Rapid Application Development: Impact on Business Management
Definition of Rapid Application Development
Rapid application development (RAD) is an adaptive software development method; a methodical project approach to developing software. When compared to the traditional waterfall approach, RAD approaches to software development put less emphasis on planning and more emphasis on speed and an adaptive process. It encourages a flexible approach, allowing managers to prioritize user feedback and quickly deliver solutions that meet customers' expectations.
RAD also emphasizes iterative development, collaboration, and quick prototyping and in doing so enables managers to reduce costs, and adapt to changing business requirements more quickly.
In short, RAD is a concept aimed at enabling organizations to develop software systems faster, more flexibly and of better quality.
Note that "Rapid Application Development" is both a general term for adaptive, agile
software development approaches, and the name for James Martin's original method of rapid development.
Elements of RAD
The main elements of RAD are:
- Gathering requirements through workshops or focus groups
- Prototyping and early repeated user testing of models
- The reuse of software components
- Rapid development by deferring design improvements to the next version
- Less formality in reports and other team communication
History of Rapid Application Development
RAD is an answer to the inflexible processes developed in the 1970s, such as the waterfall method
. The problem with previous methodologies was that building applications took so long that the requirements changed before it was developed. This resulted in unusable applications. Based on ideas by Barry Boehm, Scott Shultz and James Martin, RAD was developed in the 1980s at IBM.
Benefits of Rapid Application Development. Advantages
- Accelerated Project Delivery
RAD enables managers to complete projects faster by condensing the development lifecycle. Through early customer involvement, RAD eliminates time-consuming bottlenecks and facilitates quicker decision-making.
- Enhanced Adaptability
It also empowers managers to be quick in responding to market trends and customer demands. The iterative nature of RAD allows for continuous feedback and adjustments, ensuring projects remain aligned with evolving business needs.
- Improved Stakeholder Engagement
Constantly seeking feedback from clients improves engagement between the firm and the clients. Thus, managers can ensure that the end product meets stakeholder expectations, resulting in higher satisfaction levels.
- Cost and Risk Reduction
Risks associated with traditional approaches are reduced as potential issues are identified early. Through prototypes and regular reviews, managers can address concerns promptly, reducing costly rework and increasing project success rates.
Drawbacks of Rapid Application Development. Pitfalls
- Dependency on Stakeholder Availability
This concept requires active involvement from the customers throughout the development process. If customers are unavailable or lack time to give feedback, it may hinder progress and impact project timelines.
- Potential for Scope Creep
Since it can be changed as the project progresses, there is a risk of scope creep, where additional requirements are introduced during the development cycle. Hence managers will have to establish boundaries and prioritize features to prevent project delays and excessive resource allocation.
- Limited Applicability to Complex Projects
It is claimed that Random Application Development is mainly effective for smaller or less complex projects implying that its suitability decreases for larger or more complex projects. Therefore, managers must carefully assess project complexity and consider alternative methodologies when dealing with highly complex systems.
Applicability of Rapid Application Development Outside IT
Apart from being used in software development, Rapid Application Development can also be utilised by mangers in other sectors of the business which include marketing campaigns, product launches, and process improvement initiatives. Its flexibility and emphasis on collaboration make it a valuable tool for managers seeking to enhance efficiency and adaptability in their projects.
Martin, J. (1991). Rapid Application Development. United States: Macmillan Publishing Company.
Yen, D. C. (2019). The Information System Consultant's Handbook: Systems Analysis and Design. United States: CRC Press.
Senthilvel, G., Khan, O. M. A., Qureshi, H. A. (2017). Enterprise Application Architecture with .NET Core. United Kingdom: Packt Publishing.