A Simple Guide to Rapid Application Development

7 Oct, 2022 | Read in 5 minutes

The goal of this guide is to provide a quick and easy introduction to the Rapid Application Development (RAD) methodology.


Rapid Application Development (RAD) may be familiar to application developers and related positions or maybe to your companies.

While it saves time, this method allows the development team to involve the clients to maintain quality.

What is Rapid Application Development (RAD)?

Adapted from Codebots, a process known as Rapid Application Development (RAD) aims to create apps rapidly using frequent iterations and continuous feedback. The demand for new applications is growing as a result of the fiercer competition in the software market, which puts pressure on the IT sector to provide working products more quickly. As a result, RAD is becoming essential.

James Martin, a technology consultant, and author developed the RAD framework in 1991 after realising and using software's limitless malleability to create development models. RAD was a precursor of Agile Project Management and gained popularity among agile companies seeking tools to keep up with their expanding client and business needs.

RAD depends on user feedback rather than rigid planning, focusing on rapid prototyping, release cycles, and iterations over costly preparation.

Traditional software development methodologies, such as Waterfall, stick to rigid process models and put pressure on clients to approve requirements prior to the commencement of a project. The update procedure for new needs and feasibility adjustments is complicated because customers frequently don't see a working build for several months.

By emphasising the early and continuous delivery of meaningful, functional software, RAD reduces the difficulties seen in traditional software development techniques.

Even late in the development process, RAD accepts changing requirements to track progress, solve problems and boost effectiveness, all parties engage in regular, real-time communication. The risk of non-conformance with user requirements is decreased by actively including the client throughout the development cycle, which also saves time and money.

The phases of RAD

The fundamental concept behind this method is to reduce planning in favour of a highly iterative design and construction process. This allows teams to complete more work in less time without compromising customer satisfaction. Until the product owner and users are happy that the prototype and build meet the project requirements, the prototyping and rapid construction phases may be repeated.

Photo by Codebots

1. Project requirements planning

Similar to how project scoping would be completed in conventional development cycles, the RAD cycle starts with stakeholders determining a broad set of project requirements. This planning phase is crucial to the project's eventual success which emphasises prototype iterations more importance.

All partners, clients, software users, and teams communicate to establish the project's needs and plans for dealing with any problems that could crop up while the project is being developed. Goals, expectations, schedules, and budgets are examples of requirements in this phase.

The client offers a vision for the product, and the analysis is based on input from other participants in order to complete the requirements. Getting all stakeholders on the same page early in the development cycle helps teams prevent misunderstandings and costly errors.

Nevertheless, one of the fundamental principles of RAD is the flexibility to modify requirements at any stage of the development cycle.

2. Prototyping

The actual development happens here. Instead of strictly adhering to a set of specifications, developers work quickly to provide prototypes with a variety of features and functions. The clients are then shown these prototypes, and they are able to express their preferences.

These prototypes are frequently quickly created to function in order to highlight only the most important characteristics. This is common since the final product is only developed when the client and the developer are on the same page regarding the final result, or during the finalisation stage.

3. Feedback gathering

Application coding, system testing, and unit integration take place during rapid construction, transforming prototype and beta systems into a functional model. This phase may be repeated as necessary to accommodate additions and modifications. Teams typically use low-code or RAD tools to advance the product quickly.

Developers may create a final working model more quickly than they might use a conventional development strategy because the majority of user issues and client changes are addressed during the iterative prototyping phase.

This phase involves extensive testing of software and apps to ensure the final product meets the goals and expectations of the client. Developers collaborate with clients and end users to gather input on the product's functionality and interface and to enhance all parts of it.

Clients provide feedback during this phase, offering adjustments, modifications, or fresh concepts to solve issues.

4. Product Implementation

In the last phase of RAD, developers pay off the technical debt accumulated during early prototyping and optimise implementation to increase stability and maintainability as they prepare the product for launch. Components are transferred to an actual production setting where a comprehensive test is performed to find product bugs.

During the implementation phase, development teams transfer components to an actual production setting so that any necessary extensive testing or training will be performed. Before confidently providing the client with a finished product, teams develop extensive documentation and do other essential maintenance tasks.

The Advantages of Rapid Application Development

1. Faster speed

Rapid iterations are substantially effective on development time, giving clients a product faster.

2. Cost saving

Instead of developing features that might be dropped from the finished product, RAD development is concentrated on specific client requirements. It saves effort and costs.

3. High-quality product

Because of continuous feedback, engineers are able to handle and address any problems quickly while maintaining a high-quality product.

The Disadvantages of Rapid Application Development

1. Scalability issue

RAD can be challenging, particularly when working with a large team as this frequently necessitates numerous meetings with stakeholders in order to obtain input. Inter-team communication can slow down the process, but a small team can easily sync with each other.

2. High-skilled developers needed

A strong skill set of developers and designers is needed for the RAD technique.

3. Lack of feedback

Since RAD depends on user feedback, a poor final product may arise from a lack of it or from users' incapacity to regularly work on the project.


If your companies need to create and release products quickly, Rapid Application Development can be quite helpful in product management. It is also excellent for producing high-quality apps that save costs.

Before beginning development, your company must first analyse its demands because RAD is not always the best option for a specific product. Moreover, if you want to fully utilise the Rapid Application Development model, you must first research and confirm the resources you have.

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