Write a Project Brief in four steps
In my last article, I outlined the seven core project documents in PRINCE2 projects. In this article, I take a closer look at the first of this essential paperwork: the Project Brief.
What is a Project Brief?
Created during the process of starting a PRINCE2 project, the Project Brief provides the foundation for the initiation of the project. As its name suggests, the Project Brief is, well, brief. It is in the initiation stage that it will be extended and refined.
What is contained in the Project Brief?
The Project Brief should include the:
- Project definition
- Outline business case
- Project’s products’ descriptions
- Project management structure
- Project approach
- Role descriptions
How can the Project Brief be presented?
While a Project Brief is referred to as documentation, it can be presented in a variety of ways. For example, it may be delivered on paper, or by a PowerPoint presentation, or by direct entry into a project management tool.
What should a Project Brief achieve?
When developing a Project Brief, you should ensure that it achieves the following aims:
- It is clear, concise, and brief
- It reflects the project mandate (e.g. the requirements of the business and users)
- It considers several solutions
- It recommends a project approach that provides the greatest chance of a successful outcome
- It provides objectives that are aligned with the organisation’s values and mission
4 steps to develop an effective Project Brief
Step 1: Ensure the project plan is robust
The Project Brief could be considered as an educational tool. It outlines the logistics of the project for an audience which may include colleagues and clients. You should consider:
- The project deliverables
- The method of achieving those deliverables
- The people who will be on the project team, and the roles they will take
- Whether milestones will be achievable
- How feedback will be communicated
You will need background information, to ensure that the project is deliverable and robust.
Step 2: Set objectives for the Project Brief
You can’t plan a road trip until you know the destination. Set objectives for the Project Brief. These should include the how, who, what, when, where, and why of the project. Clear goals and expectations should be set within the Project Brief to manage the project and avoid scope creep.
Step 3: Strip back information gathered
It’s likely that you will have gathered a ton of information to support the Project Brief. While you must review all of this, remember that your Project Brief needs to be brief and must outline:
- Project goals
- The project approach
- The team, their expertise, and their roles
- Expectations on deliverables
- Expectations on collaboration
- Who the main decision-makers are
- The amount of time the client will need to review work and provide feedback
Step 4: Use a Project Brief template
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Draft your Project Brief using a Project Brief template. This will keep you on track, and ensure that all points required are covered.
Next week, I’ll look at the detail behind the Risk Register. Meanwhile, do you have a project under consideration? Have you developed your Project Brief? Contact Your Project Manager for the help you need: