Analysis of Fbi’s Virtual Case File Essay

October 20, 2017 March 26th, 2018 Architecture

1. Undertaking Background Virtual Case File ( VCF ) was a package application developed for the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation ( FBI ) between 2000 and 2005. It was built to replace the FBI’s old instance direction system named Automated Case Support ( ACS ) system. VCF was a 3rd constituent of FBI’s Trilogy Project. The first constituent of the Trilogy undertaking was upgrading of package and hardware ( computing machine terminuss. waiters. pressmans and waiters ) . The 2nd component portion was upgrading of FBI’s web substructure. The 3rd constituent was overhauling the FBI’s fact-finding package applications by making VCF. Science Applications International Corporation ( SAIC ) was contracted to plan. develop and implement VCF system in 2001. The Trilogy undertaking was originally budgeted for $ 379. 80 million and scheduled to be deployed in 2004 ( U. S. Department of Justice. 2005 ) .

The chief purpose of VCF was to automatize the FBI’s paper-based systems and procedures. let FBI agents and analysts to obtain of import information about instances anyplace in the United States. and to finally replace the antiquated ACS system ( Goldstein. 2005 ) . VCF would besides include an grounds direction faculty. a instance direction faculty and a records direction faculty. There was no commercial package bundle available that could run into FBI’s demands in 2001 when the undertaking started. so a custom-developed system solution was required ( Marchewka. 2010 ) .

The VCF undertaking failed to run into its initial deadline and was ne’er deployed. It was officially cancelled by the FBI in April 2005 after 4 old ages of undertaking activity and bing $ 581 million ( Goldstein. 2005 ; U. S. Department of Justice. 2005 ) .

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2. Undertaking Review The FBI Trilogy undertaking was delayed by about one twelvemonth. The two constituents were successfully completed but Virtual Case File was ne’er completed. The lone functioning characteristic of the VCF system was the workflow constituent. Users were able to make instance bundles and automatize the entry procedure.

A thorough tested conducted by the FBI from opening a instance. making leads and shuting an probe identified about 400 jobs. The FBI could non make. hunt and analyse instance leads and instance files ( U. S. Department of Justice. 2005 ) . The VCF system did non hold an offline usage manner. FBI agents working on the instance could non pull out instance stuffs from the system to utilize when working in the field. The VCF did non let users to screen columns of informations to let easier searching of information. It did hold an audit trail of instance files in the system hence was prone to security breaches. In a nut-shell. the VCF system did non run into the FBI’s current demands.

3. Reasons for failure The VCF undertaking failed because of a sequence of errors that lead to a concatenation of events that finally lead to the ultimate failure of the undertaking. The causes of the undertaking are common with other failed IT undertakings. The causes of failure will be analysed against the CHAOS critical success factors for undertakings ( Standish Group. 2009 ) .

3. 1User Engagement There was deficiency of user engagement in the VCF undertaking. Cardinal users were ne’er involved from the demands assemblage and serviceability testing phase. which are the cardinal phases of an IT undertaking. Without affecting users. the SAIC development squad found it really hard to understand all the demands. As a consequence features that were non required were implemented while required characteristics were non implemented.

3. 2Executive Management Support From the start of the undertaking. it was clear that the VCF undertaking lacked executive support. Even though financess were made available for the undertaking. there was an increasing internal and external force per unit area to finish the system rapidly ( Goldstein. 2005 ) . The September 11 2001 bombardments increased the demand for the system. This resulted in SAIC holding to unrealistic undertaking deadlines and taking cutoffs in footings of planning and system development. .

3. 3Clear Statement of Requirements Harmonizing to Mueller ( 2005 ) . the FBI did non hold complete set of system demands when the contract was awarded to SAIC. Even though the FBI had an 800-plus demands papers. the demands were excessively complicated. uncomplete and non sufficiently defined. Besides the demands paperss focused more on the finer inside informations of the system layout alternatively of the high degree maps of the system ( Goldstein. 2005 ) . Failure of the VCF undertaking was besides caused by continuously altering demands. During the undertaking life-cycle. the FBI made 400 alteration petitions most of which had major impact on what was already designed and produced.

3. 4Proper be aftering The VCF undertaking lacked of proper planning. First. the FBI had no Chief Information Officer ( CIO ) at the start of the undertaking. Without a CIO. the FBI had no standard package substructure. The FBI had 23 divisions. each with their ain IT budget. probes database and applications ( Goldstein. 2005 ) . Second. the FBI had no Enterprise Architecture ( EA ) in topographic point to help them in doing effectual determinations about IT undertakings. This shortage lead to the SAIC developers holding no formal certification of how the FBI’s IT construction and systems are mapped to its procedures to steer them during the development of the VCF system. Besides SAIC was awarded a contract that did non hold a defined undertaking agenda and mileposts.

