Rapid Application Development
Quixy Editorial Team
February 15, 2024
Table of contents
Reading Time: 11 minutes

Get used to the rapids rather than chasing waterfalls. For continuous iteration and faster software delivery, explore rapid application development.

Around the world, rapid application development has become one of the most widely adopted development processes. In addition to ensuring fast and smooth application development, this application development process allows the developers to meet their goals more efficiently. The forecast indicates that the rapid application development market is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 42.6% between 2021 and 2026. What’s the reason for its popularity? Or, what does rapid application development mean? All of these topics will be discussed in detail in this blog.

What is Rapid Application Development?

Rapid application development definition: It emphasizes rapid prototyping over long development and testing cycles. It is possible to make multiple updates to the software without starting over every time with rapid application development. As a result, the result is more quality-focused and aligned with the needs of the end users.

The Waterfall model dominated software development in the 1970s and 1980s. Projects are broken down into sequential maps of several steps, where each step depends on the completion of the previous one.

Waterfall models have the disadvantage of not being able to revisit the core features and functions once the product has entered the testing phase. As a result, teams end up with software that may or may not meet the evolving needs of end users.

The concept of Rapid Application Development (RAD) was conceived in the 1980s, so it isn’t a revolutionary concept. However, it is not singular like the waterfall model. This is a continuous evolution of development philosophies according to the requirements at the time.

During the 1980s, Barry Boehm, James Martin, and others realized that software was not a raw mineral resource. They recognized the infinite malleability of software. In designing their respective development models, Boehm and Martin took advantage of the software’s inherent pliability. Eventually, rapid app development evolved into agile development and other forms.

The forecast period (2022 – 2027) anticipates a CAGR of 42.8% for the Global Rapid Application Development Market.

Also Read: Digital Transformation Demystified !!

When you should use the Rapid Application Development model?

There are many factors to consider when choosing an application development approach. If you receive a positive response when you ask these questions, you should consider the RAD model:

  • Do you have a client who is open to RAD and willing to collaborate with your team throughout the project?
  • Are you able to navigate the rapid application development process while ensuring strong communication with your development team?
  • Does everyone on the project team agree with the project’s schedule and timeline?
  • Can you navigate the rapid application development process with the right tools and software? Are you able to procure them if not? 
  • Are there any technical risks?
  • Is there a deadline for delivering your project?

Choosing the rapid application development approach is possible if you answer all questions positively. However, there are some things you should keep in mind.

As an example, development teams can work at different speeds when working together. Rapid application development might take longer than expected because system integration can happen when both teams complete their work.

A difference in logic and programming styles can further complicate system integration.

Before proceeding with rapid application development, these parameters need to be carefully planned and adjusted.

4 Steps in Rapid Application Development Methodology

RAD methodology involves four phases of application development while achieving a quick turnaround time (TAT).

1. Determining Requirements

During the first phase, all participants (managers, IT employees, users, etc.) determine the project’s needs, scope, challenges, and requirements. It sets broad requirements for staying flexible over time, which differentiates RAD from other models.

You can break down the planning phase into the following steps:

  • Researching and identifying the current problem
  • Identifying the project’s requirements
  • Finalizing requirements specifications and sharing them with stakeholders
  • Obtaining approval from stakeholders

This stage allows teams to avoid confusion, minimize costly changes, and understand stakeholders’ needs transparently.

Due to RAD’s principle, requirements can change during development, so the planning phase is kept short. The goal is to gain a concise understanding of the project.

2. The Design Phase

Developers and users work together to develop a prototype covering the outlined requirements. It is a continuous process in which users provide feedback on the prototype until the final product is approved. In such prototypes, the main system requirements are covered by the main features of the system. The success of the final product depends on this phase.

The developers deliver customized prototypes that facilitate testing at each stage.

By allowing clients to test prototypes, developers can fix bugs as they are implemented. In addition, clients can decide what functions to keep and what to discard at the beginning of the development process. This phase ensures no potential errors or unwanted functions through collaboration, continuous interaction, and regular testing.

3. Constructing Rapidly

Input from the user forms the basis of this other continuous phase. The goal of this step is to implement the feedback provided by the users through coding, testing, and other development tasks. Until the product is approved by the users, the 2nd and 3rd phases feed into each other.

