How To Write a Project Brief – Your Step-by-Step Guide
You are a marketer about to launch a huge new campaign; you are a student about to begin a major research project – perhaps a dissertation; you are an HR director, ready to overhaul your entire department; you are an entrepreneur, ready to seek funding for a new software app.
What do you all have in common? A project, that’s what. And that project must have the “blessing” of those whose support you seek – C-level executives, banks and/or investors, an advisor or committee, etc.
So, how do you get that “blessing” before you begin the huge task of implementation? You begin with a project brief – a document that will show your project is worthy and that you have a solid plan for bringing that project to success.
Defining the Project Brief
In short, a project brief is a summary of your project. Obviously, it cannot be produced until you have a clear idea of the following:
- The goals of your project
- The scope and scale of the project. In general, the more complex your project, the longer your brief will be.
- Who is your audience? This will determine the tone, style, and even the structure of your brief.
- How will you determine the success of your project? This will differ based on the type of project you are initiating. Just be certain you have a plan for determining success.
And here’s the thing about a project brief. It cannot be produced until you have worked out all of the details. It’s a work in progress as those details unfold in the production of your project. So work on your brief in pieces, as they are revealed through your work.
Your Guide to Producing that Project Brief
These are the things that your project must include:
1. Who is Your Client?
If you are in the business of developing projects for clients, then you know who you are creating this project for. And the details should be in your brief – the name of the company, the mission of that company, the products/services that the company focuses on, who their competitors are, and how your project promotes their brand and their mission.
Of course, if your project is possibly academic in nature, then your “client” is wholly different. It is an advisor or a committee who must see your project as valuable to the field of knowledge in which you are immersed. “This audience is not looking for any personal benefit,” says Diana Adjadj, Graduate Project director of Trust My Paper. “It is looking for a scholarly effort to make a substantial contribution, not to further any personal goals. The absence of a profit motive makes a huge difference.”
2. Description of the Project
Here, you are trying to answer the questions, “what” and “why.” You need to prepare a description of the project in terms that your audience will understand. Are you revamping an HR department? What does this revamping look like? Are you going to digitize the HR functions, perhaps placing many of them in the could? Explain how this happens and, more important, why you are doing this. What is the benefit of the project’s end result?
In an academic setting, you will want to show why your research project is important to this specific field of knowledge. How will other researchers and practitioners benefit from what you intend to demonstrate?
3. List the Project Objectives
Whether for an outside client or for an internal group of “key decision-makers,” your project must have clear objectives that show how your project will benefit their larger goals. Will your project provide more efficiency? Will it bring more customers to the table? Perhaps the project is a new website design or marketing campaign; perhaps it is moving organizational functions to the cloud. These projects must all have objectives that fit nicely into what an organization sees as its goals.
In academia, project objectives relate to research outcomes. “Graduate students developing research project proposals have end results in mind when they prepare their proposals. These are called hypotheses,” says Marie Fincher, Director of Graduate Assistance Department for a writing service. “Without a clear, scholarly hypothesis, no research proposal can go forward. We work with students on a daily basis to give them the essay writing help they need to develop solid hypotheses. These are not easy.”
Remember, your objectives must focus on outcomes. Be specific, be realistic, and make them measurable. (And always provide a timeline for achievement).
4. Identify the Team Members
For major and complex projects, more than one person will be involved. The “players” and their roles should be clearly defined. Those whose approval is needed must see that there are qualified and adept people involved in all aspects of the hard work that will be required. Their backgrounds and qualifications should be described. If this is a sole project, then still, your expertise should be at least briefly described.
5. Your Schedule and Your Budget
A project schedule must be more defined than just an end-date. There should be milestone markers with dates, even though they may be modified somewhat during the process. The “approvers” need this type of schedule, as do your team members in a complex project undertaking.
A budget is another critical feature of any project. If you have a client who is paying for this project, it will be key for that client to have a full breakdown of expenses. If your project is internal to your organization, approval will often hinge on an exact cost breakdown and justification.
6. Clearly Define the Project Scope
If the scope of the project is not clearly defined, then there can be expectations beyond what you will be producing. Don’t let this happen. Be certain that you identify what the project will NOT include. If your new marketing campaign is focused on the development of video, it is important to state that any other type of marketing content will not be addressed. If you are designing a new website, will that include all of the content – text, and visuals – or not? If you are conducting a research project, what will that project not address, even though it may be related? Your audience must have realistic expectations.
7. How Will You Measure Success?
You must have a method to measure the success of the project. Explain it in as much detail as possible. It should be based solely upon the objectives you have set, and nothing else. If your goal of a new marketing campaign is to increase traffic to a company website, then you will need the analytics in place to measure that increase.
Each Project is Unique
Remember this: your project is uniquely designed for your target audience. It is based upon the unique needs of your client or your organization. If you use these seven key elements as a guide, though, you will get in all of the features that your audience demands.
Author Bio: Donald Fomby is a frequent consultant on business and educational project proposal development for business enterprises, non-profit organizations, and academic researchers, specifically graduate students who use Supreme Dissertations and Grab My Essay for help with their project proposals. Donald works as a thesis and dissertation consultant with both of these writing services.