A good project brief provides a general direction for your project. Like a map, a project brief can be as precise as turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps, or more like a compass, guiding you loosely in the right direction but allowing for more exploration.
Overall, a project brief is successful if it helps everyone working on the project understand the business goals (i.e. increase sign ups, get a minimum product working in the market to test demand, etc.) and the right information to make the best product decisions possible.
If you’re thinking of starting a website or mobile app project, read this and at the end of the article you can download the project brief template we use for our works.
Step One: Understand the project brief’s purpose
If you’ve ever planned a road trip, you know you can’t map out your journey until you determine your destination. A project’s no different: You can’t hit the ground running—or even establish a plan for execution—until you know what the project entails. That’s where a project brief comes in.
While a project plan outlines how a project will get done, a project brief defines the who, what, when, where, and why, setting clear expectations for stakeholders on the front end. Think of it as the “true north” that keeps your project on track. Once work begins, you can use the project brief to help prevent scope creep and guide decisions all the way to completion.
Step Two: Gather the contents for a project brief
Quite often, you’ll receive a ton of project details. Pages upon pages of requirements, team biographies, invoicing instructions, contractual clauses, and the like. It’s very critical that you read through all of that documentation. But when it comes to creating a plan, this is what you need to know to create a project brief. No matter what type of project you’re managing, you need to recap the following items in your project brief:
- Project goals
- The client or team’s intended process or methodology
- The team and their expertise
- Expectations on deliverables
- Expectations on iteration and collaboration when creating and revising deliverables
- Who the client stakeholder team is, and specifically who the main decision-makers are
- The amount of time the client will need to review work and provide feedback
Never leave any of these project brief items unanswered. If you’re responsible for creating the project plan, that means that you must be sure that all of these factors have been considered. If you don’t, the project will definitely hit a bump in the road, and every finger will be pointed at you. By creating a project brief at the start, it will get all project stakeholders on the same page.
For instance, if you have not fully explored the decision-making process, there is a great chance that you’ll encounter the good old “swoop and poop” during the process. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when a stakeholder you weren’t aware of swoops into the project at the 11th hour and poops on the work—putting you back at square one. It’s a budget and timeline nightmare that will become a reality if you don’t practice your due diligence
Just remember, you can get as much info as possible, but details can change. Do your best to document the information you have so you can account for it in your plan.
Step Three: Draft a project brief with our template to save time
Now that you’ve started with a solid plan, understand a project brief’s purpose, and gathered all the appropriate information for a successful brief, it’s time to make your draft. Check out the project brief templates by Moisaka Solutions. At Moisaka, we take care of projects like a mother will take care of its child. Let us know what are your thoughts in the comment section.
Step Four: Start with a solid project plan
You could easily put together a document that shows dates and deliverables, but if you’re managing a project that has a hefty budget, lofty goals, and a whole lot of decisions attached to it, you’ll find that it’s important to take the time to make a detailed project plan.
With the right amount of background information on your project’s scope and requirements—and with a good level of input and collaboration with your team and your clients—you can make a solid, workable plan that will guide everyone through your project. Here’s the thing: It doesn’t have to be difficult to create. On its own, to many, a project plan is a dry document that lists dates. To people who are invested in your project, the plan is the project guide that will dictate how you will get to project milestones, decisions, and eventually project completion. At a minimum, a project plan answers basic questions about the project:
- What are the major deliverables?
- How will we get to those deliverables and the deadline?
- Who is on the project team and what role will they play in those deliverables?
- When will the team meet milestones, and when will other members of the team play a role in contributing to or providing feedback on those deliverables?
Look at it this way: Your plan should educate any reviewer —co-workers and clients included—on the logistics of the project. They trust that you’ve got this, so when reviewing the document, they truly believe that you’ve considered every possible risk. And if you have, it feels good to know that you’ve done a good job and you’re trusted. The first step in creating a good plan is drafting up a good project brief to go over with the client.
Hope this article helped you to start your project brief and plan. Let us know what do you think about technology and creative services offered by Moisaka Solutions or you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for a project consultation.