1. The sentinel is a new information and case management file developed to integrate the components of commercial (Hite, 2007).
The Sentinel was intended to provide an electronic management, management of the work flow, management of the evidence, repotting capabilities, search and the sharing of information with other law enforcers and the intelligence at the community level by the FBI (Hite, 2007).
This is primarily intended to improve the FBI capabilities by adopting the use of electronic system in information sharing rather than the paper-based system of reporting. The sentinel therefore provides support to the FBI priorities with the key priority being the prevention of terrorist attacks (Hite, 2007). Vista system on the other hand was established as a veteran’s Administrative health information system. The Veterans association is a stage department that provides benefits to the United States military veterans (Hite, 2007). Among the benefits are the health benefits provided by the Veterans Health Administration. VistA is a highly sophisticated national infrastructure that was developed to enable for easy data sharing, give specific central support and a necessary technical tool to the Veterans Health Administration in order to have a better Health Information System.
Therefore VistA is an information systems and technology architecture for the Veterans health Administration data recording and management. This way, the Veterans Health Administration could have an orderly computerize medical documentation at every facility for easy and efficient delivery of its mandate through the use of VistA. Therefore while the Sentinel was developing purposely to assist to the FBI to combat security; the VistA was mainly developed for handling of medical records.
The sentinel was developed in phases with every phase having its own unique features and applications by the FBI in delivering their mandates. Phase one of the Sentinel for instance provided the FBI with an improved search facilities as well as a user friendly access to information available in the Automated case support system through the net by the FBI. This face had a personal workbox for user’s cases and the Squad workbox for resource management by the supervisors (Etter, Mccarthy & Asken, 2011). Each of the phases call for certain amount of dollars for funding and took unspecified period of time. This stages involved in the development of the Sentinel delayed its full completion and thus affecting its outcome. The development of VistA on the other hand did not involve developmental stages. Therefore the completion of the VistA took a short time and it was soon delivery it’s intensions (Etter, Mccarthy & Asken, 2011).
2.The governance of the project management office for the Sentinel development project was characterized by unprofessional project governance and management.
This poor governance of the project led to inconsistency in the cost of the project and the duration taken by the project to come to a full completion. The project management office for the sentinel project initially gave an initial estimation of the project to cost $425 million and its completion to be realized by December 2009 (Franzel, 2011). This completion date was never practical and it had to be extended to September 2010 which is a nine months delay in the project completion date. There was also an estimated increase in the cost of the project by $29 million making the total cost of the project to rise to $451 million (Franzel, 2011).
Furthermore the highly needed skills and the integrated management more user involvement in the running of the project was lacking. There was I high turnover of project staff with vacancies in the project management office (Franzel, 2011). The staffing plan used by the sentinel project management office was not meeting the standards of staffing levels and required skills for the project. This is a clear indication of poor and inefficient project governance marked by lack of accountability of funds usage and laxity in mandate delivery. The project management office for the VistA development on the other was characterized by a lot of efficiency and professionalism in project development and management (Franzel, 2011). This project governance delivered to their mandate. They were dedicated and aggressive to see that the project is realized in time and thus there was employment of people with required skills needed for the project accomplishment. The project management office was fully accountable to use and expenditure of funds allocated to the project (Franzel, 2011).
3. a. Both the project management by the FBI on the Sentinel development project and the FBI management on the Trilogy project were not clearly informed on the projects ‘required skilled to be employed.
They also lacked the required skill in the development of the Sentinel and also the development of Trilogy (Franzel, 2011). This is the reason as to why the two projects were contracted to a contractor. The lack of information on the skills required by the projects, led to the high rate of worker turnover (Franzel, 2011). This caused a lot of challenges in working on the projects. Furthermore, it was difficult for the management in the two projects to determine the right and most appropriate contractor for the projects (Franzel, 2011). As a result, wrong contractors were hired for the projects. This led to delay in completion of the project and unnecessary increase in the cost of the project.
3. b. the FBI management on the sentinel project and the FBI management on the development of Trilogy project were both not sure on the cost of the project.
