Rapid Application Development Model

Rapid Application Development (RAD) Model : An Ultimate Guide For App Developers in 2022

05.09.20211 min read

Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a development model that prioritizes rapid prototyping and quick feedback over long drawn out development and testing cycles. With rapid application development, developers can make multiple iterations and updates to a software quickly without starting from scratch each time. This helps ensure that the final outcome is more quality-focused and is in alignment with the end-users’ requirements.

“One of the major advantages of rapid application development is that you can change the design, add functionality, and keep reiterating as frequently as possible without having to start from scratch each time.

What is Rapid Application Development (RAD) mean?

A major challenge with the waterfall model is that once the product moves into the testing phase, the tester cannot go back to reiterate and make changes to the core functions and features. This essentially leaves teams with a software that may or may not fit the end-users’ evolving requirements.



Rapid Application Development (RAD) was conceived in the 1980s, so it’s definitely not something new. But unlike the waterfall model, it’s not singular. It’s a continuous evolution of development philosophies according to the requirement at that particular time.

Initially, Barry Boehm, James Martin, and a number of others saw that software was not limited to traditional methods of engineering. It wasn’t a singular resource that required a fixed structure. It was malleable to suit the needs of the user.

Initially, rapid application development took the shape of the Spiral model [2]
, where one or more development models were used to work on a particular project.

Over time, rapid application development changed. It molded itself to fit the requirements of the time while retaining some core development guidelines.

The waterfall model doesn’t cut it anymore! See why developers are being forced to look at a RAD Model
Don’t know how to code? You can still build apps without depending on IT.

Steps in Rapid Application Development

Here are the four basic steps of RAD:

1. Define the Requirements

At the very beginning, rapid application development sets itself apart from traditional software development models. It doesn’t require you to sit with end users and get a detailed list of specifications; instead, it asks for a broad requirement. The broad nature of the requirements helps you take the time to segment specific requirements at different points of the development cycle.

2. Prototype

This is where the actual development takes place. Instead of following a rigid set of requirements, developers create prototypes with different features and functions as fast as they can. These prototypes are then shown to the clients who decide what they like and what they don’t.

More often than not, these prototypes are quickly made to work to showcase just the key features. This is normal, and the final product is only created during the finalization stage where the client and developer are in alignment with the final product.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Rapid Application Development (RAD) Model

With these steps, it can seem like application development’s a great idea for all projects, but that’s a stretch. RAD software is great for small teams and quick projects. But it’s not a solution to everything. Here are a few advantages and disadvantages to using rapid application development.

Advantages of RAD Model

Disadvantages of RAD Model

Requirements can be changed at any time Needs strong team collaboration
Encourages and priorities customer feedback Cannot work with large teams
Reviews are quick Needs highly skilled developers
Development time is drastically reduced Needs user requirement throughout the life cycle of the product
More productivity with fewer people Only suitable for projects which have a small development time
Time between prototypes and iterations is short More complex to manage when compared to other models
Integration isn’t a problem, since it integrates from project inception Only systems which can be modularised can be developed using Rapid application development.


Don’t know how to code? You can still build apps without depending on IT.

Rapid Application Development vs Other  Software Development Models

When compared to other software development models, rapid application development varies by a considerable amount. Obviously, the major difference is how rapid application development focuses on speed, when compared to other models which usually focus on bringing a working product to the customer.

Another thing to note here is that rapid application development prefers having a single team without too many members. This allows for fast communication with quick meetings for quick information transfer. Other development models such as the waterfall model prefer having larger teams divided into different specializations.

Since RAD framework is focused on speed, the development time here is less than that of other models. But the difference is usually small, since rapid application development prefers to churn out a lot of prototypes before the finalized product.

Rapid application development is also heavily focused on keeping the end user involved throughout the entire stage of the development process. Other models usually only have user input at the beginning and the end of the development cycle.

When can You Use Rapid Application Development Methodology?

1. When You can Reliably Test Your Prototypes

If you’ve got a pool of users who can give consistent and reliable feedback on the prototypes you make, then rapid application development is a great model to follow. Prototypes built through the rapid application development model depend on the feedback from previous iterations, so reliable feedback from dependable sources can be immensely helpful.

2. When You’ve Got the Budget

Compared to other development models, rapid application development is relatively inexpensive, but there are some instances where RAD can be expensive. Hiring talented staff means you’ll need to give them appropriate salaries. The bright side is, if you’ve got the staff, you can get the idea from concept to end product a lot quicker than other models.

3. When You Need a Project Done Quickly

If you’ve got a tight deadline, rapid application development is a best bet. If you’re under pressure to deliver something that works, then opting for a RAD platform can be the best choice. If you don’t have the time to go through a long requirement planning and design phase, then rapid application development software is your best bet. Rapid application development takes an on-the-fly approach, which makes sense for quick development which can change direction on a dime.

An Example Rapid Application Development Case Study - Centric Consulting

Rapid application development is particularly useful for small businesses that need software done quickly, whilst having a lot of input during the development process.

Centric Consulting, a developer familiar with rapid application development and agile development methodologies, had a client[3]
come to them with a requirement for a software that would interface with their customers, one of which had over 35,000 employees, for procurement, invoicing, and payment.

Centric Consulting was able to use agile and rapid application development methodologies to quickly understand what the client needed, speed up the development process using Ruby on Rails, and keep costs low using open source infrastructure.

Throughout the development process, the customer was able to provide input as to what functionalities were required. All those functionalities were rapidly added as and when they were demanded, and ultimately, the product was delivered to the client.

In the end, Centric Consulting not only met the demands of their client, but was also able to meet their needs and grow their business.

Kissflow - Best RAD Application Development Platform 

There isn’t a doubt that using rapid application development tools is the best way to develop software. While it still remains the champion, a lot has changed in 20 years.

Kissflow is an example of the next generation of rapid application development. It is a no-code platform that lets anyone develop their own automated process in a matter of minutes instead of days or weeks. Kissflow can be used by a single person to work on developing an application.

This is rapid application development taken to a new level–making applications as quickly as possible that are ready-to-use instantly by the entire company.

With visual interface tools to create models quickly and easily, pre-built modules where you don’t have to do the heavy lifting, and drag-and-drop coding to provide a means of customization to those that don’t have the proper coding knowledge, Kissflow is designed keeping in mind that companies want tools that make their lives easier.