Website Project Briefs

This is a short but lovely guide for developing a meaningful brief for your technology project. From codeable.io.

Good-Poor-Design-Brief

The 6 things that should be included in any project brief

  • Goals of the project
  • Budget
  • Timeframe
  • Users and target audience
  • Design consideration and preferred aesthetic
  • Success criteria

Let’s look at each of them a more deeply.

1. Goals of the project

If you’re outsourcing some projects of yours, you need to know what you want to achieve and have a crystal clear picture of it in your head. The reverse-engineer approach will play great in supporting your outlining process, even for those minor yet requested tasks that would bring to life your desired outcome.

2. Budget

The budget is all the money you’d want to invest in a specific project you outsource. More precisely, you allocate budget for a project, meaning that you should already have a clear plan in your mind about the “why” and “what” that project is crucial to your business goals. Writing down the budget (or at least a budget range) on your project brief is an effective way to save time.

It’s the same as when you go car shopping, and you give a price range to the reseller, so he doesn’t waste your time showing you cars you’re not interested in (or can’t afford, simply).
Long story short: put a number on it.

3. Timeframe

Just as with knowing how much money you’re able to invest in an outsourced project, you should also provide a specific timeframe the project needs to be developed and delivered within. This allows the developer to set expectations realistically. Be reasonable, though: if you’re one of those who answer “Yesterday” when they’re asked when a deadline is, you won’t find remote developers and experts wanting to work with you. Forewarned is forearmed.

4. Users and target audience

You’re asking an expert to build something for you, whether it’s a new website, a landing page, e-commerce, whatever. A crucial information that will help them working their magic out is knowing who you’re targeting, your prospects. This way an expert can evaluate several factors (design, technology, etc.) that pertain to specific users and provide you with the best solution accordingly.

5. Design consideration and preferred aesthetic

When it comes to qualitative and aesthetic considerations writing down all preferred elements isn’t the most suitable way to share that kind of information, while showing them is better way. When writing your brief, add resources to leave misunderstandings out the door: try pairing any element of design you’d want with a description or comment. You can pick examples from websites, books, sketches, and anything you shows what you’re looking for. While the project is running, lead the expert with your feedback.

6. Success criteria

One element that often get left out from a project brief is how you will measure the success of the project itself in an objective way: the KPIs. What are the Key Performance Indicators? They’re measurable metrics by which a project can be judged as a success (or not) in accordance with the client’s primary goal. Some examples of KPIs for web projects can be:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Generate 10% more traffic
  • Increase newsletter subscriptions.

Wrapping things together

There’s a wrongly attributed quote to former US President Abraham Lincoln that perfectly embodies the key concept laying under any project briefing that goes:

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

This quote perfectly provides all that’s important for a project brief. Before thinking about plugins, features, requests and anything that has to do with execution, sit down, pour some coffee, and invest all the time you’d need to figure out your business needs, knowing you’re not wasting it over a bunch of “useless words”, rather you’re increasing the chance for your project to be great.