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The Advantages and Disadvantages of RAD Software Development

RAD software development might have fallen out of favour with the advent of agile methodology, but it still has a important place in certain types of software developments. To understand whether it best suits your needs we have compiled a list of advantages and disadvantages regarding RAD to enable you to make your own mind up.

Advantages of RAD Software Development

  1. The time required to develop the software is drastically reduced due to a reduced requirement analysis business requirements documentation and software requirement specification) and planning stage.
  2. All the software prototypes produced can be kept in a repository for future use. The reusability of the components also enhances the speediness of the process of software development.
  3. It is much easier for a project manager to be accurate in estimating project costs which of course means that project cost controls are easier to implement and manage as well.
  4. It is a big cost saver in terms of project budget as well as project time and cost due to reusability of the prototypes.
  5. If a component is being picked for the repository, it is already tested and hence need not be tested again. This helps in saving time required for testing.
  6. The project management requirements are collected in a dynamic manner. Every time there is a prototype ready, requirements are studied and matched. If there are any additional requirements, these are then included in the next prototype built.
  7. There is a strong and continuous participation of the project sponsor who keeps giving feedback in the whole process. Hence the end user satisfaction level is higher when the end result is produced.
  8. It promotes better documentation through written test cases.

Disadvantages of RAD Software Development

  1. This method may not be useful for large, unique or highly complex projects
  2. This method cannot be a success if the team is not sufficiently motivated and nor is unable to work cohesively together.
  3. Success depends on the extremely high technical skills of the developers.
  4. There are times when the team ignores necessary quality parameters such as consistency, reliability and standardization. Hence this can make project quality management hard to implement during the project management life cycle

The Advantages and Disadvantages of RAD Software Development - Tip

RAD is best used when you are developing something which is basically being built upon the foundations of an existing prototype. The reason being that a key part of this methodology is the re-use of prototypes which reduces both the process of software development and the testing time required.

However it should not be used for new cutting edge functionality which has not been developed before. It is for this reason that RAD methodology is never used in New Media or Web 2.0 development projects. Since these usually consist of completely new functionality requirements RAD simply wouldn’t work. And of course once a system has been built using say Agile principles, this will always be the approach used when looking to upgrade the functionality developed further down the line.

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