The Advantages and Disadvantages of the RAD Model

RAD model

Application development methodologies (Waterfall, RAD model, etc.) directly decide what your workflow will be, how you create your product, and the type of flexibility you have during the entire development process. 

Traditional methodologies such as Waterfall ensure that you stick to a rigid structure and only allow you to proceed to the next development phase after completing the previous one. RAD or Rapid Application Development  makes your workflow more collaborative and quicker. 

With the RAD model, you won’t have to rework from the start whenever you need to introduce a new feature or if your client rejects an update/version. 

Rapid Development was built as an efficient, quicker, and seamless way to create an app from the design phase to deployment. 

This piece will  help you understand what the RAD methodology is about and its advantages and disadvantages. This will help you make an informed choice on whether to use it in your application development process or not. 

Before we get started, let’s highlight the pros and cons of the RAD methodology.

RAD Advantages and Disadvantages 

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Cuts down on development time.It is dependent on a skilled team of developers/designers.
Facilitates customer feedback and the final product satisfies all stakeholders.It can only build modularized projects.
Allows for integration from the start.Cannot be used for cheap projects due to automated and modelling costs.
Fast initial reviews occur.Requires a strong team and individual performances.
Improves the reusability of components.It works only for projects that require speed.
Enhances end-product risk management.It is hard to manage due to many stakeholders.

What is RAD? 

The RAD model or Rapid Application Development is a form of agile methodology that focuses on constant iterations and prototypes. It is user feedback-centric and allows you to incorporate updates based on usage rather than a rigid development plan. 

The model was created by James Martin during the 1980s and was released in 1991. The RAD approach is a commonly used application development methodology because it ensures adequate room for improvement and is built to maintain client preference and comfort overall. 

Using this development life cycle, developers can make changes to the design, remove or add features, and edit interfaces without affecting the whole process, as it allows you to develop rapid prototypes for testing and additional improvements.

The Rapid Application Development model is created to evolve with changing requirements as they happen. Though it is built on particular core guidelines, the development philosophies undergo continuous evolution based on client/user feedback. 

Now while the RAD model supports total flexibility and modifications, it functions on 5 core phases or steps that control the development process:

5 core phases controlling the RAD development process

1. Define Project Requirements

At the start, application development separates itself from the conventional software development models. It does not require the developer to sit with end users to get a detailed list of specifications. Rather it requests broad requirements. The broad scope of the requirements helps developers get specific requirements at various stages of the development cycle. 

2. Build Prototypes

At this phase, the actual development happens. Rather than sticking to a rigid set of requirements, developers create prototypes with varying features and functions as quickly as they can. The prototypes are done to show the end users, who will decide what they like and what they don’t. Often, prototypes are quickly designed simply to display particular features without adequate polishing. The final product is only built at the finalization stage where the developer and client can agree on an end product. 

3. Obtain Feedback

At this stage, feedback on what’s great and what isn’t, what works and what doesn’t is shared. The feedback is not just restricted to pure functionality but also interfaces and visuals. With the feedback received, prototyping continues. The two steps are reiterated until an end product satisfies both the client and the developer. 

4. Test the Product

At the testing phase, the product is checked closely against all user requirements to make sure that it functions as demanded. Additionally, testing reviews all third-party integrations within the software as updates made in one area can affect others.

5. Present the Application

At this point, all the functions, aesthetics, interfaces, and features of the software are finalized with the end-user. Ensuring maintainability, usability, and stability are of key importance before delivering the final product.

Advantages of RAD Model

The RAD model offers some powerful advantages to the development process:

  • It offers improved flexibility as developers can adapt to required changes and incorporate new functionalities and features during the build process. 
  • You can create quick iterations that cut down time frames to make your delivery process a lot more streamlined.
  • It is dependent on customer collaboration satisfying every stakeholder such as users, developers, and clients. 
  • It offers enhanced risk management solutions because code vulnerabilities are fixed before the final release.
  • You can carry out integrations at the initial stages and reuse code at any point, which results in a shorter testing time. 
  • Fast reviews can be carried out, and hence you achieve more productivity with fewer people. 

Disadvantages of RAD Model

Though the RAD model is very flexible and is a customer-friendly methodology, it has certain disadvantages if you don’t have the perfect team for it:

  • It requires huge collaboration and joint effort from many people and departments. This can become confusing if it isn’t organized or conducted adequately.
  • It can lead to problems such as code documentation issues if you have a large team that is mostly filled with new or inexperienced developers.
  • It needs slightly more talented developers to carry out iterations and update code during the development process as they’d be quick to understand each aspect of the project. 
  • The RAD model is typically suitable just for projects that must be developed and delivered quickly.
  • Rapid Application Development requires customer input at numerous stages, making  the process a lot more complex than other methodologies.
  • It can be very hard to manage if every stakeholder is not on the same page. 

After comparing the advantages and disadvantages of the RAD model, you have to analyze your current development team to know whether it is suitable for them to use. After all, you have to keep all stakeholders involved during the whole development life-cycle process.

Is RAD the Best Choice for Your Team? 

To know if your developer team is set to incorporate the Rapid Application Development methodology into their creation process you have to craft a checklist and make sure all the requirements are satisfied first.

The questions you have to consider and find answers to when making the decision are: 

  • What is the deadline for your project – is it tight or open?
  • Are your customers open to collaborating during the development process?
  • Does your company possess the right resources (developers, coders, and designers) to build a project using this methodology? 
  • Do you have the budget or means to hire top-notch developer talent who can use the RAD model effectively? 
  • Do you possess the right technology to use the RAD model? 
  • Are you able to test your prototypes with customers who will provide truthful, factual, and reliable feedback?

If your answer to the above questions is “yes” then you’re all set to start using the rad model to develop your project. 

Getting Started with the RAD Model 

The RAD model can immensely benefit your development process. You ensure your team is both able and ready to collaborate and  work extensively to make sure your prototypes are built and tested efficiently.

You also have to be open-minded about implementing new approaches when considering customer feedback. 

The fact is the Rapid Application Development model works best when your business budget, requirements, and objectives all satisfy an iterative and constantly changing process. 

If you are unsure how to start or are stuck in the middle of a rapid development procedure, DistantJob, an IT staffing company, can help you and your team hire  skilled developers for your project. Or, if you are a developer seeking to put your RAD talent to work, visit here for job opportunities

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Emmanuel Egeonu

Emmanuel Egeonu

Emmanuel Egeonu is a digital marketing consultant/writer that specializes in creating content for targeted traffic, landing pages, sales funnels, and website conversions. He has worked with leading influencers, several A-list celebrities, thought leaders, and Fortune 500 brands.