FBI resuscitates Sentinel case management system

Sentinel project to proceed in-house as an agile development under bureau supervision

The FBI’s Sentinel case management system is being reconfigured as an agile development under agency management, according to FBI CIO Chad Fulgham.

Work on the Sentinel development program, which had been suspended since July, will resume in October; much of the development will be done by FBI employees in conjunction with other technology partners, with less reliance on prime contractor Lockheed Martin Corp., Fulgham said in an interview with InformationWeek.

Fulgham described the move as "a significant change in the scope and responsibility" for Lockheed Martin. He projected a target completion date of September 2011, but noted that “agile development projects can be difficult to forecast.”


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Under agile development, teams work on capabilities in small increments that are closely aligned with requirements. Fulgham said the FBI has experience with agile development, which it used to develop Delta, an application to manage FBI agents’ confidential sources.

The FBI awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to develop the multi-phased Sentinel program in 2006. The goal is to provide the bureau with a Web-enabled electronic case management system, which can manage records, workflow and evidence as well as sharing, searching and reporting information.

Two of the four phases of Sentinel have been completed. The bureau partially suspended work the third phase after officials decided that they weren’t satisfied with the final component of the second phase. The current budget for the project is $450 million.

FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate panel in July that given the delays in Phase Two, the bureau is looking to limit reliance on contractors to keep the remainder of the program on schedule and in its budget.

 

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Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 Chris

LOL, man, the company I work for designs entire company management systems for companies and the most expensive project we ever did was 350K and it was to keep track and streamline the work flow for an entire fortune 500 company (and that price included all the bug fixes and it took us 11 months from start to finish). 450 Million??? WTF? I absolutely can't understand how it could possibly cost that much and take that long. We have a guy in our company, we call him "The Wolf". His job is to go in to a company first and figure out how they do things, where all the redundancy is, and then have the company itself eliminate the redundancy so that the company makes sense on an efficient "program level", and then he writes the program cheaply and efficiently so that it reflects the efficient and streamlined company. It sounds to me like the problem is the FBI itself having a lot of redundancy and inefficiency, because that will cause havoc for programmers who then have to try and wrap their brains around all this illogical complexity and create software that essentially functions in an illogical way for an illogical organization.

Wed, Sep 22, 2010 Beel VA

They're due for a new Director in 2011, so maybe the new guy/gal will "un-resuscitate" it!

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