The RAD first appeared in the 1980s,when James Martin developed the approach in response to increasing dissatisfaction with the failure of earlier methods such as the waterfall model of software development. These earlier approaches were characterized by being highly prescriptive, with developers following an inflexible series of development phases in which requirements were gathered early in the process and then set in stone throughout the rest of the project. Typically, customer involvement was limited to the initial requirements capture and final acceptance testing, resulting in an unacceptably high number of delivered systems that did not match the actual customer needs (which had almost certainly changed since they had been first documented anyway). Cost and time overruns were the norm for such projects and,since much of the testing was left to the later phases, the systems were frequently delivered with major quality issues.Initially inspired by the work of other prominent workers in the field of development and testing,such as Barry Boehm, Brian Gallagher,and Scott Schults,and following a gestation period of several years, Martin’s thoughts on rapid software development were finally formalized as RAD Rapid ApplicationDevelopment .
The key goals of RAD are
RAD seeks to break down the approach taken in monolithic waterfall projects into smaller iterative steps, increasing the opportunities for the customer to be involved in the development and to be exposed to earlier prototypes and working increments of the developing system. In fact, the development of software prototypes is a key aspect of RAD, providing a means of exploring the customer needs for the system through informal testing and managing customer expectations of how the final delivered system should look and perform.
RAD proved to be of benefit over traditional development approaches in a number of areas:
On the down side,for many practitioners who followed more traditional software development models,RAD gained the reputation of being an excuse for “hacking” or “opportunistic coding,” as it has also been called. It is possible that,as one of the earliest agile methods, RAD may have been perceived as having less rigor than the more established approaches. Also, RAD’s focus on developing a series of rapid prototypes, many of which inevitably would not be carried forward into the final deliverable, was often blamed for wasting time and effort and jeopardizing progress. Finally, the process of prototyping was often poorly implemented due to a weak understanding of what prototyping actually involved, leading to a poor perception of the technique.
Despite some suspicion from the defenders of the more traditional development methods, RAD arguably set the scene for the development of a number of the later agile methods.
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