How To Write a Project Brief
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Project briefs are essential to ensure that projects are executed effectively. Regardless of whether you're working to deliver a service or create a product, a project brief can set your project up for success. Fortunately, it's easy to learn how to create a project brief. In this article, we will discuss what a project brief is and how to write one.
What is a project brief?
A project brief is an important document that outlines a project's ideas. A good project brief is like a map that guides a project toward successful completion. It should summarize the project approach and the process that a team will use to achieve the project's goals. It should include all of the project objectives, milestones, major tasks, deliverables and necessary resources. It will lay out requirements and the timeframe for accomplishing those requirements. A project brief should answer the questions of who, what, when and why as they pertain to the project.
A project brief also saves time and money by ensuring that you understand what is required to make the project successful from the very beginning. Writing a project brief ensures that your project goes smoothly and that you're left with a happy client.
How to write a project brief
In order to take advantage of the benefits of a project brief, you need to understand how to write one. The following are the basic elements to include in your project brief:
1. Company profile
The first step in creating a project brief is to understand who your client is and to convey that understanding in a company profile. Start with an overview of the client's business. Include name, product lines, industry features and other elements that will help your team to understand the client and the brand. It will help to look at the company's mission and vision. You'll also need to understand who the client's competitors are.
2. Project overview
The next section should include the project description and details on the project's scope and scale. What is the purpose of the project? Is it to build a website? To make a gadget? Explain that here.
This is also where you'll outline who will be responsible for different processes throughout the course of the project. You'll also want to find out why your client wants to take on this project and identify any potential roadblocks.
Learn More: Project Management: What is Scope?
3. Objectives, scope and metrics
Lay out clear, well-defined, quantifiable, realistic objectives that the project is intended to achieve. Doing this at the onset of a project will help to keep your team on track. This is also where you'll want to define what is, and isn't, in your project's scope.
Specify what the metrics are for determining the success of the project. These should be measurable goals. For example, your goal may be to help your client boost online sales by 50%. This is the time to make sure that you have the resources needed to achieve your objectives.
Related: How to Write Project Objectives
4. Target audience
Personalize your project by developing an understanding of the target audience. These will be the users of the product that the project creates. You'll want to determine the target audience's demographic information, behavior, preferences, interests and goals. Your client may provide this information or some research may be required on your part. This information will provide you with a keen insight on how to meet your target audience's needs.
Related: Defining Your Target Audience
5. Schedule and budget
In this section, you'll want to determine a timeline for achieving your objectives and for finalizing the project. Set milestones with due dates to help you stay on track and reach your goals. This is also where you'll want to set an overall budget for the project. Clearly state how the budget will be allocated.
The following is an example of a project brief for a project to redesign a client's website:
Zippy Cycles is a bicycle manufacturer based in Raleigh, North Carolina, that specializes in high quality, affordable bicycles, tricycles and safety accessories for boys and girls ages 3 to 12. The company's mission statement is “To design, manufacture and distribute bicycles and tricycles for young boys and girls, to deliver value to our customers and to create a company culture that is conducive to creativity and to the happiness of our employees.” Zippy's vision is “A world in which every young boy and girl has access to a safe, fun bicycle or tricycle.”
Zippy's website has been operating with the existing visual design architecture since it went online in 2003. The site has added significant content since that time, including 8,000 pages and a vast library of linked documents. Because of this, the website has become increasingly difficult for the user to navigate. The site receives 2,000 more unique visitors per day than it received when it was launched, but average time on site and number of pages visited have been decreasing even as unique page visits increase.
Objectives, scope and metrics
The objectives of this project include:
Migrating to a content management system (CMS)
Improving navigation so that it is easier for visitors to locate the content they're looking for
Updated and modern visual design
The metrics of this project include:
Boosting time spent on the site by 25%
Increasing number of pages visited by 15%
The following is outside the scope of this project:
Creating new website material
The target audience for this project includes children under 12 years old and their parents. Primary motivating factors for the children include color, design and fun features like bells and streamers. Primary concerns of the parents include cost and safety.
Schedule and budget
The project will follow the following schedule:
The deadline for the final website redesign is August 31, 2021.
A 25% design review meeting will be held with the client on or before February 15, 2021.
A 50% design review meeting will be held with the client on or before April 30, 2021.
A 75% design review meeting will be held with the client on or before June 30, 2021.
The projected budget is $25,000.
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