, which can be utilised at any point. The better the analysis at this stage, the better the understanding of information flow and the lesser the number of communication gaps that may exist.

2. Data modelling

The crucial data collected from business modelling is refined and filtered at this stage. They are classified into entities or data objects that can be used to support the business and its growth.

The data is divided into entities, and the characteristics of each entity are identified this way that the relationship between different entities is grouped on the basis of usefulness.

The team works to identify and refine these key data sets and the relations between them. This way, it is easier for them to identify the required data set at a point in time and save time and effort, contributing to the project or task at hand.

3. Process modelling

As the name suggests, this is the phase where the information aligns with its purpose in the process or the project. The internal team decides which data set fits in which category and maps a flow of information around key objectives. Based on the type of data and its support to business functions, the processes are outlined.

The main aim of process modelling is to transform the data acquired into a flow that is necessary to implement a business function. In this stage, processing descriptions may also be added that help recognize, retrieve and modify a data set or object.

4. Application generation

Now that the process model and the data model are in hand, the foundation for application generation is fixed. It is when the concept turns into reality, and the team starts building the software.

Prototype creation occurs in this stage. Using code automation tools, the process and data models are used to create different prototypes that can be tested in the next stage.

5. Testing and turnover

The main criteria of the software development methodology to check feedback from users and clients occur at this stage. The different prototypes are carefully checked, component-wise, by customers to check for any issues or comments on any aspect.

It is what makes Rapid Application Development unique. There is rapid feedback and iteration in the prototype stage to avoid any major issues and changes later on in the development process. It saves time and allows faster development of the product as the components are already approved and tested.

Pros and Cons of the RAD process

A software development cycle that allows faster feedback and changes.
Bugs, major issues, and any code vulnerabilities are checked for in the prototype stage.
The project needs to be based on customer feedback and is entirely customer-centric. It may not work for projects that are not catered to this goal.
Time spent on coding and resolving bugs and fixes is reduced and it helps progress the product into the market faster.
Suited for projects with different prototypes and fewer components.
A technically strong team is needed. The team can be smaller but need to be technically versatile for the RAD software development model.
The process is heavily communication-dependent. The entire RAD process depends on effective communication between developers and clients.
It works well for component-based projects and not for feature-rich projects, as the latter depends on finished products.
A client may wish to comment or check on each prototype or component and release, leading to greater time spent in gaining and responding to feedback, which may be tedious for prototypes with greater components.
Documentation is not of utmost importance. It is completed only in the final phase, which can make tracking progress harder.
Not universally suitable, and works well for low-risk, low-feature-packed projects.
Outsourcing talent may have to be done as not all in-house teams may have the right experience or the time to gain expertise on the RAD software development model.

How can your organization make the most of RAD development in 2023?

Compared to traditional models, RAD requires a proficient team and a great customer rapport for success with its projects. To ensure that your organization is making the most out of the RAD software development model, here are some best practices to consider,

  1. Ensure that the project risk is less and that it isn't feature-packed. RAD may not be the best fit for all projects and works best with specific projects. With low-risk projects that are less on features, feedback reception and iteration are helpful.

  2. Have the right talent on board. The RAD model works best when the right team, software, insights, and tools are present.

  3. Make sure that the feedback is holistic and covers smaller details, early and often in the prototype stage.

  4. Align your budget such that it funds the team, and the project requirements

  5. A good rapport between the team and the customers who provide feedback is necessary. Make sure the team is receptive and is willing to work on feedback, along with providing faster changes and iterations.

Is the Rapid Application Development model something your team should go for?

Since the inception of RAD by IBM in the 1980s, it has come a long way to become a popular form of software development. Based on your project requirements, the right clients, and the budget, it's better to assess if RAD works for your organization rather than blindly adopting the model. If your project thrives on prototyping natures, reusable components, and customer feedback and requires a fast development cycle, RAD software methodology may just be the best fit.

Looking to learn more about Rapid Application Development prior to switching? Reach out to us at Toobler for a chat on how RAD can best help your team!