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How to Write a Project Brief Like a Pro in 2021

  • 27 July, 2021
How to Write a Project Brief Like a Pro in 2021

So you need to hire a freelancer to get your project done. Perhaps you're looking to get a corporate video or a website or a mobile application. No matter what you're in search of, the best way to get it is to give your freelancer a clear project brief.

Your project brief allows you to better convey the key details of the project, your requirements, and your expectations. Even if you find the finest talent, a dull project brief would lead to a mediocre or undesirable result.

If you can’t get your head around a freelance project brief and need help, read on how you can make your project brief easy to digest and effective to follow. 

What Is a Project Brief? 

What Is a Project Brief

A project brief is a concise summary of the key aspects of your project. It provides a synopsis of the work you'll be doing. Consider it as an inclusive overview for project stakeholders or freelancers. 

Your project brief scope should convey your project needs to your freelancers without overwhelming them with too much information. It should cover crucial specifications so that your team is on the same page and understands the results that will be derived from the efforts.

Brief Description of a Project Proposal

brief description of project proposal

Before we move any further, let’s have a look at the brief description of the project proposal. A proposal is a document that helps an organization and outside contributors (in this case freelancers) establish a professional relationship.

A project proposal is often the first step in defining the project's idea, highlighting what you intend to achieve, an explanation of goals, and strategies for accomplishing them.

A project proposal would often contain a list of activities or tasks that will be linked with the project, as well as an illustration of the importance of that particular project and an explanation of the significance of the project.

Why Is It Important to Write a Project Brief for Freelancers?

project brief scope

Working with remote resources is a totally different scenario. Getting the best out of your freelancers requires a unique combination of skills – one of which is the ability to create concise and effective project briefs.

The quality of the work your freelancer delivers will be directly aligned to the quality of the brief you give them.

Therefore, you must brief a freelancer precisely about your requirements if you want them to do a good job.

Take an example of managing a restaurant kitchen. If you just provide your chef with some onion and chicken tenders, he won't be able to make a rich Chicken Bourguignon out of it. To make the ideal meal, he'll need all of the proper ingredients.

The same goes for your freelancer. The more substance you provide, the better results you’ll get. 

The Key Aspects of a Project Brief

how to write a good project brief

Typically, your project brief needs to have four major elements:

  1. Background Information

The project background should be included in the first part of your project brief. The project background area is where you may fill up any gaps in freelancers' knowledge. Attempt to respond to questions like:

  • Why are you working on this project?

  • What business requirements, research, or consumer feedback prompted this initiative?

  • Do you have any prior projects that are similar to this one? If yes, how did they turn out and what did you learn from them?


  1. Project Goals 

Most of your early project planning should include your project goals in one form or another.  Team members may remain motivated, aligned, and on track when you link their daily work to business success metrics. 

According to the Anatomy of Work Index, employees who understand how their particular work provides value to their company are 2X as driven as their peers. 

Hence, providing clear goals within your project brief is the most important element to achieving success in the long run. 

  1. Project Timeframe

In your project brief, be sure to mention your predetermined time frame. Your project timeline will be the most effective method to communicate critical dates and project milestones to your freelancers.

After all, whether or not you can adhere to your project schedule and meet your project goals on time determines the success of your project.

  1. Target Audience

Last but not least, regardless of whatever project you are working on, your target audience should be included in your project brief, so that your freelancers are on the same page as the audience.

By clearly identifying target audiences, it becomes simpler to grab someone's attention since their goals and objectives are central.

How to Write a Good Project Brief?

project brief

There is no one-size-fits-all project brief template or style, as there is with other aspects of project management. 

The scope and complexity of your project will determine the project brief you write. Your brief may be as small as a paragraph for certain projects, and as long as a page for others.

Read on to uncover some useful tips on how to write a project brief with examples. 

  1. Provide Context

Adding relevant context or background information to your project brief is the best approach to start. 

If you do this, your freelancers will begin the project on an equal footing, and any cross-functional stakeholders may approach the remainder of your project brief with the necessary background knowledge.

Example:

Assume your company has created a gaming software that allows users to play virtual games with their pals. Your project is to work on a marketing campaign to promote the debut of your newest product, an in-app audio chat option. You might start your project brief with something like:

“After email, the audio chat will now be our second most popular feature. Chat is used by 84% of users in one or another way. 63% of users reported they are on a phone conversation with their friends on another platform while using our app. We think that by including audio chat in our app, we will be able to improve user retention and upgrade free users to our paid subscriptions.”

