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The Virtual Case File Program

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The Virtual Case File program that was being built in order to upgrade the FBI from their archaic 1920s paper files into the current state of the technology world was a catastrophic disaster and ended with a complete scrapping of the project. There were many issues that came from this project and a lot of lessons that could be learned from this poorly crafted and poorly managed program. One lesson that could be learned is the absolute need for software requirements to be written down into a document before development begins. A second lesson that could be pulled from this case study is the need for experienced and qualified personnel in both the management and engineering aspect. If the management is not qualified and/or there is a high…show more content…
The Virtual Case File program was set to fail from the beginning due to a lack of use dealing with requirements engineering. The engineers on the project were given a basic idea of what the program was to be and then sent to work without any outline, without knowing what exactly was needed or what the FBI required the program to have. The lack of requirements engineering led to massive amounts of code in the program that could not even be utilized or used. “It wasn 't long before the change requests started rolling in—roughly 400 from December 2002 to December 2003, according to SAIC. “Once they saw the product of the code we wrote, then they would say, 'Oh, we 've got to change this. That isn 't what I meant, '" said SAIC 's Reynolds.” [2] There were issues with the system not being able to sort data properly and FBI agents found themselves reverting back to physical paper folders instead of using the program they were given that claimed it would bring them up to modern day technology standards and make their jobs easier. The requirements of the program should not have been left to the hands of outside contractors who were lacking experience and knowledge of what the FBI truly needed in this new piece of software. Instead they should have, at least, been left in the hands of experienced FBI programmers who did know what was needed. The second lesson that could be learned from the Virtual Case File event is the need for a
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