Project briefs serve many purposes, from outlining a clear focus for everyone involved to setting benchmarks for evaluation. Briefs are also useful documents to present to your staff, manager or board to get them in agreement about projects from the onset.
That said, crafting a solid project brief can be a daunting task, especially for a large initiative. So, here are a few key points to keep in mind to make it easier:
1. Set a purpose for the project.
What is the single most important thing you are looking to accomplish? Do you need to promote a new product? Increase sales? Shift brand perception? Drive attendance to an event? The list goes on. Whatever you need to accomplish, set the stage first.
2. Define realistic and measurable project objectives within the purpose.
The only way to determine if a project is a success at completion is if you have a clear benchmark to hold it to. You can write these together with your agency at the planning stage, or use them as basis for discussions on what can be realistically expected from the project. Remember, this isn’t the time to say “sell one million bouncy balls in one month” if you know your company can only produce one hundred and has never sold more then fifty.
3. Agree on a reasonable timeline.
When does a project need to be delivered and how long will the project run? Conversations with your agency will help ensure you’re realistic about what can be achieved in the time available. It’s very important to allow for enough time to ensure that you get the best possible deliverable. This is also a great time to teach your internal team why a fifty page website wont be designed, built and deployed in two weeks.
4. Be clear on the budget allotted for the project and what it will cover upfront.
If you are doing a video project, does the budget include shooting footage, music, model/actors costs, etc.? Having a clear understanding upfront of your budget allows your agency to craft a solution that fits your price and delivers on your goals.
5. Don’t be over-prescriptive about the work that you’d like to see produced.
Allow for flexibility. When working with an agency you are “buying” their creative input as well as the actual work product, so a good brief must allow room for the agency to propose creative solutions to accomplish the goals and objectives.
6. Regularly reference your brief.
Don’t wait for your project to be complete to see if it met the original brief. At each key decision, be sure to ask yourself the question: is this deliverable meeting the original expectations set in the brief?
Aligning your project with realistic goals, timelines and budgets will set you up for success. Allowing your agency to be your partner strategically and creatively will facilitate a true partnership.