FBI Virtual Case File

Following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed and troubled projects from around the world.


Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) – USA
Project :
Virtual Case File – Project Trilogy
Date : Apr 2005 Cost : $170M USD

Synopsis :
Ambitious program to replace paper based reporting of crimes and investigations with an online system is scrapped.  System was intended to aid efficiencies and allow pieces of information gathered through different channels at different times to be connected up thereby allowing for more effective investigations through better flows of information.

Despite assurances given to Congress that the project was proceeding, the project was in serious trouble and was eventually deemed unfit for use.  The project was ultimately scrapped in 2005 and the FBI started out again with a completely new project (Sentinel)

Contributing factors as reported in the press :
Poor requirements and continual changes in specifications. Poor communications.  Lack of planning.  Lack of central architecture.  Lack of oversight.

Reference links :

  1. Wikipedia page on the VCF
  2. Who killed the Virtual Case File – IEEE Spectrum
  3. The FBI upgrade that wasn’t – Washington Post
  4. US Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General – Trilogy Audit – Apr 2005