FBI Fails at Agile Software Development

An FBI project to develop a digital case-management system to replace outdated, paper-based processes has been delayed again, despite the agency’s decision to use agile development to hasten its completion. The system, called Sentinel, is now due to be deployed in May, eight months later than the FBI planned when it embarked on the agile development strategy.

In 2006, the FBI awarded Lockheed Martin a $305 million contract to lead development of Sentinel, but it took back control of the project in September 2010 amid delays and cost overruns. At the time, the FBI said it would finish Sentinel within 12 months using agile development…

The FBI attributed the glitches to overburdened legacy computer hardware and said the hardware will need to be upgraded to support Sentinel’s use across the agency, according to the IG. (Looks to me that this may be a case of Agile development in hardware projects)?

“Because of the uncertainties associated with the hardware procurement and the cost associated with the additional delay in Sentinel’s development and procurement, we remain concerned about the FBI’s abilities to remain within its budget,” the IG stated.

The agile development approach is a big bet for FBI CIO Chad Fulgham and CTO Jeff Johnson, former IT executives with brokerage firm Lehman Bros. (wait, did they come from the failed company? See our post on Lehman Bros and Agile), who inherited the project when they joined the agency in 2008 and 2009, respectively, and determined that a new strategy was needed to get the high-profile project across the finish line. – Seems like Lehman couldn’t hold it together with Agile before… 

Nay-sayers of Agile will rejoice as it could be said that Agile fails once again. *derp.

[HT: InfoWeek]

8 Replies to “FBI Fails at Agile Software Development”

  1. Hopefully no one will blame this on Agile, as that’s a red herring. The ‘method’ didn’t fail, those in charge of planning all of the work appear to have. Unless they were using Agile methods to plan the procurement and delivery of hardware, which seems a bit out of the norm, I imagine the development of the systems themselves are on track (if you remove the delays for the outside issues).

  2. For as long as I’ve worked with the government, hey use the same 7 contractors and suffer the same failures regardless of the methodology they use. The Barrier of entry to become the 8th company or other is so high at this point, a cartoon of a bunch of people on a battlefield that repeatedly fall on their own swords would me relevant here.

    Make you want to rethink the rule of 7 in process deviation.

    1. For example, my keyboard has keys that are sticking, but I’m not blaming apple and no one blames baseball because the Cubs can’t win a series.

  3. Pingback: FBI Fails at Agile Software Development | Agile | Syngu

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