Imagine this: You are a project manager with a lot of experience managing projects. You really love your job and consider it as a profession. You got your PMP® more than 10 years ago. Your boss and clients are used to congratulating you at project closures. You are a regular speaker on congresses about risk management, Microsoft Project, etc. You volunteer from time to time for PMI® projects and events. Everything seems to show that you are a highly rewarded professional: When you talk about project management, everybody listen. Many colleagues appreciate your expert judgment.
Now you have just closed your last project, but you are not happy at all. It was a consulting project for a big company, aimed to beat the competition through a new technology. Client representatives knew for sure that they could not remain as-is, but they did not know how to change what. Dissapointed by the poor progress of an internal SME team, they decided this was a case for procurement. Your company won the bid thanks to a project plan based on flexibility, adaptation and collaboration with the customer team throughout the project. Your company also included some experienced agile CVs.
From the very beginning, you were aware it was going to be easy to complete the requirements baseline. Very soon you realized that the client team would never sign off a document like that, not to mention the scope statement, WBS, cost baseline, detailed schedule, etc. How on earth could you avoid scope creep? The only planning information you had was about some given milestones and the final project deadline in nine months!
Regarding costs, the contract specified person-days by category, that's all. Having so much uncertainty, how would you develop the project plan? The customer wanted biweekly follow-up meetings. How would you report progress? Comparing to what baselines? Your boss told you not to worry because the team members had succeded on analogous projects before. You could trust them. They should do a great job...