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Project Brief

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Here you can find a simple Project Brief in Microsoft Word/Excel format, along with explanation on how to use it.

Background

The first process in PRINCE2 is starting up a project, which is a short period of time where we study the idea of the project to see if it’s worth initiating (i.e. a simple evaluation of the justification of the project). The main output of this process is the Project Brief. Therefore, you can expect this document to introduce the project, and tell why it makes sense to spend more resources initiating the project.

How can we introduce the project and check its justification?

We need to explain the problem that we’re going to solve, the goal that we have, the outcomes that we expect, provide a high-level scope, and project objectives (the six variables).

To do it properly, we should also think about the stakeholders (people who have an interest in the project and can impact it); for example, are we subject to certain regulations? In that case, the extra requirements that are forced through the regulations may change the justification of the project. The organization behind the regulation is a stakeholder in this example, and that’s why we need to have a simple list of key stakeholders.

And finally, when we have all those pieces of information, we can check the justification of the project, which is mainly about comparing the benefits that we will have by the result of the project to the cost of doing the project. This part is called Outline Business Case. This is “outlined”, because we don’t have enough information about the project, and the goal is to have a quick check and see if it’s worth initiating. If it is, then we will initiate the project, where we will spend a lot of time and resources planning the project, and then using all those plans, we can have a real Business Case, and make our final decision about the project.

Composition

The template has these main sections:

  • Document information: this is the generic information about the document and connections with your Configuration Management system. Feel free to add more information here, but it’s best to keep it simple.

  • Approval: this section is for capturing approvals. There are multiple lines, because you may have multiple versions of this document approved. If you have a well-formed Configuration Management system to track approvals, feel free to remove this section.

  • Definition: this is where you introduce the project, based on the problem that it’s going to solve and its scope and quality (Project Product Description).

  • Outline Business Case: this is about the justification of the project. Is it worth doing? Why?

  • Key Stakeholders: key people who have an interest in the project and can impact them.

  • Project objectives: a rough estimate of the targets and tolerances for the six variables. We’ll revise them later.

  • Project Management Team: a list of people who are appointed to the project, or are going to be appointed.

  • Project Product Description: a description of the scope and quality of the product

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