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RAD Software Development

RAD software development is a methodology which is designed to deliver high quality software at a much faster pace than would be possible with the traditional waterfall model. It won't surprise you then to learn that RAD is actually an acronym for Rapid Application Development. At the heart of this methodology less emphasis is placed on planning and much more on creating prototypes of the required software. The idea is that by developing these, the process of software development is speeded up.

In RAD software development methodology, first of all, a model is created from the business requirements documentation (BRD), project management requirements and the software requirements specifications (SRS). Using that model, a prototype is then created and matched against the various requirements to check what has been missed. If there is a gap, another model is created and the prototype developed.

This cyclical process goes on and on until the requirement matches the prototype completely. Where RAD really comes into it's own, is that all the prototypes developed are re-usable either on this development or on a multitude of others, and are hence kept safely in a repository.

Requirements of RAD Software Development

  • It needs a strong cohesive group of people who are self-motivated and highly committed to the project.
  • The project sponsor should be actively involved throughout the software development life cycle.
  • A rich repository of re-usable sub-components of software is required to enhance the speed of system development. If this is not available then you will not gain the benefits of utilising RAD.

Phases of RAD Software Development

The process of RAD software development goes through four phases. These are

1.0 Requirements Planning

  • The team of developers, BA's, users or project management stakeholders and the project manager sit together to understand the requirement's of the new system and do some basic planning. Having a BA with the right business analyst skills is particularly important at during this phase.

2.0 Design Phase

  • The RAD team prepares a design or model of the required system. The software requirement specifications are studied again to match them with the model. The required changes are included in the model.

3.0 Construction Phase

  • Various RAD tools are used to develop the prototype which will includes all the elements of any user interface such as screens, forms, reports etc. It is then checked to ensure the functionality developed is what the project sponsor actually wants. If the project sponsor is not satisfied, then changes are made in the model and then the prototype. This modification process goes on until the user is completely satisfied with the product.

4.0 Testing and Handover Phase

  • This phase includes testing and implementation. Since RAD relies on the re-use of software components, most of the components will already have been tested as part of another development. Therefore in theory only the new components created as part of this specific development are tested. This obviously dramatically reduces the amount of test time required.
  • Once the testing has been completed the software can then be installed in a "live" environment and launched. The end users are trained on the new system and the handover documents completed.

RAD Software Development - Tip

RAD Software Development is good methodology to follow if you are working on a relatively small project. If you have a large or complex project like gaming in hand, and do not have rich repository already available, do not ever go for RAD.

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