Published by Infinity Gaming Magazine – May 2021
You developed a well-defined concept for your next big ‘award winning’ project as presented in your business case, but you’re not over the finishing line quite yet because you still need to secure the funding. Next stop: the project brief.
The project brief is necessary because nothing should be done until certain base information needed to make a rational decision is defined. This ‘Startup’ phase is as much about preventing poorly conceived projects from being initiated as it is about approving viable ones. The main objectives of the project brief are as follows: to ensure that there is a business justification for the project; to define and confirm the scope of the project; to ensure that the correct project approach is selected and to ensure that individuals are appointed who will undertake the work for the initial stage of the project. The main components of the project brief are as follows:
Project Definition – This explains what the project needs to achieve and should include:
- Background – explains the context of the project and what it was that suggested a need for it.
- Project objectives – covering time, cost, quality, scope, benefits and performance (following the SMART formula)
- Desired outcomes – the events, occurrences, or changes in conditions, behavior, or attitudes that indicate progress toward a project’s goals.
- Project scope and exclusions – a detailed outline of all aspects of a project, including related activities, resources, timelines, and deliverables, as well as the project’s boundaries.
- Constraints and assumptions – constraints are the restrictions and limitations by which the project, and the project team are bound. Assumptions are a statement that is taken as being true for the purposes of planning, but which could later change.
- Project tolerances – the permissible deviation above and below a plan’s target for time and cost without escalating the deviation to the next level of management.
- The user(s) – a group who will use, operate and maintain one or more of the project’s products. Other interested parties – anyone who is directly or indirectly impacted by the project.
- Project Interfaces – an interface is defined as a point of connect between entities working on a common project.
Outline business case – the outline business case is only a high level view of the project and is used as a solid foundation for the more detailed business case which is developed in the project initiation stage. It states the reasons why the project is needed, and the business option selected.
Project Product description – This is a type of product description used to define what the project must deliver to gain acceptance. It is a living document and is reviewed and updated throughout the life of the project and includes the following:
- Skills required to develop the product/service
- Customer quality expectations
- Acceptance criteria
- Project level quality tolerances
- Acceptance method and acceptance responsibilities
Project management team structure – This is normally presented using an organizational chart format and shows who will be involved in the project. Guidelines for developing the structure include:
- Review lessons log for team structures used on previous related projects
- Design the project team structure to include: the project board, the project executive, project manager, senior user, senior supplier, team manager, project assurance, change authority and project support. Depending on the size and scope of the project some of the roles can be combined as long as the don’t cause any conflict of interest.
- Appoint the management team.
Role descriptions – These are job descriptions that describe the roles of those on the project team. Some roles maybe part time while others can be shared according to the project requirements. What’s important is that those working as part of the project management team are clear from day one on their responsibilities, boundaries and level of accountability. Role descriptions should include the following minimum requirements:
- Role description
- General responsibilities
Conclusion – At this point you’re all set to get you project approved and move on to the first project stage known as the Initiation stage. Once the project is approved the project brief becomes part of a larger project initiation documentation known as the ‘PID’. You might be thinking that this seems like a lot of work pre-project but by presenting as much information as possible before any major financial commitment is made you will increase investor confidence, provide clarity to stakeholders, reduce risk and decrease the odds of your project running over time constraints, over budget and possibly even being abandoned, so which would you prefer?