"This thesis examines the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) early acquisition shortcomings identified by the Government Accountability Office, DHS Inspector General and Congressional Research Service reports. Challenges identified in the initial development of HSIN reveal a lack of adequate program management, requirements planning, risk analysis and architectural design led to low user acceptance and continued DHS information-sharing challenges. Lessons learned from HSIN are examined to determine which best practices can help ensure major government software-acquisition projects meet user's needs. Often overlooked, but critical, software program-management practices include user requirements planning that focuses development on the highest priority tasks and encourages the timely accomplishment of project milestones, risk planning that ensures potential roadblocks are understood and addressed, and architectural design practices that foster the integration of both newly developed and legacy information systems. Without initial and continuous life-cycle requirements, risk and architectural planning, software projects run an increased risk of going over budget, missing operational milestones and ultimately not meeting its user's needs."
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