The PJ Tatler

History of Successful Major Government Software Programs

A couple of the editors were interested in a bullet list of large-scale government software programs that have actually delivered on time.

I’m thinking.


“Although it’s taken 12 years and $3.24 billion so far, a decades-long effort to upgrade the Internal Revenue Service’s business systems is delivering value to taxpayers, the agency’s inspector general says in a new report, but security problems may be holding the efforts back.

The modernization program began in 1999, and involves integrating “thousands” of different hardware and software components. Among its goals were issuing refunds five days faster, offering electronic filing for businesses, web-based services for taxpayers and accountants and improved customer service.”



  • Sentinel Audit II: Status of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Case Management System (Redacte)

(Wikipedia) “Virtual Case File (or VCF) was a software application developed by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) between 2000 and 2005. The project was officially abandoned in January 2005, while still in development stage and cost the federal government nearly $170 million. In 2006, the Washington Post wrote “In a 318-page report, completed in January 2005 and obtained by The Post under the Freedom of Information Act, [the Aerospace Corporation] said the SAIC software was incomplete, inadequate and so poorly designed that it would be essentially unusable under real-world conditions. Even in rudimentary tests, the system did not comply with basic requirements, the report said. It did not include network-management or archiving systems—a failing that would put crucial law enforcement and national security data at risk”[1]

This is hard.