The Value Of A Project Brief

October 5, 2017

If you’re a professional service  provider, chances are there have been times when the scope of a project has changed.  Or the outcome of the project wasn’t what the client perceived it would be.  Customer satisfaction level = possibly average.

Perhaps you manage projects internally (and who doesn’t!).  Taking the time to write out a brief helps to think the project through from start to finish, ensuring all the team working on the project are on the same page, aiming for the same outcomes.

As a client, signing off on a project before it starts will avoid frustrations down the track.  Expectations, budget and resources are approved before work starts, all information is on hand rather than trying to follow an email thread where critical details can be missed.  If I had a dollar for all clients who have come our way, having used VA’s in the past without such processes resulting in less than satisfactory results … well I could spend my days on the beach, glass and book by my side!

Here’s our Project Brief Template, you’re welcome to use this if you don’t have one.

A brief should establish:

  1. What the project is to achieve
  2. by when
  3. how and by whom
  4. within what resources

From our perspective, the value of the project brief is:

  • Knowing the client’s desired outcome
  • Understanding the scope of the project
  • Having all the information and approval before we start the project
  • Being clear on project milestones

From your perspective, the value of the project brief is:

  • Clear communication around expectations
  • Seeing all information about the project often triggers something you may have missed
  • Knowing the budget for the project
  • Identifying measurements, so you will know if the project is a success

We link our brief to various supporting documents rather than having a 20 page document for the brief.  This helps keep it easy to read and digest all information, it’s not an SOP but a brief (after all).  If the project has a number of various factors, you can go a step further. We use this project timeline overview template to map various tasks (and milestones) that make up a project.  Both forms are linked to from our project management system and the timeline overview gives all team members (and more importantly, the client) a snapshot of the project milestones.

With a project brief; everyone knows who’s doing what, how they are doing it, by when.  Knowing the outcomes gives your team the initiative they need to make changes if they are not meeting milestones or KPI’s along the way.

Customer Service = Outstanding

Project Team = Happy Achievers

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