Developers, programmers, and testers build workable applications in less time because many issues, tweaks, and changes are addressed in the design phase. To accommodate any alterations and ideas, you must stay in contact with the client throughout this process.

A quick breakdown of the rapid construction phase can be done as follows:

  • Making preparations
  • Development of applications
  • The coding process
  • Testing and integration of units

Clients may discover some concepts in the design phases that don’t function as expected during the rapid construction phase. To resolve such problems, you can return to prototyping. Upon receiving positive user feedback, move on to the next step.

4. Implementation Phase

Upon approval, developers add some finishing touches such as testing, conversion, interface, and user training. A product is ready for delivery once it has been properly assessed for factors like stability and longevity.

Team members optimize applications in a live production environment to ensure stability and maintainability. Before handing over the final product to the client, the implementation phase includes documenting, completing maintenance tasks, and providing user training.

Why you should use Rapid Application Development?

Rapid application development helps the organization deliver applications quickly. RAD reduces the time-to-market and provides businesses with a competitive edge as any changes can be quickly incorporated into the business. Collaboration and user involvement are key in RAD; it ensures that the software meets user needs and expectations. By involving stakeholders and users throughout the development process, RAD enhances customer satisfaction. Additionally, RAD promotes cost-effectiveness by identifying issues and requirements early on, increasing productivity by leveraging existing components, and improving software quality through continuous testing and refinement. While RAD may not be suitable for all projects, its emphasis on speed, flexibility, collaboration, and user-centric development makes it a valuable approach for many organizations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Rapid Application Development(RAD) Model

Rapid application development has many benefits for businesses, but it also presents some challenges. Before adopting the RAD model, it’s crucial to understand its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of RAD ModelDisadvantages of RAD Model
With fewer employees, more productivity is achievedSuitable only for short-term projects
Ensures that customer feedback is encouraged and prioritizedWorking with large teams is not possible
Since it integrates from the beginning, integration is not a problemRapid application development can only be used for modular systems
It is possible to change requirements at any timeCollaborative teamwork is essential
There is a short time between prototypes and iterationsCompared to other models, it is more complex to manage
There is a drastic reduction in development timeThe product must meet the needs of users throughout its life cycle

Rapid Application Development Cycle

The four stages of RAD are heavily influenced by the systems development lifecycle (or SDLC, for short), and could even be viewed as a condensed version of SDLC. Let’s have a look at the general outline of the stages:


This is the first stage of the Rapid Application Development lifecycle, where you evaluate the scope and goals of the project, features, solutions, functionalities, as well as the associated roadmap.


This stage is concerned with identifying what needs to be developed based on the current situation and project goals.


During the design stage of rapid application development, an outline or flow diagram is created. This describes the general design of the product, screen layout, workflow, program rules, methods, and so on.


The implementation and environment cycle is concerned with the progression of the product through various stages of development until it is ready for end-user use.


As part of the Rapid Application Development process, the product is examined on different levels to identify any bugs and resolve them.


After training and transitory periods, the software is maintained and regularly evaluated to assess any shortcomings or potential improvements.

What is the difference between Rapid application development and Agile Development?

In software development, rapid application development and Agile are both terms used to describe iterative processes. The goal of either approach is to solve the problems associated with traditional development methods, such as the Waterfall approach. Even though the two terms are often used interchangeably, there are some subtle differences between them.

Agile development is a set of practices and methods based on iterative development, where solutions and requirements are refined by collaborating between teams. Among its practices are stand-ups, test-driven development, pair programming, and sprints, as well as frameworks like Scrum and Extreme Programming.

In Agile development, specific features of a project are delivered in sprints over the development cycle. Contrary to rapid application development, rapid application development focuses on iterative prototyping that is improved through feedback.

Furthermore, rapid application development emphasizes functionality over user interfaces and user experiences. While agile focuses on the design of a project, it considers it a vital part of it.

Also Read: A Comprehensive Glossary of Digital Transformation Terms

How does RAD differ from traditional waterfall development?

  • RAD emphasizes iterative development and prototyping, whereas waterfall follows a linear sequential approach.
  • RAD involves stakeholders and end-users throughout the process, while waterfall relies on predefined requirements.
  • RAD prioritizes speed and adaptability, while waterfall focuses on detailed planning and documentation.
  • RAD enables faster delivery of functional software, whereas waterfall can take longer due to its sequential nature.

