Let’s start with the basics and go over what a project brief actually is. A project brief is a way to let your client know exactly what it is that you’re offering. So, if you create a project brief, you’re going to tell them about the project or plan that you’re going to execute from the steps you’re going to take to the ultimate end goal, which is the deliverable that they’re likely requesting. Your project brief can be extraordinarily detailed and several pages long, or it can be broader and only a page or two summaries.
Usually, you’re going to want a brief that’s quite detailed. That means it’s going to go over all of the different aspects of the project that you’re creating from the objectives to the deliverables, various milestones along the way, processes, resources, timing, the scope of the project, and a whole lot more. In general, your client is going to be happier, the more detailed your brief is. Not to mention that makes sure everyone is on the same page with what’s actually going to be done (and what isn’t) and how long it’s all going to take.
Now, once you know what a project brief is, you’re going to need to understand why you even want one, right? Well, we kind of touched on this already. A project brief lets a client know exactly what you’re going to be doing and how you’re going to be doing it. It lets them know precisely how long each step is going to take when to expect milestones and all of the different things that you’re expecting from them along the way. In short, it’s going to make sure everyone on the project team understands what’s going on.
You want to make sure that your client isn’t expecting more of you than you’re planning to deliver. They want to make sure that they’re getting everything they expect for the agreed-upon rate. And by creating a project brief, you fulfill both of those objectives. You and the client are both going to be much happier because you’re going to be more comfortable with what’s going on, and you’re going to be fully informed. There’s no danger of getting to the end of someone being unhappy because things weren’t done the way they expected.
So, just when are you going to create the project brief? Well, you might create a general project brief (one of the short ones that we mentioned previously) before you even get the job. This can be a part of your pitch to the client when you’re trying to win the job from the start. The short project brief will give a broad overview of what they can expect from the job you’re going to do. It’s an excellent way to sum things up, so they have something to compare to their other offers.
Once you’ve received the job, then you want to start working on the more detailed project brief. You should let the client know how long it’s going to take (which shouldn’t belong) to put everything together. Then, make sure that you detail out absolutely everything you can. You may also need to go over things with your team and your client to make sure you have all of the details. After you meet with the client, you may need to revise or change things to make sure everything is being done the way they expect (and you expect). But the brief needs to be done before you start working.
The final question you probably have is just how you’re going to create that project brief. Luckily, it’s not as complicated as you might have thought. It will take some time, but the effort involved is going to be better. You’ll just need to make sure you set aside the time it’s going to take and that you’re working with all of the people who are going to be on the team when you actually start the project.
The first thing you’re going to need for your project brief is the information about the project itself. After all, how are you going to create a quality brief if you don’t even know what’s happening with the project? Who is involved? What is the end goal? How does the teamwork? What is the client expecting? What is the team expecting? Who is responsible for making decisions? All of these questions can seem overwhelming, but they’re only a part of the questions you need to be asking in order to create your project brief.
Once you know all of these things, you’re going to be better prepared for the process of laying out the brief in a format that makes sense to everyone. After all, if you’re the only one who can understand it, then it’s not going to help much.
Next, you’re going to start actually laying out your project brief, and this is where a Gantt chart can really come in handy. Now, the project brief is generally going to be a document with written out information, like a report. But having a timeline to go at the front of the report or to help you with drafting it is going to be a whole lot easier than trying to write up a report from a bunch of little notes that you’ve jotted down everywhere to try and keep track of everyone and everything.
Creating a Gantt chart allows you to lay out all of the critical information that’s going to go into your brief. You’ll lay out each of the different tasks that need to be completed, when they need to start and finish, who is in charge of them, any sub-tasks associated, any dependencies, and anything else that you want. You can even set up the milestones that need to be reached and the deadlines for each milestone, deliverable, and end of the project. That way, you know absolutely everything that goes into the project, and you have it all in one place.
Even better, your Gantt chart can be customized so that everything is color-coded, arranged in an order that makes sense for you, arranged with different headings, and more. All of these things make it easier for you and your team to understand what the chart is telling them and to find the different assignments that have been delegated to them. Everyone who is responsible for the project or some piece of it can check-in at any time and see what they’re supposed to be working on and when the deadline is for that part of the project.
Not only that, but everyone will be able to communicate with one another through the chart itself. That way, if you or anyone else has a question, there’s no need to look for external communication. Everything can be done directly through the same system. And it can be done by chatting, leaving notes, and more. If you or they need to update something that can all be done right in the chart as well, without having to go through a complicated process to do it. And updates can be noted within the chart, so you always know how far along the project is.
Once you’ve created a Gantt chart, you’re going to have a much easier time creating the project brief. After all, the information that you need is going to be right there in front of you. You’ll take a close look at all of the information in the timeline, and then you can start working on fleshing things out to make it easier for the client to understand. Of course, you’re also going to need to add some additional information to really make sure the design is clear.
Where a Gantt chart will help you layout the information and then keep track of your work, it’s not going to detail all of the little pieces that your client might want to know, like how deliverables will be provided, what the client needs to do to help move the project forward, and so on. When you start the project brief, however, you can start by laying out the timeline and then fill in more of the details along the way. Once you’ve done this, you’re going to find that you have a pretty good framework for the brief.
Once you’re ready to flesh things out into as much detail as possible, you want to look at a few critical questions. You need to answer why this project is being done. You need to understand what the ultimate objectives are for the client and how you’re going to achieve them. You need to know when you’re going to achieve smaller milestones and deliverables along the way. You need to know who is working on each portion of the assignment when the smaller milestones will begin and end, when the ultimate project will start and end and how you and the client will judge if the project is on track.
You’re going to need to answer many questions for the client, including who is responsible for reporting back to the client, how quickly they can expect responses, who they should contact with questions or concerns and what kind of contingency plan you have in place for emergencies or problems along the way. The more questions you can answer for the client before you even begin, the less confusion and challenges you’re going to have as you’re working on the project, which means fewer headaches for you.
By the time you flesh out all of these details, you’re going to have a substantial project brief to present to your client. Just remember, you might need to work with them on some of the details. That means even after you’ve created the brief and you go over it with them, you may need to tweak some areas and improve on others. The first brief that you create is based on the information that you know thus far, but that doesn’t mean you know everything right away. You and the client may still have some negotiating to do.
So, how are you going to get started with your project brief? And how are you going to get that timeline together that’s going to help you with your brief? Well, you’re going to want to check out Instagantt to find out more about your options and the features that are going to make your life a whole lot easier.