The Programmer's Lament: It Could Totally Be Worse!

You think Healthcare Dot Gov is a national disaster? Well let’s not forget this:

In June, 2001, the F.B.I. awarded the contractor Science Applications International Corp. (S.A.I.C.) a fourteen-million-dollar contract to upgrade the F.B.I.’s computer systems. The project was called Virtual Case File, or V.C.F., and it would ultimately cost over six hundred million dollars before finally being abandoned, in early 2005, unfinished and never deployed. V.C.F. was then replaced with a project called Sentinel, expected to launch in 2009, which was “designed to be everything V.C.F. was not, with specific requirements, regular milestones and aggressive oversight,” according to F.B.I. officials who spoke to the Washington Post in 2006. But by 2010, Sentinel was also being described as “troubled,” and only two out of a planned four phases had been completed. Sentinel was finally deployed on July 1, 2012, after the F.B.I. took over the project from the contractor Lockheed-Martin in 2010, bringing it in-house for completion—at an ultimate cost of at least four hundred and fifty-one million dollars. In the end, the upgrade took the F.B.I. more than a decade and over a billion dollars.