Project management is an intensive process. There's so much that goes into planning, implementing, and monitoring the projects, and without a guiding framework, a lot of things could fall through the cracks. Perhaps one of the most critical pre-project elements is letting the client know exactly what the project entails or giving the stakeholders a summary of the key project details. This is the best way to ensure that your project delivery and the client expectations align.
You should also note that even after client approval, there’s still a lot of planning and communication involved. You need to update the main stakeholders on the project progress and keep in touch with the team to ensure that they understand the project requirements. The best way to maintain this balance is through a project brief.
In this guide, we'll take you through everything you need to know about project briefs, including the best practices when writing one and a sample template for the project summary.
A project brief is a document that highlights the key elements of a project. This includes everything that falls within the project scope, the project's main goals, and the project objectives. A project brief also indicates what you need to do to achieve these objectives/goals and the time it will take you to realize them.
Think of it as a summary of the entire project that you share with the cross-functional collaborators and the key project stakeholders. It should communicate why you're undertaking the project, the main requirements, and the process you'll use to manage it without making it too detailed. So, the brief should technically be a broken-down version of the project plan.
You should note that when creating a project brief, you cannot use a one-size fit's all approach. Keep in mind that the complexity and scope of projects often differ, and the brief you create should be unique to the project you're undertaking. This means that there are project briefs that will end up being a few paragraphs while others could take an entire page.
Ideally, you should create project briefs at the beginning of the project. This unites everyone involved, and it helps them understand and fulfill the project's main objectives.
Project briefs are great communication tools. They help everyone involved in the project to understand its main objectives & goals, ensuring successful implementation. It’s like the unifying factor that ensures all the project stakeholders work together towards a common goal.
This document is like a framework for the entire project, and it highlights what the project parameters are and what everyone needs to do for the successful completion of the project.
Some of the benefits of creating a project brief include;
A project brief also helps you set client expectations so that they don't anticipate more than you can deliver. It highlights vital details such as the key market competitors, the ideal target audience, and the client's goals and objectives.
While project briefs should only contain a summary of the project, they should be thorough. They should strike the ideal balance between an agenda overview and an elevator pitch. They should also outline the what, whom, where, when, and why of the entire project in a compact way.
Even though the format of your project brief will often vary, there are some constant elements;
Project briefs are a fundamental element of all projects, and project managers are usually tasked with creating them. This is because they are responsible for managing the project's resources as well as creating the project schedule. You should, however, note that it's impossible to just create a project brief from thin air. Instead, you must tap into various resources to ensure the document is accurate.
When writing your project brief, you should choose the best approach based on the people involved in the project and the project type. The main aim is to ensure that the brief flows naturally so that it makes sense to all the stakeholders. Here are the best practices for crafting one:
Find out more about your client's brand, including their business goals. This will help you understand the project's primary purpose and assist your team in creating an end product or service that aligns with the client's business goals.
You need to ensure that everyone gets off on the right footing at the beginning of the project by providing a project overview. You should also add relevant context to set the project expectations.
You should adopt a SMART approach when setting the timelines.
Project Timelines: February 17th, 2022 to April 30th, 2022
February 17th: Kickoff meeting
March 6th: Delivery of beta version from the product team.
March 23rd: Upload initial design assets
April 9th: Approval of design assets
April 18th: Product finalization
April 30th: Product launch
Make sure everyone involved in the project knows what role they should play by making the brief relevant to them.
Creating a project brief is a delicate process, and you should avoid common mistakes such as:
Finally, make sure you put in all the work. Find out as much as you can about the project and then condense it into some form of summary.