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Who Killed the Virtual Case File?

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THE IT PROJECT THAT COST TAXPAYERS NEARLY $170 MILLION

Harry Goldstein
IEEE Spectrum, September 2005

FBI IT begins Upgrade Project
Virtual Case File (VCF)
planned to replace the
Automated Case Support (ACS) system

$379.8 million

Published in: Engineering
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Who Killed the Virtual Case File?

  1. 1. Who Killed the Virtual Case File? THE IT PROJECT THAT COST TAXPAYERS NEARLY $170 MILLION By Harry Goldstein in IEEE Spectrum,September 2005 Sushant Gautam 072BCT544@ioe.edu.np www.Sushant.info.np IOE, Pulchowk Campus
  2. 2. Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity PRIORITY MISSION BUDGET EMPLOYEES 5 Directors, 23 Divisions, 50+ Softwares 53 Field Offices, 400 Satellite Offices, 51 WorldWide Offices FBI
  3. 3. MILESTONES Time Wasted Pushing Paper
  4. 4. MILESTONES FBI IT begins Upgrade Project Virtual Case File (VCF) planned to replace the Automated Case Support (ACS) system $379.8 million Information Presentation: provide new Pentium PCs, scanners, printers and servers Transportation Network: provide secure local and wide networks User Application: identify a way to replace the FBI’s 40-something investigative software Third component ultimately became the VCF
  5. 5. MILESTONES Applications International Corp. (SAIC) By the middle of 2004 But in 9/11 “The FBI’s information systems were woefully inadequate.The FBI lacked the ability to know what it knew.” - 9/11 commission report Trilogy is shifted to high gear
  6. 6. MILESTONES FBI requested an additional $70 million to accelerate Trilogy. Congress approved $78 million
  7. 7. MILESTONES Project failed and was cancelled. FBI scrapped $105 million worth of unusable code
  8. 8. Contract Problem No formal criteria to accept or reject the finished VCF software No formal project Schedule No milestones
  9. 9. MILESTONES Asked additional $137.9 million for the Trilogy “The lack of critical IT investment management processes for Trilogy contributed to missed milestones and led to uncertainties about costs, schedule, and technical goals” Congress approved +$123.2 million
  10. 10. MILESTONES Total cost of Trilogy so far: $581 million
  11. 11. CODING Adventure SAIC programmers in 8 teams were cranking code, using a spiral development methodology Roughly 400 change requests of the system were made by FBI in a year Some were cosmetic, but others required adding new functions to the system
  12. 12. Delivery Time SAIC delivered the VCF to the FBI, only to have it declared Dead or Alive The FBI found 17 functional deficiencies to be fixed before the system was deployed Additional tests revealed 400 more deficiencies Needed Review
  13. 13. reviewer High level documents, including the concept of operations, were neither incomplete, inconsistent, and didn’t map to user needs The software cannot be maintained without Difficulty It is therefore unfit to use
  14. 14. After The End VCF Officially Cancelled FBI announced Sentinel. A 4-phase,4-years project intended to do the VCF with a web based case management system Sentinel’s estimated cost was unrevealed But, Confident FBI Agents Wait . . wait. . .
  15. 15. Happy EnDing After several delays, new leadership, a slightly bigger budget ($600 million), agile software development methodologies Sentinel was completed under budget and was in use agency-wide on July 1, 2012 :)
  16. 16. What Went Wrong ?? NO BLUEPRINT LACK of Planning Management No Timeline & Milestone
  17. 17. What Went Wrong ?? 800+ pages of requirements 700,000 lines of code from scratch = BUGS No Timeline & Milestone
  18. 18. What Went Wrong ?? Lack of resource with a system engineering view that could: within the big picture. watch, monitor & integrate
  19. 19. A $170 MILLION worth lesson Proper requirement gathering, analysis and validation. Final blueprint before the beginning development. No major change in requirements after validation. Appropriate model for software development.
  20. 20. Experienced professionals as managers. Progress should be monitored. Change in requirements should be analysed properly. Impact should be determined. A $170 MILLION worth lesson
  21. 21. Avoid micromanagement creating healthy relations improving communication. Prioritisation to avoid unrealistic deadlines. A $170 MILLION worth lesson
  22. 22. References Goldstein, H. (2005, September). Who killed the virtual case file? IEEE Spectrum Eggen, Dan; Witte, Griff (18 August 2006). "The FBI's Upgrade That Wasn't" (PDF). The Washington Post. Alfonsi, B. (2005, May). FBI’s virtual case file living in limbo. IEEE Security & Privacy, 3(2), 7. doi:10.1109/MSP.2005.41. Marchewka, Jack T. "The FBI virtual case file: A case study." Communications of the IIMA 10.2 (2010): 1.
  23. 23. A $170 MILLION worth lesson

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