When to Harness Rapid Application Development: Ideal Scenarios and Use Cases

Rapid Application Development (RAD) methodology is suitable for various scenarios prioritizing speed, adaptability, and collaboration. It can be used:

  1. When Requirements are Unclear or Evolving: RAD accommodates evolving requirements by allowing quick adjustments during development iterations.
  2. Prototyping and Proof of Concept: For projects needing quick prototypes or proofs of concept to demonstrate feasibility.
  3. Time-Critical Projects: When there’s a need to deliver functional software within tight timeframes, RAD’s iterative nature expedites development.
  4. User-Centric Projects: When user feedback and involvement are crucial, RAD’s frequent iterations help align the final product with user needs.
  5. Innovative Projects: RAD encourages experimentation, making it a good fit for projects that seek innovative solutions.
  6. Small to Medium-Sized Projects: RAD suits projects of varying sizes, but it’s especially effective for smaller projects due to its agile nature.
  7. Processes with High Change Rates: In domains where regulations or market dynamics change rapidly, RAD allows quick adaptations.
  8. Collaborative Teams: RAD’s iterative approach promotes collaboration between developers, users, and stakeholders.
  9. Limited Technical Expertise: Organizations with non-technical users benefit from RAD’s user-friendly visual development tools.
  10. Building Prototypes for Feedback: RAD’s quick prototyping aids in gathering early feedback and refining concepts.

Remember, while RAD offers benefits in these scenarios, assessing each project’s specific needs, team capabilities, and constraints is essential before selecting a development methodology.


Iterative Steps of Rapid Application Development

Rapid Application Development (RAD) is focused on quick prototyping and iterative development. Here are the general steps involved in the RAD process:

  1. Requirements Planning:
    • Identify project scope, objectives, and key requirements.
    • Define user needs and expectations.
    • Form a cross-functional team including developers, users, and stakeholders.
  2. Quick Design and Prototyping:
    • Create initial prototypes of the application’s user interface (UI) and basic functionality.
    • Gather feedback from users & stakeholders on the prototype.
    • Refine the prototype based on feedback and evolving requirements.
  3. Data Modeling:
    • Design the underlying database structure.
    • Determine data entities, relationships, and attributes.
  4. Application Generation:
    • Develop the actual application based on the refined prototype.
    • Use visual development tools, code generators, or low-code/no-code platforms to speed up development.
  5. Testing and Validation:
    • Conduct regular testing and quality assurance throughout the development process.
    • Identify and resolve defects and issues as they arise.
  6. User Feedback and Iteration:
    • Continuously involve users in testing and validation.
    • Gather feedback on the evolving application and make necessary adjustments.
  7. Integration and Deployment:
    • Integrate different components and modules of the application.
    • Prepare the application for deployment, including necessary configurations.
  8. User Training and Documentation:
    • Provide training and documentation to users on how to use the application effectively.
  9. Continuous Refinement:
    • After deployment, continue to gather feedback from users and stakeholders.
    • Make ongoing improvements and refinements to enhance the application’s functionality and performance.
  10. Completion and Maintenance:
    • Once the application meets the desired requirements and user needs, it’s considered complete.
    • Maintenance tasks, updates, and bug fixes continue as needed to ensure the application’s long-term functionality.

The key idea in RAD is to iterate quickly through these steps, allowing for ongoing improvements and adjustments based on user feedback and changing requirements. This methodology is particularly beneficial for projects that require a fast development cycle, collaboration, and the ability to adapt to evolving needs.

Rapid Application Development Tools

Rapid application development emphasizes rapid prototyping and the development of workable solutions rather than hardline planning. With no-code development platforms, you can reduce the amount of code you have to write, create prototypes more quickly, and reduce the amount of time you have to dedicate to the development process & digital advancement efforts.

No-code development platforms as rapid application development software

A no-code development platform allows businesses to develop software quickly and easily without coding. It is possible to build and design business applications using a WYSIWYG editor or by dragging and dropping components.

Rapid application development can be practiced by developers as well as non-developers who can customize workflows and functionality. There is a significant difference between these tools and low-code development platforms in terms of the level of customization that can be achieved.

Compared to low-code development platforms, no-code platforms provide relatively less customization and functionality. Instead of having to access or modify the source code, no-code development provides more tools for organizing information.

