Rapid application development works better for some projects than others. It’s a great fit for developing user experience-rich consumer-facing mobile applications, where the experience is the product.
However, it often creates immovable obstacles for business applications, as it fails to deliver the predictability organizations need.
A Few RAD Steps：
Getting started with rapid application development generally follows a cyclical process that includes four basic steps:
- Planning Requirements: During this initial stage designers, developers, and users come to a rough agreement on project scope and application requirements, so that future stages with prototyping can begin.
- User Design: User feedback is gathered with heavy emphasis on determining the system architecture. This allows initial modeling and prototypes to be created. This step is repeated as often as necessary as the project evolves.
- Rapid Construction: Once basic user and system design has begun, the construction phase is where most of the actual application coding, testing, and integration takes place. Along with User Design, the Rapid Construction phase is repeated as often as necessary, as new components are required or alterations are made to meet the needs of the project.
- Cutover: The final Cutover (or Transition) stage allows the development team time to move components to a live production environment, where any necessary full-scale testing or team training can take place.
How to Make Rapid Application Development Work:
If you decide to build with RAD, you need a few things in place:
- Capabilities for incremental delivery: If you can’t work on development in pieces, you can’t use RAD.
- Clear expectations set with clients: If they’ve never worked with rapid application developers before, they may expect more collaboration up front and get upset if they don’t get it. Ensure they understand what they’re getting into before committing to a project. You’ll need prompt and comprehensive feedback to improve upon each iteration. Make sure clients understand they must respond quickly with constructive and clear criticism.
- Talented and experienced project managers: Your PM team must speak both languages and keep the client happy while keeping the development team busy. That means constant and clear two-way communication.
- Tight security processes: As iterations flow back and forth between your development team and client, many opportunities arise for malicious attacks and careless data loss alike. Successful rapid application development absolutely requires airtight protection of each prototype version and consequent sensitive client data.
- An evolving project map: Do you need a detailed and solid plan before you jump into development? No, that would defeat the purpose of RAD. However, you need to to see where you’ve been to plan out your next steps accordingly. You may only create your map at the current pace of development, but it helps you measure your progress. And don’t worry – this map will never be linear.
- Highly skilled developers: Each needs a wide range of skills to make each phase and iteration move quickly. The more each can do, the faster development moves. If you pigeon-hole your development, it will slow things down as you have to wait until a certain team member’s schedule opens.
- Solid internal knowledge and resources database: The more you can automate, the better rapid application development you can deliver. Start to build a collection of trusted templates, layouts, plugins, design themes, and best practices to build prototypes faster, minimize mistakes, and cut out time-intensive steps.
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