Project Strategy – What is a Project Brief?
A successful project brief will only be useful if you have an agreed project board executive named to lead the stakeholders at the start up of the initiation phase. Having run many of the initiation meetings, the first one must include the executive to kick off proceedings. And be there for the first day on hand to provide guidance and knowledge. Over the next period of meetings and discovery, the out come should be a project brief definition document.
What is needed in a Project Brief Outline Business Case?
Having identified the sponsor, the background information and the reason for undertaking this exercise. The task of building the project brief can begin. Any previous attempts at starting this project should also be discussed, and the reasons documented as to why they didn’t proceed or were started and then stopped. This is very relevant knowledge and should be recorded in your risk document.
Previously we discussed part one of the project brief, read more here about the project definition. Do not proceed without doing part one and two together.
So let start with the Part Two – The Deliverables and Purpose!
A brief summary description of how the project supports the business strategy, plans or programme, and the reasons why the project is needed. An indication of potential benefits and costs. An indication of how the benefits will be realised and who will own the process of realising the benefits.
Stakeholder Quality Issues
The quality issues that are most important to the customer and or other stakeholders. For example, is timeliness of delivery more important than how rich the functionality or the long term maintenance is? At this stage keep this short and focus on the key issues. What would stop the project from starting? What would potentially derail the project if started? The quality issues listed here will influence the approach. Did someone say Dilbert wanted a purple database?
Project Acceptance Criteria
The purpose of this, is it has to be measurable. Whatever you decide upon to document at this stage, must be measurable. In terms, of what must be done for the final product to be acceptable to the customer and staff who will be affected.
The quality criteria and all criteria mus be measurable. Each criteria must be realistic. if they are not, don’t start the project. The usual suspects or examples are high quality; early delivery and low cost. Generally, these do not go well together, be realistic.
A summary of the man risks identified at this early stage from the risk log. Include any likely or possible actions. It’s never too early to start.
Very important step. List the names and responsibilities of those identified so far as participating in the project. This will probably just be at board level, the project manager, specialist assurance roles and technicians. Include external company representation.
Some key thoughts: The project board is accountable for the success of the project. The project executive has to ensure the project is value for money. Taking into account the demands of the business, users and suppliers.
The senior user role represents the interests of all those who will use the final products of the project. For example, the payroll and benefits HR manager or in the case of finance the Controller and FP&A manager.
The senior supplier role represents the interests of those designing, developing, procuring and implementing the project solutions. This could be an external supplier if the solution is being outsourced.
The project board is accountable for the quality of the project. The project board invariably delegates their quality assurance to a project assurance role. mainly due to the fact they just don’t have the time and sometimes the expertise to ensure the quality.
The project manager has the authority to run the project on a day-to-day basis within the constraints laid down by the project board. The project manager can be supported by a project managers office if deemed necessary.
To define the type of solution to be developed by the project and/or the method of delivering that solution. It should also identify any environment into which the solution must fit. It must conform to the strategy and to the operational environment into which it will go. It must achievable, with the known time and costs constraints of the project. It must be achievable with the known technology.
That’s all folks!
Previously we discuss part one of the project brief, read more here about the project definition. Do not proceed without doing part one and two together.
This is the second of two posts describing the approach to starting up a project.
If you, have this all wrapped up, then proceed to the next stage of the project only once you have the project board and key stakeholders approval to do so.
When your project brief is complete you will have documented the project definition and outlined the business case. The next level of detail will also have been discovered.
Are you starting up a project?
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Ken Mulley-Smith And Roger Smith are available to work now. Contact us. We both have vast Project Management knowledge and experience in the space of Financials (Oracle and SAP). We have managed large scale changes for businesses over the last thirty years.
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