One of the most highly publicized software development project failures belongs to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Before 2000, many of the agency’s records were paper-based, preventing collaboration and analysis enabled by modern-day computer systems — a major shortcoming made public by the events of 9/11. Just before September 11, the FBI rolled out plans to develop a virtual case file system that would merge obsolete applications into a single, up-to-date system, allowing agents to analyze and share information that could help them connect the dots in their investigations. But the modernization plan wasn’t enough to quell extreme media criticism of the bureau’s IT shortcomings. The criticism forced accelerated development timelines for the FBI’s new, custom-built system. What were they to do?
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