What is the rapid application development methodology?

The Rapid Application Development methodology was introduced in 1991 by James Martin. It is a software development strategy that aims to increase the efficiency and speed of projects without compromising quality. In comparison to something like the Waterfall Model, it is flexible and adaptive in nature, allowing consistent growth and progress throughout development iterations. 

In a thriving software market, Rapid Application Development (RAD) can be the answer to many problems. With such high levels of competition and user demand, products are needed on the market with a faster turnaround than ever. People want the products and they want them quickly. Anything too slow or methodical simply won’t cut it in the 2022 tech market. 

As a result, RAD is something that is gaining more traction amongst software development companies. The need for speed is there and RAD can offer that speed. 

In this blog, we are going to talk you through the methodology, how it works, and why it has such a positive impact on many software development teams and the clients they work for. 

Let’s get started.

What does RAD mean?

The Rapid Application Development methodology comes under the Agile approach to project management in software development. It is a concept that prioritises rapid development via repeated iterations and continuous feedback cycles. 

The overall agenda behind RAD is to reduce the turnover time in a project. In our fast-paced market, clients want a much shorter product journey that results in a working product hitting the shelves quickly. 

This speed is attained by significantly cutting down the planning process in a typical development life cycle, prioritising collaborative design between the client and developers, and engaging in rapid construction made possible by prototyping. This process can be split into four steps or stages, which we will outline below.

The four stages of the rapid application development model

RAD is a cyclical, iterative approach to software development that includes the following four stages:

1. Establishing needs and outlining requirements

One of the main differences between a Rapid Application Development Model and other approaches to development is the decreased emphasis on planning. Many other development projects will have a long planning period in which they create detailed sprint projections and plans for the work ahead. 

RAD, on the other hand, streamlines this process and cuts the planning down to establishing needs, outlining requirements, and then moving more quickly into the design and prototyping stage.

The most critical tasks in this first stage of RAD will be knowing exactly what problem this new product seeks to solve, what market it is entering into, what client expectations are, and what external stakeholders think. With the basics tied down, a development team using a RAD approach will want to prioritise their time expenditure in the following stage. 

2. User design and prototyping

User design and prototyping are the stars of the show in Rapid Application Development. The integral concept of this model is that clients and developers work hand-in-hand to develop a product they are both involved with. There is a big emphasis on continuous feedback and improvement cycles, as the development team work on getting closer and closer to the ideal final product. 

Prototyping is an essential task in this stage. Prototypes will be developed quickly by the development team so they can be tested and resubmitted for further improvement and finetuning. The overall goal is to improve the product quickly as each iteration flows through the design, prototyping and testing steps. 

The aim is to work quickly but with a solution-oriented purpose. 

3. Rapid construction

The rapid construction phase is one in which prior feedback and testing will be used to assist in building the final product. Prototyping will continue and eventually, these prototypes will turn into working models. 

The emphasis on feedback and client participation will continue here as the tandem process continues. 

Iterations of testing and feedback will continue until everyone on both sides of the team is satisfied with what has been created. While there will be goals and deadlines within this process, it is thought to be generally a more flexible approach than that of a project using the Waterfall model. Stages can be revisited and deadlines mutually agreed upon so that the priority remains on finalising a high-quality product. 

4. Finalisation and transition

Once the working model of the desired product is completed, it will be finalised and launched by the development team. This can include a process of integrating the new software into any pre-existing platforms and helping with user learning. 

Bugs may still arise in this stage and so testing can always be revisited and maintained even in the finalisation and transition period. 

The fluid process reaches the end goal in a sustainable and practicable way, allowing flux and change throughout the project. Ultimately, a great product is collaboratively made which brings satisfaction and serves a purpose for the client in question. 

The benefits of a rapid development methodology in software development 

The Rapid Development Methodology is used widely by software developers for good reason. The model has a lot of advantages to bring to a project and its clients. Some benefits of the model are as follows:

Flexibility and adaptability 

The flexible nature of the model allows developers to do their best work without rigidity. They are able to flow between states of design, testing, and prototyping in order to build the best possible end result. Without rigid deadlines and sprints, too, the working process is much more manageable. 

Shorter project time

The main aim of RAD methodologies is to shorten the project time for the client and the development team. Having a shorter project for a software development company means that they can move on to a new project faster and ultimately turn over more profit in a year. For clients, shorter project times mean they can launch their system more quickly and reach their business needs in a more efficient way. Efficiency and productivity are increased for both sides with Rapid Application Development.

Accurate meeting of requirements

As this working model is so collaborative between developer and client, it leads to a much more accurate meeting of client requirements. They are able to provide consistent feedback throughout the project and so their voice is much more easily heard. Having a product that more accurately meets client requirements is a massive bonus for client satisfaction. Everyone is happier when the job is done well and as outlined.

Easier integration after project completion

Another bonus point for the high levels of client collaboration is that the resulting software will be easier to integrate and use upon completion. Seeing into a software development project life cycle will help the client understand all that has gone into the creation of their new app, site, bespoke software, Saas, or whatever else has been constricted. The benefit brought to the client extends beyond the delivery of the final product in this way, as the software can be taken with them and integrated with ease.

Better end results for both clients and users

Ultimately, RAD provides better end results for both the clients and the product users. The end product has been carefully, collaboratively, and expertly designed in a process that ensures satisfaction for everyone involved. 

And those results come quickly too.

What more could you ask for in software development?

Finding the expert team who can handle your RAD project 


At 6B Digital, we are masters of RAD and prototyping. Our team of experienced and valuable software developers are able to skillfully work together to make your project come to life quicker than ever. 



We work quickly, efficiently, and always with your needs in mind. As a software development company at the top of our game, we can deliver the final product you have been envisioning in a way that exceeds expectations. 


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