The FBI Virtual Case File
IS 430 - Fundamentals of IT Project Management
Table of Contents
How I researched the case3
What I have learned in this case study5
The Virtual Case File (VCF) from the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) was a failed technology project that cost the United States Government over $170 million dollars including $105 million worth in unusable code. The FBI desperately needed an upgrade to their IT infrastructure which it is in three stages. The FBI needed to install about 30,000 desktop computers; creating a high speed Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN) to connect to all of the desktop computers, and implement a VCF. The system would allow FBI agents to share information across the world among themselves and other law enforcement agencies. In the year 2005, the VCF project was abandoned. The project has successfully completed the first two stages and it had reasonable goals. By completing the first two goals, it was still considered a failure. The FBI’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) Zalmai Azmi, blamed the corporate culture and the distrust of the FBI’s technology as a reason behind of the misalignment. By having the FBI do a further investigation, the FBI had other problems in the VCF. They had problems such as specification problems, constant changes, a lack of an IT department, and a poor turnover among management. Robert Mueller implemented a new program called the Sentinel. The Sentinel is a four-phase, four-year project intended to do the VCF's job and provide the bureau with a Web-based case- and records management system that incorporates commercial off-the-shelf software. By using this system, this will have better communication between the users and developers. This development will change the FBI agents’ attitude towards technology before they introduce the new system.
How I researched the case
I researched this case by searching online for old articles and old newspaper articles that are online. I was surprise that there were a lot of articles listed about what happen with the VCF project. Also, there were a lot of articles explained what happen after the VCF project. The one that stood out is the one from the FBI website which Robert Mueller explains what happen and how he and the contractor took full responsibility of what happen. To read more information about the testimony that Robert Mueller sent to the FBI Chairman go to http://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/fbis-virtual-case-file-system. Case Discussion
Who are the involved parties?
The people that was involved in VCF mishap was Robert Mueller, Zalmai Azmi, and the contractor that was responsible for the VCF. Robert Mueller went to the Chairman of the FBI that he and the contractor was responsible for the some of the setbacks experienced with the VCF. After investigating, it was concluded that it was a "lack of effective engineering discipline has led to inadequate specification, design and development of VCF.” They also could "find no assurance" that the requirements were satisfied, nor that the architecture, Concept of Operations, and requirements were correct and complete. The FBI was supportive with everything but they have invested in $170 million dollars for a system that they can’t use. What are the key issues?
Some of the key issues with dealing with the VCF were poor planning, unclear goals and objectives, lack of support and user involvement, poor communication, and inappropriate skills. By reading different news articles, this was the worst unorganized project that was put together. Since this is the government, I believe that Zalmai Azmi was told to do the work. He most likely passed the work to the contractor and didn’t talk to the contractor for an update on the VCF. This project should have experience people working on this project. With the amount of money that the government lost with this project, this...
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