3. 5Realistic Expectations The pressing demand for the VCF system by the FBI. force per unit area from the populace and authorities lead to SAIC and the FBI holding to unrealistic and ambitious undertaking completion day of the months. Due to the force per unit area. SAIC agreed to present the initial version of the VCF 6 months earlier than the original day of the month.

3. 6Smaller Project Milestones SAIC wanted to present a full working system without any mileposts. This resulted in immense and major re-changes of the system during system reappraisal and testing.

3. 7Competent Staff At the start of the undertaking. the FBI had no Chief Information Officer. This resulted in the assignment of a undertaking director. who had no experience in IT undertaking direction ( Goldstein. 2005 ) . Sing the size and budget of the VCF undertaking it was really critical to hold a really experient undertaking director to head the undertaking. Having an inexperient undertaking director can take to hapless undertaking direction patterns and policies. For illustration. SAIC was awarded a weak contract that did non stipulate completion mileposts. reappraisal phases and punishments for lost mileposts ( U. S. Department of Justice. 2005 ) . In add-on. the contract was based on hours worked instead than deliverables ( Mueller. 2005 ) . In a nut-shell all the FBI had an inexperienced IT squad with no experience in package development undertakings and general undertaking direction.

3. 8Ownership The VCF undertaking had 15 different cardinal forces. this included 5 different main information officers and 10 different undertaking directors during the undertaking span ( U. S. Department of Justice. 2005 ) . This high turnover in cardinal forces involved in the undertaking lead to a deficiency of undertaking ownership and answerability.

3. 9Clear Vision & A ; Objectives The VCF undertaking lacked clear aims. The terrorist onslaughts in September 11 2001. Hanssen espionage instance and Oklahoma City bombing instance triggered the FBI to regularly alter the undertaking objectives ( U. S. Department of Justice. 2005 ) .

4. Options to forestall failure This subdivision will foreground some the options that the FBI could hold considered to debar failure of the VCF undertaking.

4. 1Enterprise Architecture The FBI should hold considered holding EA before get downing the VCF undertaking. It would hold helped SAIC in mapping the FBI procedures and systems. The deficiency of an EA leads to a hapless demands analysis which increases the possibilities of an IT undertaking neglecting.

4. 2Human Resources The FBI should hold considered holding a CIO and experienced IT undertaking director before presenting the contract. A CIO would hold ensured that the FBI has equal forces with the right accomplishments set for the VCF undertaking. An experient undertaking director will hold ensured that proper undertaking direction processs and be aftering are followed.

4. 3Contract direction Sing the size. complexness and cost of the undertaking the FBI needed a chiseled contract that explicitly states and addresses cardinal issues such as mileposts. deliverables and punishments. Besides the payment footings of the contract should hold been based on deliverables and mileposts.

4. 4Requirement analysis A thorough demands analysis should hold been done that would hold produced an thoroughly elaborate demands paperss. SAIC should non hold started developing the system without holding a thorough apprehension of the demands.

4. 5Phased attack Sing the size and complexness of the undertaking. the undertaking should hold been developed and deployed in stages. A big-bang attack to big IT undertakings normally fails.

4. 6Communication Better communicating was need between FBI. SAIC and the executive direction. This would hold avoided unrealistic agendas and outlooks between the 3 members.

5. Lessons for Management This subdivision will foreground some the cardinal lessons to be learned from the failure of the VCF undertaking.

5. 1Enterprise Architecture ( EA ) is critical for IT An EA is extremely of import in strategically pull offing a company’s investing in IT and should be a foundation for any big IT undertaking.

5. 2Plan before you act Large IT undertakings need thorough planning of resources and clip. This besides involves holding clear and complete demands before any development work is started.

5. 3Human capital direction Having the right people with right accomplishments and experience at the right places is critical. Besides guaranting minimum turnover of cardinal forces during a project’s life-cycle is critical to the success of the undertaking.

5. 4Incremental attack Large IT undertakings need to be developed and deployed in stages. A phased attack helps to minimise the hazard of failure and allows jobs to place and fixed early.

5. 5Financial resources Financial capital is non a short cut to faster bringing. Large IT undertakings need realistic agendas to guarantee their success.


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