Advantage Description Speed In the traditional waterfall approach, developers were unlikely to go on vacation after delivering the product. Clients would invariably request changes ranging from interface to functionality after first delivery. With RAD, projects are more likely to finish on time and to the client’s satisfaction upon delivery.

In a rapid application environment, the frequent cycle of prototypes requires developers and clients to commit to frequent meetings that, on the outset, may appear to consume unnecessary cycles. Interface-Focus Rapid application development methodology motivates developers to find the perfect solution for the client. The client judges the quality of the solution by what they can interact with—and often, all they interact with is a facade.

Suppose you suspect that the requirements can change during the development phase. In that case, the RAD model will provide enough flexibility to accommodate the change. The developers have to foresee the client’s requirements and spend more time understanding the needs to eliminate too many development iterations. The development moves to the next stage only when the client approves of the prototypes.

The traditional SDLC follows a rigid process models with high emphasis on requirement analysis and gathering before the coding starts. It puts pressure on the customer to sign off the requirements before the project starts and the customer doesn’t get the feel of the product as there is no working build available for a long time. These practitioners, and those like them, helped RAD gain popularity as an alternative to traditional systems project life cycle approaches.

Cost In rapid application development, developers build the exact systems the client requires, and nothing more. In waterfall, IT risks building and fleshing out complex feature sets that the client may choose to gut from the final product. The time spent building zombie features can never be recovered, and that means the budget spent on them is lost. Developer Satisfaction In the traditional waterfall approach, developers work in silos devoid of feedback and positive affirmation for a product well-made. And when they finally get the opportunity to present their work to the client, the client may not roll out the red carpet for them. Regardless of how proud developers are of their work, if the client isn’t satisfied, developers don’t receive the accolades they so desperately seek.


When a project expands beyond a single team or requires inter-team communication, the development cycle invariably slows and muddles the direction of the project. Simply put, it’s difficult to keep a large group of people on the same page when your story is constantly changing. Commitment In waterfall, the client spent most of their time apart from the development team after completing specifications. This allowed clients to focus on their primary tasks and developers to focus on building.

This can provide valuable information as to the feasibility of a design and can prevent the team from pursuing solutions that turn out to be too complex or time-consuming to implement. This benefit of finding problems earlier in the life-cycle rather than later was a key benefit of the RAD approach. RAD is a development model that prioritizes rapid prototyping and quick feedback over long drawn-out development and testing cycles. Rapid application development has four phases or components that constitute the overarching framework—requirement gathering, rapid prototyping, construction, and deployment.

What is Rapid Application Development (RAD)?

In this phase, the project team works together to identify the scope of the project and develop a plan for how it will be executed. This includes identifying the requirements for the software, designing the overall architecture, and creating a schedule. Despite its challenges, RAD remains a popular choice for many organizations due to its ability to deliver high-quality software quickly.

  • However, the data flow and the interfaces between all the components need to be thoroughly tested with complete test coverage.
  • It is important to distinguish between RAD as a general alternative to the waterfall model and RAD as the specific method created by Martin.
  • They can do all these without affecting the whole process while also dealing with changing requirements, as they happen, based on client/user feedback.
  • This contributes to ensuring that the final result is more quality-focused and is in sync with the needs of the end-users.
  • And instead of dealing with one or more sprints and a conception or discovery research phases that initially expand the project from two to four weeks, I get it all cut down to a day or two using the platform.
  • RAD SDLC model should be chosen only if resources with high business knowledge are available and there is a need to produce the system in a short span of time (2-3 months).

Cutover – All the interfaces between the independent modules developed by separate teams have to be tested properly. The use of powerfully automated tools and subparts makes testing easier. RAD model enables rapid delivery as it reduces the overall development time due to the reusability of the components and parallel development. RAD works well only if high skilled engineers are available and the customer is also committed to achieve the targeted prototype in the given time frame. The actual system is built and coding is done by using automation tools to convert process and data models into actual prototypes.

Disadvantages of RAD

Now it has become more mandatory to use RAD as seeing the growing numbers of businesses who want digitalization. Check out the top 15 low-code platforms to map your development journey. Therefore, only those products that can be successfully modularized can be developed using the RAD framework. The resultant system was widely accepted and became quite popular within the organization as it met all users’ requirements.

