Summary of preparing a project
The project brief is a summary of previous discussions and research. If there is earlier documentation, the project brief can refer to these documents and summarise the key points rather than repeat everything. For example, there may have been previous documentation outlining the business case for the project so that commitment could be gained in earlier stages of the decision-making process. Similarly, there may be documentation that outlines the background to the project and the reasons for investing in the work. The key objectives should be given alongside the purpose and goals of the project, but detailed objectives will be produced during the planning stage of the project.
You may find it useful to remind yourself of the learning objectives outlined at the beginning of this section and to consider some of the main issues associated with them.
- You should now be able to identify the main features of a project. A project is a one-off, non-repeated activity or set of tasks that achieves clearly stated objectives within a time limit. Most projects are goal-oriented with clear beginnings, middles and ends, have constraints that limit and define the process, and outcomes that can be measured in terms of performance against agreed indicators. Other features of a project include the purpose, goals, resources, constraints and quality requirements.
- You should be able to explain the importance of the key dimensions of budget, time and quality. Much of the work in managing a project is in keeping these three dimensions in balance.
- You should now be able to identify the links between a project's scope and definition and a sponsor's strategic and operational objectives.
- You should be able to agree the objectives of the project in sufficient detail to enable it to be planned effectively. The importance of setting clear objectives was considered because these contribute to both the delivery and the evaluation at the conclusion of the project. Objectives can also be used to ensure that the outcomes of the project contribute as intended to the strategic and operational direction of the organisation.
- You should also be able to assess the feasibility of a project and to negotiate any necessary amendments with the sponsor to ensure that the goals can be achieved within the constraints of the project.
All of these matters need to be considered before the detailed project brief or definition document can be drawn up. The project brief is an important document because it details the agreement that guides all the subsequent stages of a project. Lastly, you should now be able to prepare a project brief or definition document so that agreement can be obtained with the project sponsor. This document will provide a blueprint for the planning phase of the project.