Dept. Homeland Security

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

Department of Homeland Security – Emerge2 Project – USA
Date : Sep 2006     Cost :  $20M

Synopsis :
Plans for the Emerge2 system (Electronically Managing Enterprise Resources for Government Efficiency and Effectiveness ) are scuttled after it becomes clear the project has headed off in the wrong direction.  Original plan called for the development of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that would integrate all of the divisions that make up the Department of Homeland Security, but early problems left the project fatally flawed.  In the words of the department’s chief financial officer, David Norquist, “With respect to our systems-modernization efforts, let me state that Emerge2 is dead.”

Note: Although the project ended in failure, the DHS is due credit for cancelling the project after only $20M of the $229M budget was spent.  Many such failures are allowed to proceed even though people know there are significant problems, resulting in significantly higher losses than in this case.

Contributing factors as reported in the press :
In the words of David Norquist “The approach was not balanced enough across the framework of people, policies, processes, systems and assurance—it was too heavily weighted on systems transformation to lead changes in the other areas” ( see Techcentric Myopia pattern)

Reference links :

  1. DHS Scuttles Emerge2 Program
  2. Emerge2’s failure sends DHS back to the drawing board