What is a project brief?

Introduction

A project brief is a communication tool between yourself and your chosen company. A good brief is an essential document, which defines the primary requirements for your project. The brief can be written in a variety of document formats, such as Word document, PDF, Powerpoint presentation, etc.

Project brief

Why you need a brief in a web development project

Creating a project brief takes time and effort, but it is a worthwhile endeavour for the following reasons:

  • Helps to get better quality
    The project brief aims to align the work of the team you have hired with your vision of the project. The team gets to know you better as a client, understand the key features of the task, and your goals and expectations for the project.
  • Saves time and money
    When you have defined your expectations and what your project is about, you prevent the team from going in the wrong direction. Redoing work or accomplishing tasks you didn’t ask for wastes time and money for both parties. Also, specifying your budget and deadlines helps the web company to manage resources and be more efficient.
  • Helps to find the right web development company
    Spending some time deciding what you want from your project helps you to properly search for the right team. Web development agencies specialise in different areas, so when you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve through your project, you can choose the team that suits you better.

What to include in a project brief

The project brief is not a technical specification. A good brief includes all the key information for the project, without going into much detail. Since every project is different, there is no universal project brief model, nonetheless here are some of the key areas that it should cover:

1. Business overview

Describe your company, including information such as company history, brand, size and locations. Explain the products and services you offer. Write about your company's mission and values, and mention whether you have any plans for future growth. Every client has their own specifics, and the web development company can offer better-tailored solutions when it has a proper concept of what your business is about.

2. Project Overview

Describe the project, its goals, and the backstory of the decision to start it. It should be a short but focused summary, that will give the team a proper understanding of what the project is about.

3. Project objectives

Explain what goals you are trying to achieve or what problem you need to solve. Try to set SMART objectives, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. This will not only provide the developers with a better understanding of your expectations, but it will also help you identify the strategy and goals behind your project.

4. Target Audience

Write a basic introduction to the age, gender, preferences and habits of your end user. The web company needs to know who is going to use their product, so they can make the right decisions regarding the design and development of the project.

5. Project specifications

Outline the type of services that you require. In a web development project for example, you might also need consultation, user interface/experience design (UI/UX), or copywriting. Specify the materials or assets that you will provide, like content, graphics, or a brand book that must be adhered to.

Specify the general structure of the website or application, including things like pages or sections, any specific key features and functionalities desired, internationalisation requirements, how it should be managed and maintained, and whether you plan to expand it in the future, and how. These specifications don't have to be very technical, but enough for the company to understand your requirements.

Specify whether you want the project to be built from scratch, or if you wish to update an existing application. Mention your technology stack preferences, if you have any.

6. Budget

Include in the brief your budget for the project. If you don’t know the exact numbers, specify a ballpark figure. Setting expectations about the budget helps to evaluate what can be achieved and how to manage resources.

7. Timeline

If you have a specific timeline in mind, make sure to mention it in the brief. Knowing the deadline helps the team to set priorities and organize the work. Also, mention any specific milestones you might want to achieve between the start of the project and the final deadline.

Conclusion

Writing a brief is an essential first step of every project. Be specific enough that the working team understands what you are asking from them, but also trust in their skills and experience to come up with creative ideas. A well-written brief helps the web developers deliver better results, while being cost-effective. Creating a project brief lays the foundation for a successful project.

Remember: “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”.

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