Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mangled IT Projects: The Status Quo For Federal IT

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Who's really surprised about the mess that is Healthcare.gov [.. i]f we are to [look at] the implementation on [..] of similar federal IT projects [.. we see they are] ailing, overspent, or simply dead on arrival in some cases.

Last year, the US Air Force pulled the final life support on its ill-fated ERP project which burned through about $1 Billion in taxpayer money before they decided to cut their losses. Dubbed the Expeditionary Combat Support System, it was meant to replace over 200 legacy systems in use now, and the project began in earnest all the way back in 2005 -- a full 8 years before it was ultimately canned. The project was going to necessitate another $1.1 billion just to get 25% of the original scope, and even that was shooting for a target completion of at least 2020.

Other prime examples of dead-end IT projects include the FBI's infamous Virtual Case File initiative which was dumped in 2005. Although the cost and scope of the project was far smaller than the Air Force catastrophe, at only $170 Million, it's still a black eye on the agency.

The replacement to Virtual Case File, called Sentinel, went live in 2012 only after $451 Million spent in taxpayer money. The project was initially developed to meet the needs of the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, in order for government systems to more easily share information on intelligence. 11 years after the attacks, America's most public law enforcement behemoth finally had a system in place to allow it to work the way it needed.

Sentinel only incurred project overrun costs of $26 Million. The emphasis on only is purely sarcastic.

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Jeez; I thought $10,000 Pentagon toilet seat was the biggest joke. Projects listed above are beyond hilarious.