Accelerate the time to market by leveraging the power of rapid application development tools. He oversees product delivery and user adoption for early-stage startup clients and helps them ship products faster using no-code tools. The waterfall model focused on detailed planning at the beginning of each project and creating a well-laid out project roadmap. Rapid application development follows a continuous iteration process that enables developers to respond to customer feedback and requests during the development process. The Rapid Application Development framework enables software developers to develop and deploy quality apps and software quickly.

Maruti Techlabs has helped businesses from around the world achieve the rapid application development framework. RAD helps you reach a satisfactory final product faster by factoring in your client’s feedback at each stage of development. James Martin created the Rapid Application Development model to overcome the waterfall model’s pitfalls and make the software development process more adaptive. Having more time for crucial aspects of my work is very important nowadays.


Ensuring maintainability, usability, and stability are of key importance before delivering the final product. At the testing phase, the product is checked closely against all user requirements to make sure that it functions as demanded. Additionally, testing reviews all third-party integrations within the software as updates made in one area can affect others. If your project meets all these criteria, you should consider choosing the RAD model for software development. Suppose the client can commit to allocating the time needed to look over the prototype from time to time and provide feedback.

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In a case study published by Serengeti, an international company that deals in the logistics industry, Epilog, was able to cut two years from their development cycle. Their goal was to optimize the internal management and tracking software, and it was achieved faster by creating and scaling prototypes and approving each of them with the client. In RAD, though, teams working on separate components are not necessarily in sync. As mentioned above, the RAD model is based on prototyping and iterative development with no specific planning involved.

Construction – In this phase, refinement of the prototype and delivery takes place. It includes the actual use of powerful automated tools to transform process and data models into the final working product. All the required modifications and enhancements are too done in this definition of rapid application development phase. This can especially be an issue for methodologies such as Martin’s that focus so heavily on the user interface of the system. By focusing on the development of incremental units the chances for catastrophic failures that have dogged large waterfall projects is reduced.

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Both the software developers and the clients learn from the experience to make sure there is no potential for something to slip through the cracks. The developer designs a prototype, the client tests it, and then they come together to communicate on what worked and what didn’t. The model should be chosen when the budget permits the use of automated tools and techniques required.

Rapid application development, hence the name, is all about delivering a working build in a reduced amount of time, while the traditional approach cannot offer that luxury. RAD enables clients to implement changes and does not require extensive pre-planning for concepts that the client might not fully grasp. The Rapid Application Development model of software development emphasizes the User Design cycle of prototyping, testing, and refining. Where the waterfall method is planned and rigid, RAD is flexible and responsive to user input. At the start, application development separates itself from the conventional software development models. It does not require the developer to sit with end users to get a detailed list of specifications.

Main Phases in the RAD Model

The team of experts involved in the testing of the app prototype works together in a forward motion to get the best version of the prototype possible. The products in this category help teams craft interactive designs at impressive speeds. And some tools on this list, like Webflow, allow designers to export the completed design as a functional cross-browser prototype. However, exceptions exist for products we are able to simulate without placing anyone in harm’s way.

The Rapid Application Development Model is a development model that promotes rapid prototyping and immediate feedback over long, drawn-out development and testing cycles. This contributes to ensuring that the final result is more quality-focused and is in sync with the needs of the end-users. With most traditional software development methods, like waterfall, clients and development teams spend most of their time apart. The RAD model requires a frequent cycle of prototypes, and consequently, all stakeholders must be willing and able to commit to regular meetings to communicate and provide feedback frequently. Use of low-code and RAD development tools empower businesses and IT teams to effectively collaborate and deliver new, production-ready applications faster, by reducing time spent on manual coding. Skilled team members can quickly produce prototypes and working code that may otherwise take weeks or months.

RAD Increases Quality

RAD’s nature of easily and frequently obtaining relevant feedback from users who interact directly with applications during development and prototyping is invaluable. Regular communication and constant feedback increases overall efficiency and quality. The iterative design and access to UI/UX components of a system puts feedback at the forefront of the process. Traditionally, developers work in silos devoid of feedback, so receiving feedback can be inherently difficult, time consuming and costly, involving long meetings and phone calls. RAD increases customer satisfaction levels through a commitment to a high level of collaboration and coordination. Clients work hand-in-hand with developers, who have the opportunity to frequently present work, and gain confidence that they are on track with satisfying the client when the final product is delivered.