RAD | Rapid Application Development Model | What is it?

what is rad rapid application development model.
What is RAD

First proposed by IBM in the 1980s, the Rapid Application Development model is one of the popular SDLC models. Also known as the RAD model, the software development model emphasizes speed and flexibility over thorough initial planning.

The RAD model has a very short development time span. Generally, projects developed with the RAD Model have a delivery time of 60 to 90 days.

One of the most important highlights of the Rapid Application Development model is the support for powerful development tools, such as C++, Java, Visual Basic, and XML, as well as its proprietary techniques.

What is RAD?

Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a development model that prioritizes rapid prototyping and rapid feedback during extended development and testing cycles. With rapid application development, developers can make multiple iterations and software updates quickly without the need to start a development schedule from scratch every time.

Rapid Application Development (RAD) was created in the 1980s, so this is definitely not something new. But unlike the waterfall model, it is not singular. This is the evolution of the philosophy of sustainable development according to the needs of a particular time.

What is the RAD Model?

Any software development project that can be divided into smaller modules, which can be assigned independently to different teams can be developed using the RAD Model. All these various modules are ultimately combined to get the final product.

The development of each software development project module using the RAD model follows the basic steps of the waterfall model. This includes analyzing, designing, coding, testing, implementation, and maintenance.

The Rapid Application Development model prioritizes rapid prototyping and rapid feedback of extended test and development cycles.

RAD developers are allowed to make multiple iterations and updates to the project under development without starting the development schedule from scratch every time.

RAD began when software developers began to realize that the traditional waterfall model was not very effective. The waterfall model is not able to accommodate software development projects with evolving requirements.

The main drawback of the waterfall model is that once the software development process reaches the testing stage, it is almost impossible to change the core functionality and features offered by the software being developed.

Although the RAD model emerged in the 1980s, it has continued to evolve since then. This is in stark contrast to the waterfall model, which is the same as it is today in its emergence.

RAD Model Stages

The RAD Model process involves building a prototype and then sending it to the customer for feedback. This feedback is then taken and changes made to the prototype before sending it back to the customer.

This process is repeated until validation is done by the customer. After that, the SRS document was developed and the design was finalized. The final product is then built around this final design.

There are 4 distinct phases of the Rapid Application Development model. These are requirements planning, user description, construction, and cutover. Each is described as follows:

1. Requirements Planning

This is the first phase of the Rapid Application Development model. This involves procuring the requirements of a software project under development. This is what distinguishes the RAD model from other software development models.

Unlike other software development models, the first phase of the RAD model calls for broad requirements. This broad nature of requirements allows for the provision of specific requirements to the project during various points of the development cycle.

For requirements acquisition, various techniques are used, including brainstorming, FAST (Facilitated Application Development Technique), form analysis, task analysis, and user scenarios.

The Requirements Planning phase also includes a complete structured plan. It explains:

  • Important data
  • Method to get important data
  • Critical data processing procedures to form the final model

2. User Description (User Description / User Design)

The second phase of the Rapid Application Development model is the user description. This involves taking user feedback and then building several prototype projects under development using developer tools.

Instead of working with a strict set of requirements, RAD developers create a number of prototypes with different features and functions. All these prototypes are then reviewed by the client to decide what to throw away.

The user description phase includes re-examination and validation of the data collected during the first phase. This phase also includes the identification and description of dataset attributes.

3. Construction (Construction)

The construction stage includes the refinement of the prototype developed in the previous stage. It also includes the use of powerful automated tools to transform process and data models into final operational products.

All improvements and modifications collected were applied during this third phase of the RAD Model. Feedback about what is good, what is bad, what is kept, and what should be deleted, is given in this phase.

The feedback given during the construction phase is not limited to functionality, but also includes aesthetics, interfaces, etc. The prototype is then continued with all the feedback received considered.

Prototyping and feedback continue until the final product that matches the client's requirements is developed in the most suitable way.

4. Cutover

The final phase includes finalizing the aesthetics, features, functions, interfaces, and everything else related to the software project. Interfaces between various independent modules require proper testing. This is done in the cutover phase.

To do the above, powerful automated tools are used. This is followed by acceptance testing by the customer. Ensuring the desired level of maintainability, stability, and usability of the developed software is mandatory before shipping the final product to the client.

RAD Vs Other Software Development Models

The Rapid Application Development model is very different when compared to other software development models. The RAD model focuses on speed, while most other software development models emphasize delivering a working product to the customer.

Compared to other software development methodologies, the RAD team consists of fewer members. Hence, communication becomes clear and fast. Since the RAD Model aims for speed, the development time is less when compared to other Models.

Most software development models have user input only at the beginning and at the end of the development cycle. However, the RAD model keeps the client engaged throughout the entire software development process.

Advantages of RAD

  • As fewer developers are needed, the overall cost of the project is much less
  • Customer feedback is available during the early stages
  • Due to the shorter iteration time span, it is easier to accommodate frequent changes in requirements
  • It is easy to measure the progress and progress of a software project through various stages
  • Total software project time under development is significantly reduced due to the use of reusable components
  • The use of powerful development tools ensures better product quality

Disadvantages of RAD

  • The absence of reusable components increases the probability of project failure
  • Customer engagement is mandatory throughout the entire life cycle
  • More complicated to manage when compared to other software development models
  • Projects that are not capable of modularization cannot be developed using this software development model
  • The cost of using powerful automated tools and techniques may exceed the project budget for smaller projects. Therefore, the software development model is not suitable for small-scale projects
  • Team leaders need to work well with developers as well as customers to meet deadlines
  • Using effective and powerful tools is necessary for highly skilled professionals


So what is RAD? Rapid application development (RAD) is a methodology that focuses on developing applications quickly through frequent iterations and continuous feedback.

The Rapid Application Development model is one of the best software development models available today. Due to its constantly evolving nature, it is able to survive for a long time.

Like other SDLC models, the RAD model has its own advantages and disadvantages. Outlining all the requirements of a software development project allows selecting the best SDLC approach. However, that's where the RAD model really shines.

You don't need to be completely sure of all your needs when starting with the RAD Model. Software development methodologies help in identifying requirements in addition to the software development process.

Hopefully, this article about What is RAD (Rapid Application Development Model) gives you a little insight. Also, read an article about What is Ray Tracing And How Does it Work that you may need to know. Thank you.

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