For the last ten years , many software projects have incorporated the use of "Rapid Application Development" methodologies in an effort to decrease development times. RAD, as it is generally referred to, incorporates an umbrella of methodologies based on spiral, iterative development technologies. RAD techniques range from the simple use of GUI development tools to quickly build prototypes , to processes incorporating complete, cross-functional business analysis. Since January 1997, Cambridge Technology Partners, one of the early practitioners of RAD, adapted their methodology to address the special needs of electronic commerce. Dubbed CoRAD, for customer oriented RAD, Cambridge's methodology brings together a unique combination of technical, business, creative, and cognitive disciplines to implement high impact, successful electronic commerce solutions. If you are even considering building an electronic commerce application, you should read this chapter closely to avoid the pitfalls many early electronic commerce sites faced because they concentrated too narrowly on either the technical or creative side of electronic commerce. Furthermore, you need to realize that e-commerce isn't just about building a web site it's about building a whole new business channel.
CoRAD projects consist of five distinct phases: strategic planning, product definition, product design, product development and product delivery. CoRAD treats your electronic commerce project as a product because that is how customers will view it. Successful web sites have to be launched, marketed to customers, and provide incentives for customers to try them out, just like traditional consumer products. They will compare your web site against your competitors ', judging its usefulness . If the site crashes or takes too long to download, customers will go elsewhere. The role of technical, business, creative, and cognitive specialists in each phase is described below. Before discussing each phase of the CoRAD methodology, however, let's spend some time describing why it is needed in the first place.