# $170M FBI Software Failure: 730KLoc *$232.88 / line

Choice "incompetent software project management" quotes:

"[T]he FBI made a fateful choice: It wanted SAIC to build the new software system from scratch rather than modifying commercially available, off-the-shelf software. Later, the company would say the FBI made that decision independently; FBI officials countered that SAIC pushed them into it...."

"Most important, the FBI planned to launch the new software all at once, with minimal testing beforehand...."

"[T]he FBI had few people in house with the expertise to develop the kind of sophisticated information technology systems that it would need. As a result, the agency had been turning increasingly to private contractors for help....In essence, the FBI has left the task of defining and identifying its essential operational processes and its IT concept of operations to outsiders."

"[T]he SAIC software was incomplete, inadequate and so poorly designed that it would be essentially unusable under real-world conditions. Even in rudimentary tests, the system did not comply with basic requirements."

"[SAIC] kept 200 programmers on staff doing "make work," he said, when a couple of dozen would have been enough. The company's attitude was that "it's other people's money, so they'll burn it every which way they want to," he said."

"[SAIC] Executive Vice President Arnold Punaro submitted testimony to Congress .... FBI officials, he said, took a "trial and error, 'we will know it when we see it' approach to development." " [Changing user requirements on a \\$170M project? Heaven forfend! -- Larry]

Daniel Guttman captures the problem: "[T]he legal fiction is that the government knows what it's doing and is capable of taking charge. The contractors are taking advantage of that legal fiction." But thank God that's over: "Azmi and other FBI officials say Sentinel is designed to be everything VCF was not, with specific requirements, regular milestones and aggressive oversight."

I feel so much better now.