November 12th, 2018 • RAD
When it comes to IT, enterprises and SMBs are worlds apart, right? Different budgets, different needs, different capabilities…
But when you look closer, most IT responsibilities are the same, not matter the size of the organization. As soon as work gets too big to manage manually, you have to turn to automation, which handles scaling to 100 nearly as easily as scaling to 10,000.
But what about software development? Heavy-duty models that focus on long planning, development, and testing cycles have dominated the industry for ages. These models usually focus on an unchangeable development cycle that results in software that is detailed, complex, and free of any unwanted errors.
Waterfall development methods work for large-scale projects, but they present serious limitations when you need apps quickly. When there’s a need to develop software quickly to react to shifting trends, traditional models simply aren’t quick enough.
Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a software development model that focuses more on quick iterations and feedback over deliberate steps performed in the back development room. Here, the faster development speed ensures the product is brought to the end user quicker.
When following the RAD process, developers quickly create a working prototype of one module of a software application. They get feedback and make the changes on that single module as fast as possible. Then, they move on to the next module and continue to build small, working parts that are put together in the end.
The key advantage in rapid application development is that the end user is giving lots of feedback along the way, rather than only at major milestones.
Rapid application development is a great way to build applications, but that doesn’t mean it is the right solution every time. Here are some scenarios when rapid development really shines.
Does rapid application development work better for SMB’s or enterprises? Is it more for the agile, lean, quick team, or for the large, well-staffed group with dozens of quick applications to build every quarter?
You can make a good case for both. The high budget requirement and skilled developer requirement paints a picture where RAD is suitable for enterprises. But the small team and project size makes it seem as though RAD is perfect for SMBs.
For SMBs, RAD provides the speed, agility, and flexibility you need to react to shifting trends. For startups and growing businesses, the speed at which you can hop onto a trend can decide the success of your business.
For enterprises, the RAD model makes sense in projects where the organization can dedicate entire teams for development. Enterprises can afford to hire skilled developers with heavy salary requirements. RAD’s prototypes succeed because of the direct feedback from a pool of users to receive reliable feedback from.
In the end, the size of the organization doesn’t really matter. Rather, it’s the type of application that needs to be built, that decides whether it is a good candidate for the rapid development process.
Rapid application development in enterprises is often used in applications where speed is the primary requirement. Internal business process apps are needed to improve existing business operations or make work easier for staff. The RAD process is a prime choice here, since users are already available on demand, and receiving feedback on prototypes is easy.
With faster and more reliable feedback, rapid application development is a great choice, as each successive prototype can be more in-tune with the user’s demands. Quick business apps like vendor invoicing, sales orders, or timesheet software need to be delivered at great speed. Rapid development is a better choice than traditional models for these apps.
Enterprise IT teams usually have a long backlog of these types of applications, in addition to the major ones that require more planning. However, when these easy applications are developed with traditional methodologies, the end product might not match user expectations: all that time is lost. Development times double or triple, and the backlog keeps growing longer and longer.
In these situations, rapid application development is able to ensure that quick apps are developed quickly, and don’t take up unnecessary time.
For SMBs, their list of quick applications might be smaller than an enterprise, but that doesn’t mean that rapid application development is irrelevant for them.
The advantage of most SMBs is that they are agile and quick to move. So, when a new opportunity emerges, SMBs need to be able to jump at it.
When using rapid development principles, SMBs can be more in touch with the end user to make sure that the finished product is exactly what is required. IT teams in SMBs don’t have the luxury of spending a long time on a single project, especially if it is something small like an employee onboarding application.
With rapid application development, the developer can sit with the HR leader and immediately develop something close to what is required. Then, with quick and lean development models, new applications can perform exactly as needed.
As a development model, rapid development has proven itself capable of standing alongside industry long-timers like the waterfall model. There is still a place for old development models; slow and meticulous development does have its advantages. But the market cannot accommodate them exclusively anymore. Rapid development is here to stay, for both enterprises and SMBs.
If you’re looking for a rapid way to develop business process apps without errors, bugs, and long testing times, try Kissflow. The in-built app editor lets you create apps for business processes of any kind and complexity. The best part? You don’t even need to know how to code. Try Kissflow for free if you’re looking to crush the chaos in your company.