A Preliminary Investigation of Rapid Application Development in Practice

  • Brian Fitzgerald


Rapid Application Development (RAD) has been proposed by some as the latest ‘silver bullet‘ to address the software crisis, while others have likened it to ‘old wine in new bottles’, suggesting that it doesn’t really provide anything new in terms of tools or techniques. Researchers have noted that while much has been written on the subject, there is a paucity of empirical research on the concept in practice. This paper discusses the rationale behind the emergence of RAD and the fundamental principles underpinning it. The findings of a preliminary study which investigated the RAD phenomenon in practice are presented. Briefly, the study findings focus on the profile of RAD usage, suitability criteria for using RAD on development projects, and how RAD is used to deliver its mission of faster development, within budget and without sacrificing system quality.


User Involvement Silver Bullet Traditional Development Frequent Delivery Rapid Application Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Martin, J. (1991) Rapid Application Development, Macmillan, USAGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gane, C. (1989) Rapid Systems Development, Prentice-Hall, USA.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    DSDM(1995) Dynamic Systems Development Method, Tesseract Publishing, UKGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Naur, P. Randell, B. and Buxton, J. (1976), Software Engineering: Concepts and Techniques, Charter Publishers, New York.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jayaratna, N. (1994) Understanding and Evaluating Methodologies, McGraw Hill, London.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Flaatten, P., McCubbrey, D., O’Riordan, P. and Burgess, K. (1989) Foundations of Business Systems, Dryden Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Business Week (1988) The software trap: automate—or else, Business Week, May 9, 142–154.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Taylor, T, and Standish, T. (1982) Initial thoughts on rapid prototyping techniques, ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes, 7, 5, 160–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bowen, P. (1994) Rapid Application Development: Concepts and Principles, IBM Document No. 94283UKT0829.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fitzgerald, B. (1997) Systems Development Methodologies: Time to Advance the Clock, in Wojtowski, G. (Editor) Systems Development Methods for the Next Century, Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Verity, J. (1987) The OOPS revolution. Datamation, May 1, 73–78.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Brooks, F. (1987) No silver bullet: essence and accidents of software engineering. IEEE Computer Magazine, April, 10–19.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Baum, D. (1992) Go totally RAD and build applications faster, Datamation, September, pp.79–81.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Card, D. (1995) The RAD fad: is timing really everything?, IEEE Software, September.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mimno, P. (1991) What is RAD?, American Programmer, 4, 1.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Butler, T. And Fitzgerald, B. (1997) A case study of user participation in the IS development process, Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Information Systems, Atlanta, Georgia.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Yourdon, E. (1979) Classics in Software Engineering. Yourdon Press,New York.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Sinha, M (1997) Development Practices at Microsoft, Seminar given at the Sixth International Conference on IS Development, Boise, Idaho, 11–14 August 1997.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Boehm, B. (1981) Software Engineering Economics. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.MATHGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    DeMarco, T. (1978) Structured Analysis and System Specification, Yourdon Press, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Beynon-Davies, P. Tudhope, D. and Mackay, H. (1997), Integrating RAD and participatory design, in Avison, D. (Ed) Key Issues in Information Systems, McGraw-Hill, UK, pp.317–330.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Beynon-Davies, P. Carne, C. Mackay, H. and Tudhope, D. (1998), A comparison of seven RAD projects, in Avison, D. and Edgar-Nevill, D. (Eds) Matching Technology with Organisational Needs, McGraw-Hill, UK, pp.127–140.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    O’Connor, A. (1996) An Empirical Investigation of the Implementation of the Rapid Application Development Approach, Unpublished MSc Thesis, University College Cork.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Fitzgerald
    • 1
  1. 1.Executive Systems Research CentreUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

Personalised recommendations