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Understanding the Phases of Rapid Application Development (RAD)

Team Kissflow

Updated on 5 Apr 2024 5 min read


There’s an ever-growing need for enterprise-ready applications which has fueled innovation in the realm of app development. Businesses now rely on apps to streamline core processes, centralize operations, offer customer support, build operational agility, and gain access to actionable insights. Needless to say, not producing apps on time can give your competitors an edge. For CIOs, the imperative to deliver enterprise-ready applications swiftly and efficiently is not just a strategic advantage—it's a mandate.

To deploy apps in the least possible time, many companies now use Rapid Application Development (RAD). RAD helps developers build higher-quality products faster through early prototyping and iterative design testing. They develop IT solutions faster using pre-built widgets, templates, and components. This accelerates the development of new software allowing developers to build apps and modify them without affecting business operations. Today, we’ll be looking at the phases of Rapid Application Development as well as the benefits of RAD.

Why is RAD so popular in low code industry?

Every company wants to sell more, improve corporate efficiency, and maximize revenue-generating opportunities. But many companies are competing for the same consumers, and the only way to succeed is through differentiation. Companies that deliver tech solutions early become disruptive players. Every organization that wants to become more agile and profitable must embrace this technological shift.

The worldwide market for Rapid Application Development is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42.8% from 2022 to 2027

With the RAD methodology, developers can significantly reduce app delivery time. They don’t have to wait for a complete app to test functions. They can use prototypes to conduct tests and leverage user feedback to change the core features.

The five phases of Rapid Application Development (RAD)


The five rapid application development (RAD) phases include

  1. Business modeling

  2. Data modeling

  3. Process modeling

  4. Application generation
  5. Testing and turnover

Developers can add new features and functionalities to the application at any given time.

RAD also gets rid of the planning phase in favour of prioritizing speed. Software becomes ready for use in a shorter period. Multiple testing ensures that each application fully meets the users’ needs. These are the five RAD phases:

Phase 1: Business modelling

At this stage, information flow between different business functions is defined by answering the following questions:

  • What data drives the business process?
  • Who generates the data?
  • Where does the information go?
  • Who processes it?

Information is gathered through many business-related sources. This information is combined to create a useful description of how the data will be used when it is processed.

Phase 2: Data modeling

The information gathered during the Business Modeling phase is analyzed and categorized into different groups (data objects) that are needed to support the business. The attributes of each group are identified, and the relationship between them is defined.

Phase 3: Process modeling

Process modeling is the third phase of the RAD methodology. Here, all the information groups from the Data Modeling stage are converted into usable data models. These models help extract information from the data objects for making the changes required for proper processing and are responsible for executing business functions. At this stage, changes and optimization in development can be done to increase value and quality.

Phase 4: Application generation

Here, all the data gathered is coded, and the system that will be used to build the prototype is developed. The data models become actual prototypes that can be tested. Automated tools are used to speed up construction of the software.

Phase 5: Testing and turnover

This RAD methodology phase ensures less time is spent testing the prototypes created. Every prototype is tested separately to modify the components quickly and to create the best product. The overall testing time is reduced since many of the programming components have already been tested.

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The business benefits of RAD

1. Reduced development time

RAD increases app development speed. Developers divide an entire project into modules that are treated as different prototypes. They test the prototypes separately and then combine them to build the software. This ensures faster delivery of the software and reduces the number of bugs.

Most companies make more apps by using rapid prototyping. Developers use automation tools like CASE (computer-aided software engineering) technology and already written code. They don’t spend lots of time manually coding everything. RAD tools help reduce app delivery time and increase developers’ efficiency.

2. App customization is easy

Rapid application development focuses on developing applications rapidly through frequent iterations and continuous feedback. Developers create functionally independent components that make up the final application. And because each component is separate, it can be modified to meet the changing needs of the software. This improves app quality, lowers costs, and decreases application development lifecycles.

3. Better code generation

RAD tools have code generators and allow for code reuse, so there’s less manual coding. They reduce the coding and scripting time and deliverables are transferred as scripts. Working prototypes and working code are produced quickly for iterative example illustration. The process takes days instead of weeks or even months.

Citizen developers can utilize a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model and containers for RAD and work faster and smarter while decreasing infrastructure and server needs for cloud development environments. Containers are lightweight, executable units of software that hold application code and dependencies such as libraries, binary code, and configuration files for swift deployment across different computing environments.

4. Early system integration

Most JAD applications are integrated with other systems or services at the end of the development lifecycle. Rapidly developed applications are integrated almost immediately. Due to this, developers quickly identify any errors or complications within integrations and resolve them immediately. They can quickly address code vulnerabilities and reduce project costs.

5. Quick user feedback

It’s not just the development team that’s involved in app-building. Other internal teams and stakeholders must sign off on the project and constantly monitor its progress. But most business leaders aren’t tech-savvy and work in different departments with varying needs. That’s why user feedback is so important.

User feedback is vital to successful development lifecycles. RAD methodologies allow for continuous feedback throughout the development process, so developers get the feedback they need from end users. They incorporate it into later iterations and improve the final application. Everyone gets the access they need to monitor progress. RAD framework ensures better risk management as stakeholders discuss code vulnerabilities as development goes on.

When to use RAD in app development

  • For projects with clear modularization—projects that can be broken into modules. RAD model works best for applications that can be modularized and delivered incrementally.
  • When app designers are available for modeling. RAD is also ideal if domain experts with relevant business knowledge are available.
  • For unstructured projects. RAD follows an iterative and adaptive approach instead of a long planning, development, and testing cycle. RAD platform allows companies to deliver working applications quickly in a competitive software market. Requirements can change during the project and working prototypes are presented in small iterations.
  • For reliable prototype testing. If you have users who can give reliable feedback on prototypes, use the RAD method. You can build great prototypes based on feedback from previous iterations.
  • As a philosophy. When a company has a tight deadline to meet or has to deliver software that works quickly, RAD is the go-to development model. It saves a lot of time that would be spent on the planning and design phases.

Rapid Application Development is here to stay

App development isn’t easy. Developers spend a lot of time and energy putting together bug-free applications. RAD technology makes the process simple. It provides faster software delivery and helps projects stay on budget.

 Kissflow is a low-code platform that lets anyone develop their automated process in minutes instead of days or weeks. A single person can use Kissflow to work on developing an application.
This is rapid application development taken to a new level–making applications as quickly as possible and can be used instantly by the entire company.  With RAD, companies can deliver software before the competition to address changing market needs.

If you would like to learn more about how you can leverage no-code platform to expedite app delivery, check out this eBook: https://kissflow.com/ebooks/ultimate-buyers-guide-to-no-code

The fastest way to create high-value apps