Virtual Case Files -- Project Triology

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[Trilogy Case]|
Virtual Case File |

Executive Summary
The FBI Information Technology Upgrade Project (FITUP) was initiated in 2000, and, after five years of cascading problems, was abandoned for the Sentinel project in 2005. Estimated to cost $170M, VCF went over budget by approximately $330M (Nelson 2007). The project was meant to modernize the FBI’s antiquated computer system and included “a case management system, an evidence management system, and a records management system” (Marchewka 2010).

As we will discuss in the course of our case study, the Trilogy Project would fail for a number of reasons. Despite failing, Project Trilogy is not alone when it comes to project management blunders. According to the Standish Group’s CHAOS report, only 16% of application development projects succeeded. The numbers gathered in 1995 report an astounding number of projects fail or are canceled before they can be completed.

Project Trilogy was canceled before completion due to multiple problems that continued to grow and could not be rectified by the implementation of new, stricter project guidelines. As we will see in the Planning Phase, there were problems concerning mission/vision, program and cultural alignment, scope creep, change control, and inconsistent leadership.

In the Execution Phase, we will discuss why the project implementation failed. Due to a lack of cost controls, the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) began to spend money on employees that were unnecessary (Marchewka 2010). As each new manager came to the project, they brought with them their own specifications. This scope creep lead to an increase in production time as well as in costs. These new leaders were under-qualified for the project management position. You will see that Trilogy failed due to lack of objectives, leadership, communication, and accountability.

Table of Contents
Executive Summary2
Planning4
Execution8
Conclusion13
Bibliography15

Planning
Planning Evaluation Overview
Project management has seen rapid expansion in the business world as companies recognize its importance as a strategic imperative. The planning steps commonly completed, including mission/vision, program and cultural alignment, formal project definition, project definition management, risk management and project leadership, provide the framework for building a project to succeed and keeping it on track. From this perspective, the FBI’s Trilogy Project can be analyzed to reveal where planning was completed effectively, and where planning could have been used to increase the project’s chance of success.

Mission/Vision, Program and Cultural Alignment

The alignment of Trilogy with the FBI’s strategic mission and vision was well conceived and planned, but its alignment with the FBI’s program and culture was unclear. As early as 1990, IT was identified as a high priority need area for the FBI, because it’s phased automation plan was behind schedule and at risk of not being completed, it’s Information Resources Management program lacked authority and effectiveness, top management and field agents were not involved in systems development and their existing systems were not user-friendly and were under-utilized (OIG Audit Report 03-09, 2002). The FBI Information Technology Upgrade Project (FITUP) was proposed to Congress in September 2000, and funded in November of the same year. The $379.8M project was intended to address FBI needs for new hardware, software and networks, and data storage, analysis and sharing applications (OIG Audit Report 05-07, 2005).

FITUP, renamed Trilogy to reflect its three main components, was intended to modernize the FBI’s IT environment, and address numerous issues at the foundation of the agency’s information systems. The strategic alignment of Trilogy with the FBI’s mission/vision is clear, as was the project’s high priority. However, program and cultural...
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