Rapid Application Development Example

Developing software quickly is particularly useful for businesses that require software quickly but wish to have much input in the development process.

For example, Suco Bank, one of the leading banks, used plenty of software for its non-financial activities like HR, Appraisal, Inventory management, etc. Suco was looking for a one-stop solution for all its non-core financial activities. Quixy, one of the leading no-code rapid application development platforms, was used to create an application for SUCO Bank.

All the requirements were discussed, and the first SOP was built within two weeks. The rapid app development helped SUCO to find solutions that would have taken months if it had been done with the traditional app development method. Read more about it here.

Quixy: Your Rapid App Development Rocket Ship

Develop Apps in Record Time

  • Drag-and-drop simplicity – No coding headaches.
  • Pre-built components & templates – Launch faster, customize later.
  • Automation powerhouse – Eliminate repetitive tasks, boost efficiency.

Empower Everyone to Build

  • Citizen developer friendly – Business users become citizen developers.
  • Low-code development – Focus on what matters, not the code.

Built for the Future

  • Seamless integrations – Connects to your existing systems, plays nicely with others.
  • Cloud-based & scalable – Access & deploy from anywhere, grows with your needs.

Security You Can Trust

  • Robust security features – Keeps your data safe and compliant.
  • Governance & control – You decide who builds and accesses applications.

The Quixy Advantage

  • Faster Time to Market – Launch apps quicker, seize opportunities faster.
  • Reduced Development Costs – Save resources, empower citizen developers.
  • Increased Agility – Adapt and innovate at the speed of business.
  • Improved User Experience – Build user-friendly apps, boost satisfaction.

Explore Quixy and see how it can transform your app development process.


As Rapid Application Development technology has become more widely adopted, choosing the right service provider has become more challenging. The market is flooded with application development services, so it’s difficult to tell which will achieve your product goals. By understanding the process better, you will be able to make an informed decision.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is Rapid Application Development (RAD)?

RAD is an agile software development approach emphasizing quick prototyping and iterative development. It focuses on delivering functional software rapidly by involving end-users in the development process. RAD enables faster time-to-market and enhances collaboration between developers and stakeholders. 

Q. What is the benefit of Rapid Application Development of a prototype?

A benefit of Rapid Application Development is the creation of prototypes. Prototypes provide tangible representations of the software, enabling early user feedback and ensuring the final product meets customer expectations. Prototyping reduces the risk of misunderstanding requirements and guides the development process effectively. 

Q. What is the Rapid Application Development RAD Model? 

The Rapid Application Development (RAD) model is a software development framework that prioritizes speed and flexibility. It involves iterative requirements gathering, prototyping, development, and testing cycles. RAD empowers cross-functional teams to work collaboratively and deliver incremental updates, reducing development time and costs. 

Q. What is Rapid Application Development RAD Methodology?

Rapid Application Development methodology is an adaptive approach that emphasizes customer feedback and continuous improvement. It involves incremental development cycles and leverages prototyping to refine software quickly. RAD fosters continuous communication and accommodates evolving project requirements. 

Q. Why use Rapid Application Development (RAD)?

RAD is used to accelerate the development process, reduce development costs, and meet rapidly changing business needs. It enables quicker delivery of functional software, facilitates customer involvement, and allows faster responses to market demands. 

Q. How ensure Rapid Application Development meets company strategic goals?

To align RAD with strategic goals, involve stakeholders from the outset to define clear objectives. Conduct thorough initial planning and continuously review progress. Ensure regular communication among cross-functional teams to maintain alignment with business goals. 

Q. What are the steps involved in Rapid Application Development (RAD)? 

In RAD, the key steps include: 
– Requirements Gathering: Understand user needs and define project objectives. 
– Prototyping: Create visual representations of the software to gather feedback. 
– Iterative Development: Develop the software incrementally, refining it in each cycle. 
– User Testing: Involve users to evaluate the prototypes and provide feedback. 
– Feedback Integration: Integrate user feedback to improve the software’s functionality and design. 
– Finalization: Complete the development, conduct thorough testing, and launch the product. 

Related Post

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent Posts

customizable branding with quixy
How Quixy Can Help You with Digital Transformation
Why Quixy Stands Out From Its Competitors
Automation Challenges
Product owner skills

A groundbreaking addition to our platform - the Quixy Sandbox!

Automation Maturity Assessment Popup
No, I'll take the risk