  1. Talk About Your Project Goals

Your project brief scope is to mention all the assets and deliverables you expect to receive at the end of the project. Or let’s say, comprehensive knowledge of your project is aided by good project goals. 

Your success metrics will be defined by your project goals, which will help you assess the outcome of your project after it is completed. 

Strive for setting SMART project goals since SMART stands for “specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.”

Let’s continue with our audio chat example:

“This marketing effort will educate and promote this new feature and encourage players to switch from other platforms to our in-app audio chat. By the end of the marketing campaign, our goal is to see a significant rise in Monthly Active Users (MAU) and average sessions per user.” 

  1. Share Your Project Timeline

You may just write a message if you don't have a particular document for your project timeline. Every freelancer should be aware of the deadlines they’ve to meet. 

If your project is to be completed in different phases, outline all of the deadlines. The more clarity you provide, the better!

Your project timeline is more than just the project duration and it may include key milestones or other important dates.

Moving on with our audio chat example, let’s see how to create a simple project timeframe.

Project duration: Feb 10th – Mar 5th

Key Milestones:

Feb 10th: Opening meeting (Video call – Skype or Zoom)

Feb 20th: Delivery of beta version of final audio chat product

Feb 22nd: Submission of initial design assets

Feb 27th: Approval of design assets 

Mar 1st: Finalization of product & ready for shipment 

Mar 5th: Launch day

  1. Specify Your Intended Audience

For a project to succeed, you must first understand your target audience or persona. In order to create the best work possible, your freelancers must know the relevant audience demographics. 

Early identification of your target audience may also help you avoid scope creep, which occurs when the project's scope expands beyond the original goals or schedule. 

If you don't know who your target audience is, you may have to rework parts of your project, which might lead to scope creep in the form of delays or budget restrictions.

Continuing with our audio chat example, you can talk about your target audience fairly like this:

“Our target audience for this campaign is high school students between the ages of 15 and 20 who want to connect with their friends after school, on the weekends, and vacations. Although our intended audience is tech-savvy, they have limited tolerance for poor functioning, glitches, or slow processes.”

If you do this, you won’t have to rework your assets to only add to your budget and ruin your planned timeline.

  1. Connect Freelancers to Additional Resources

At this point, your project brief is almost complete. Remember that the purpose of this document is to get your freelancer to agree on important project specifics. 

You may also provide additional resources, such as a budget, a communication strategy, or project roles to fill in any possible gaps. 

Make sure to link to any relevant documents that the freelancer may require at the end of your project brief. 

For example, if you’ve already prepared a project plan, mention its link at the end of the document. 

You may write something like:

“Check out our project plan or see our project roadmap for additional details.”

  1. Q&A

Finally, inquire whether the freelancer has understood the requirements and if they have any queries. Perhaps they can propose a change that will enhance the end result. 

Encourage the freelancer to ask questions and be receptive to ideas. By working together, you may be able to come up with an extraordinary project result. But that’s only possible if you allow the freelancer to ask as many questions as they like.

Add a line at the conclusion of the brief that says, “feel free to contact me at any time during the project. I am open to questions and suggestions.” 

This will help prevent any communication gaps on both sides. 

Condensing The Tips  

Project Brief

What you've just read may seem like a lot of information to add. Thankfully, you can use templates to assist you in writing the first few briefs. This may assist you in condensing all of the material into bullet points.

As a client, you may utilize the tips in this article to come up with your own unique approach to writing a project brief.

Whatever you do, make sure the brief isn't vague and clearly states the expectations so that the final product meets your needs. When you provide directions for making a pizza, you can't expect lasagna to be served.

Having said that, don't get carried away with the specifics. Don't bury your freelancer with paperwork that has little or no bearing on the job. After all, it's referred to as a "brief." It should be short and to the point.

Remember that the time and effort you put into writing a good project brief will help you obtain the best outcomes in the first go. 

Also make sure to give your freelancers a few days to think about and reply to your brief, and welcome them to ask questions. 

There may still be gaps or areas that need clarification, even though you've been as explicit, precise, and thorough as possible. By addressing these issues immediately, you can be certain that your freelancer's work will always be on point.