What is a Project Brief?
A project brief is a one-page, high-level overview of a project. The project brief varies according to the needs of the organization but includes elements such as the project objectives, scope, timeline, deliverables, target audience, and success criteria.
Essentially, it is an outline of the project that serves as a quick reference and guiding light for the team and other stakeholders. It should be specific enough to convey important points and yet concise enough to be considered “brief.”
Project Brief vs Creative Brief vs. Project Charter
A Project Brief is an outline of the entire project, including who will serve in what role, how it will unfold and what success looks like.
The Creative Brief deals with specifics and strategies for accomplishing creative design elements such as the layout of a web page including things like typography choices and “call to action” buttons.
The Project Charter is a longer, more formal document that covers everything the project hopes to achieve. It is the one used to seek approval for the project.
What is the Purpose of a Project Brief?
The purpose of the Project Brief is to clarify the goal of the project. It establishes a common understanding of the project and helps to avoid confusion about what is under the scope of the project and what is not.
It can be used at the kick-off meeting to get everyone on the same page and serve as a quick reference thereafter. The Project Brief identifies the client, the key players, the deadlines, the deliverables—all the main elements that are critical to your success.
Who Should Create the Project Brief?
The Project Manager is responsible for the getting the project across the finish line so he or she creates the brief. A member of the sales staff or another department may fill in parts of the brief, but it is the responsibility of the project manager to make sure it is fleshed out and completed.
The manager should speak with the person who solicited the project to fully understand their expectations. This may include speaking with the sales team (or client) if it is an external project or perhaps a department manager if this is an internal project.
What Should a Project Brief Include?
At a minimum a project brief should include the project name, sponsor, target audience, success criteria, who fulfills what role, and the timeline.
Each organization has its own requirements and therefore, the project briefs will be unique to that organization.
Below is a list of possible things to include in a project brief; however, you should not include all of them or it will no longer qualify as brief. Focus on what is important to you and your organization.
- Project Name
- Project Manager
- Project Sponsor
- Project Size
- Planned Start Date
- Planned End Date
- Project Client
- Project Overview
- Project Scope
- Project Specifications
- Project Deliverables
- Target Audience
- Value Proposition
- Success Criteria
- Project Budget
How to Write a Project Brief
It’s easiest to start with a template. Not all finished templates will look alike. Given that your company needs may vary from our example, some categories may be swapped for others.
Project Brief Example
Below is an example of a project brief. This example is based on our downloadable free Project Brief Template. To download the template click on the orange “Download Template” button at the top of the page.