Project Brief

Project definition

Explaining what the project needs to achieve. It should include:

  • Background
  • Project objective (covering time, cost, quality, scope, risk and benefit performance goals)
  • Desired outcomes
  • Project scope and exclusions
  • Constraints and assumptions
  • Project tolerances
  • The user(s) and any other known interested parties
  • Interfaces

Outline Business Case

Reasons why the project is needed and the business option selected. This will later be developed into a detailed Business Case during the Initiation a Project process

Project Product Description

Including the customer’s quality expectations, user acceptance criteria, and operations and maintenance acceptance criteria

Project approach

To define the choice of solution that will be used within the project to deliver the business option selected from the Business Case, taking into consideration the operational environment into which the solution must fit

Project management team structure

A chart showing who will be involved with the project team and any other key resources identified at this time

Role descriptions

For the project management team and any other key resources identified at this time


To any associated documents or products


  • A project mandate supplied at the start of the project
  • Programme management - if the project is part of a programme, the Project Brief is likely to be supplied by the programme, and therefore it will not have to be derived from a project mandate
  • Discussions with corporate management regarding corporate strategy and any policies and standards that apply
  • Discussions with the Project Board and users if the project mandate is incomplete or if no project mandate is provided
  • Discussions with the operations and maintenance organisation (if applicable)
  • Discussions with the (potential) suppliers regarding specialist development lifecycles that could be used
  • Lessons Log

Format and presentation

A Project Brief can take a number of formats, including:

  • Document or presentation slides
  • Enter in a project management tool

Quality criteria

  • It is brief because its purpose at this point is to provide a firm basis on which to initiate a project. It will later be refined and expanded as part of the Project Initiation document
  • the project brief accurately reflects the project mandate and the requirements of the business and the users
  • The project approach considers a range of solutions, such as: bespoke or off-the-shelf; contracted out or developed in-house; designed from new or a modified existing product
  • The project approach h as been selected which maximizes the change of achieving overall success for the project
  • The project objectives, project approach and strategies are consistent with the organisation’s corporate social responsibility directive
  • The project objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART)
Project brief.docx

Project Brief