The Project Brief provides a brief of overview of the project and it is mainly written for the Project Board. It is used to provide a full and firm foundation for Initiating a Project and is created in the Starting up a Project process by the Project Manager. The Project Brief is then used in the Initiating a Project process and extended into the Project Initiation Documentation . Sometimes the Project Brief is also referred to as the Project Charter (PMBOK® Guide) and Project Summary (P3.express).
Timeline Project Brief
- The Project Brief is created in the Starting Up a Project process.
- The Project Mandate can provide little or a lot of data for the Project Brief.
- It is use by the Project Board to make their first decision: Authorise the Initiation.
- It is then used an input to the Initiation Stage.
- On average, most of the effort goes into the Project Product Description which is the scope of the project.
- The Project Brief is not used after the Initiation stage.
Sample Project Brief
- This example Project Brief is taken from the PEN sample project.
- As you can see, there are links to the Project Product Description, the Project Management Team and Roles.
Sample online Project Brief
See this link: Sample online PRINCE2 project
- Here the Project Brief is not presented in one document but shown in parts.
- Visit the above link to look at the: Project Team, Project Product Description, outline Business Case.
Source data for the Project Brief
- A project mandate supplied at the start of the project by programme management or high level management.
- If the project is part of a programme, then it is likely that the Project Mandate contains the majority of information for the Project. Board so the Project Manager does not have much to do in the Starting Up a Project process.
- The Project Manager will also check the following:
- How the project is aligned with corporate strategy.
- How the project is aligned with the policies and standards.
- How future maintenance will be done (talk with operations and maintenance organization).
- Input from suppliers regarding specialist development.
- Lessons Log for the most useful lessons to be included in the project.
- Note: In some cases the PMO may just give the Project Brief to the Project Manager.
Format of the Project Brief
- Document (Word, PDF, etc.)
- Presentation slides
- Entry in a project management tool
Quality Criteria Project Brief
- Keep this document brief as its purpose to provide information to initiate a project.
- It will be expanded and refined in the Initiation Stage and will become part of the Project Initiation Documentation.
- The Project Brief should reflect the project mandate and the requirements of the business and the users.
- Consider a range of possible solutions for the project approach: e.g., For a software solution consider: off-the-shelf; contracted out, develop in-house; create a total new application or update existing.
- Cover the project objectives.
- Check with the corporate strategy, standards and polices.
- The Project Brief is a SMART document: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART).
Tips from Frank
- Ask the people that provided the project mandate to provide more information. Go and interview them.
- Get help (if needed) to facilitate the workshop when defining the Project Product Description (PPD).
- Invite one or more Team Managers to this PPD workshop, so they can give immediate feedback to the users and already establish an important communication link.
- Avoid being rushed into completing the Project Brief too quickly.
- Avoid going into too much detail as this extra work will be wasted if the project does not continue.
- Also mention in the PPD file what the project will not include as this will give a better idea of scope of the project.