The FBI management on the Sentinel project worked with estimated figures that kept on changing and rising of eyebrows (Franzel, 2011). The estimations were made on the total cost of the project, the cost of hiring a contractor to develop and maintain the project and the payments for the project management office. All these estimations led to underestimation of the project cost and led to more fund requests for the project completion (Franzel, 2011). Similarly the FBI management on the Trilogy project was not certain on the actual cost of the project and thus they had to estimate the project cost. The underestimation of the general project cost call for them to source for more funds. The uncertainty on the real cost of the projects by the two FBI management groups resulted in delayed completion of the projects. There was also increase in the accountability questions on the project management from activists and all the concern bodies on the use of taxpayers’ money.
4. There was a delay in the procurement of the needed additional legacy hardware.
There was also lack of full assessment of the cost of hiring personnel to handle the revised schedule. This leaves the FBI with no idea on how this delay will impact on the initial Sentinels budget of $451 million (page 22). This state creates a lot of uncertainty to the FBI’s quest to complete the project (Franzel, 2011).
Lack of documentation by the FBI on whether any of the functionality developed met the set criteria. This due to the fact that testing had not been carried out to completion in time to establish whether the criteria had been met as the testing personnel encountered a lot of difficulty in setting up the testing programs, procedures and software (Franzel, 2011). The project personnel therefore were not able to know whether the functionality development had been completed at the end of each print (23).
The FBI was not able to accurately assess the remaining amount of work or the reliability of the functionality of those designated to be complete. This is evident by the inconsistent application of completion criteria. The criteria include verifications to know whether the functionality is field ready and identification of the work completed (page 24).
Hiring expertise contractors as support contractors before fully identifying the final cost in meeting this extra requirement and therefore lacking the necessary modifications in respond to these contracts (page 24).
Disagreement among the Sentinel program personnel and the FBI IT project governance personnel and the other Sentinel stake holders on regard to which documents are needed for the sentinel project, information that should be contained in those documents and when and to whom the document should be delivered (Franzel, 2011). There were concerns by the FBI that the documentation provided to them was not sufficient to enabler them carry out their functions in relation to the Sentinel project (25).
There was a prevention of the independent verification and validation team from doing timely reviews of the documentation of the development of the Sentinel system by the FBI (Etter, et. al., 2011). This prevented the access to the documents by the team resulting in inability to provide the FBI with early reviews and assessment on the maturity of the Sentinel’s design. The team also could not be able to inform the FBI how the important elements of the system work together to provide capabilities required to the users (Etter, et. al., 2011).
5. The Sentinel project lacked the operational aspect of management.
This is an aspect needed by any business or organization on the day to day running of the business or organization in a smooth manner (Etter, et. al., 2011). This aspect of management is therefore responsible for ensuring that the staffs are fully equipped with necessary skills and maintaining that members are dedicated at all times in meeting the set goals. The Sentinel project was characterized by turbulence in its running since this aspect was sufficiently in place.
6. Project management office is used running all the management requirements of a project.
If were in the project management office for the Sentinel project, I would use this position to ensure skilled and well informed personnel in the development of the Sentinel are hired (Etter, et. al., 2011). I would achieve this through ensuring that I followed the staffing standards at all times. With skilled and fully informed personnel working on the project, the high rate of worker turnover could be minimized (Etter, et. al., 2011). Furthermore I would use the office to set reasonable timelines under which the project goals are to be achieved by keenly observing all possibilities and consulting such project experts. This way the project will be easily achieved within the set time duration and save on unnecessary expenditure beyond what is initially budgeted (Etter, et. al., 2011).
Etter, D., Mccarthy, L. B. & Asken, M. J. (2011). Police Negotiations with War Veterans Seeing Through the Residual Fog of War. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 2011, 80 (7), p1-10.
Franzel, J.M. (2011). Federal Bureau of Investigation: Actions Taken to Address Most Procurement Recommendations. GAO Reports, 2011, preceding p1-34.
Hite, R. C. (2007). Information Technology: FBI Following a Number of Key Acquisition Practices on New Case Management System but Improvements Still Needed: GAO-07-912. GAO Reports, 8/3/2007, p1.