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.