Joint application development

JAD is a requirements-definition and user-interface design methodology in which end-users, executives and developers attend intense off-site meetings to work out a system’s details. JAD focuses on the business problems rather than technical details. It is most suitable to the development of business systems.

It produces its savings by shortening the elapsed time required to gather a system’s requirements and by gathering requirements better, thus reducing the the number of costly, downstream requirement changes. Its success depends on effective leadership of the JAD sessions; on participation by key end-users, executives and developers; and on achieving synergy during JAD.


  • Potential reduction from nominal schedule: Good
  • Improvement in progress visibility:  Fair
  • Effect on schedule risk:  Decreased Risk
  • Chance of first-time success:  Good
  • Chance of long-term success:  Excellent

Major Risks

  • Unrealistic productivity expectations following JAD sessions
  • Premature, inaccurate estimates of remaining work following JAD sessions

Major Interaction and Trade-Offs

  • Works best when combined with an incremental-development lifecycle model
  • Can be combined with rapid-development languages and prototyping tools

JAD stands for “Joint Application Development”. The “joint” refers to the fact that developers, end-users and other concerned parties together design the product concept. It’s a structured process for requirements gathering and negotiation. The focal point of the process is a series of workshops that are attended by executives, end-users and developers.JAD leverages group dynamics, extensive use of visual aids “WYSIWYG” documentation and an organised, rational process to gather requirements in a short time.JAD is one of the most powerful requirements-specification practices yet developed and it produces its savings in several ways:

  • It commits top executives to the software-planning process
    JAD involves top executives from the beginning of a product’s development. Early executive involvement shortens the product-approval cycle.
  • It shortens the requirements-specification phase
    JAD reduces the amount of time needed to gather requirements, which shortens the overall development cycle. This is particularly useful because requirements specification can be an essential unbounded activity that adds weeks or months to a project’s front-end.
  • It eliminates the questionable value
    By eliminating questionable features and making the product smaller, JAD reduces development time.
  • It helps to get requirements right the first time
    Requirements analysts and end-users speak different languages, which means that the chances of them communicating effectively about software requirements are slim. JAD improves communication and eliminates costly rework resulting from mistaken requirements.
  • It helps to get the user interface right first time
    Some products require extensive rework because end-users reject the product’s interface. JAD design sessions focus on user-interface design. Because end-users are involved in those sessions, the end-user interface that’s developed is usually ultimately acceptable to end-users.
  • It reduces organizational in-fighting
    Many projects are hobbled by conflicting objectives or hidden agendas. By bringing all the decision makers together to design the system, JAD brings these issues to light early in the project, when they can still be addressed effectively and before they’ve had time to do much damage.