Revving Up the Software Project via Rapid Application Development
Involving the right people in a project speeds up the process and this goal is intuitively achieved in rapid application development, where developers practice innovation at its best and with utmost creativity – by adopting inputs from target users in various phases of the task. Rapid application development is described as a team-based group approach which enables software development teams to create a functioning information system within a short amount of time. This approach, which is also popularly known by its initials RAD, features a life cycle comprise of four stages similar to the traditional software development life cycle and is also considered as a complete system development methodology. Rapid application development is favored by companies due to its efficacy in optimizing the use of organizational resources, particularly time and money, and thus ensuring the achievement of project goals and objectives.
Rapid application development was conceptualized to address the increased risks inherent in the waterfall model when handling long-term projects. RAD places emphasis on creating a system prototype and fostering collaboration among users and other stakeholders to speed up project completion without sacrificing output quality.
The rapid application development methodology, thus, shorten the planning stage by creating prototypes, and effectively combine project and time management techniques into the development process.
The software development team creates a prototype to generate a working model of the system during the early stage of development. Once a prototype is created, the software development team invites users to try the prototype. At this point, users can verify if the prototype meets their requirements. Depending on the user evaluation and other inputs, the prototype may undergo several enhancements until the final prototype is deemed acceptable by global software standards.
The rapid application development methodology consists of four crucial stages: requirements planning, user design, prototyping, and system cutover. During the requirements planning stage, the development team deliberates on the organizational needs, the scope of the project and project constraints, as well as system requirements. Meanwhile, the user design stage harnesses collaboration among the developers, systems analysts, and the users during model and prototype development. Subsequently, prototyping focuses on program coding and other components in order to build the system, including testing of the unit and the integration, as well as system evaluation. On the other hand, system cutover activities include: data conversion, full-scale assessment, system changeover, and user training sessions.
Compared with other system development methods, rapid application development offers the following benefits:
Significantly shorter application development life cycle which can span from days or weeks instead of months,
Considerable reduction in application development costs since less time and resources are required to accomplish specific tasks,
Improvement in software quality made possible within in a shorter period amount,
Enhanced staff productivity levels attributed to a much efficient utilization of resources,
Ease in the maintenance of the system or application.
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