Writing a Project Brief

Putting together a project brief when you come up with an idea is a useful exercise. It will help you and your team to formalise the development of the project and consider all the risks and opportunities that it could bring.

It can take a little while to pull all the information together, but even just a few paragraphs in each section will help you set your project off in the right direction.

Don’t write your project brief in isolation. Whilst it should be owned by the ‘Project Manager’, it should be a collaborative document that evolves throughout the life of your project.

The following headings outline one way you could write your project brief, but don’t feel constrained, adapt it to suit your needs:


Example Project Brief

1. Introduction

  • Set out a brief introduction to the project.
  • What is the project about?

2. Background and rationale

  • Outline any key background information that informs the project
  • What problem is this project trying to solve?
  • What is the justification for this project? Why has it been commissioned?

3. Project Scope

  • What are the key activities that must be completed in order to complete the project?
  • Outline the general scope of the project including any relevant information?
  • Detail how you will undertake the project and outline the key milestones.
  • Outlines any key approval processes.
  • What is not included within the scope of this project?

4. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Critical Success Factors (CSFs)

  • Together, the KPIs and CSFs form the foundations of your project plan.
    • A Key Performance Indicator is a measurable factor, which benchmarks quality and allows the organisation to evaluate the success of the strategy over time.
    • A Critical Success Factor is an activity that must be completed in order to achieve the overall objective. Include details as to what CSFs underpin your strategy.

5. Assumptions
What assumptions have you made through your decision-making process?
Such as:

  • availability of budget to carry out activities?
  • stakeholder commitment throughout the life of the project?
  • effective communication strategy at all levels of involvement?
  • availability of appropriate resources?
  • understanding of legal requirements?

6. Risks

  • Outline the key risks to your project including the likelihood and impact should it occur.

7. Stakeholders

  • Identify the stakeholders whose interests will be taken into account during the planning and implementation of the project.

8. Project structure

  • Provide details of the project team structure clearly showing their roles and responsibilities.
  • Will there be any committees or reference groups? How often will they meet and what is their remit?
  • What is the reporting structure

9. Budget and resources

  • What resources (for example; people, equipment) do you require to carry out your project?
  • Include a copy of the draft project budget

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