A Project or Product Brief is a summary document that communicates essential information about the project and the product to be developed and is used to guide the development effort. The Project or Product Brief typically contain a description of the a description of the intended market or customer; their key needs; key attributes or characteristics of the product; required critical technology and its status; a product strategy and the basis of competition; the target cost and target price; essential project information (boundary conditions) such as development cost, development schedule, milestones, and required resources/personnel; and significant risks. This document along with a project budget, schedule and business case may initially serve as a proposal for the project, then communicates what the project is about to team members and other members of management, provides boundary conditions for managing the project and communicating updates, and finally becomes a project management and quality record for indicating successful completion of key project and process milestones.
An example of a Project or Product Brief (from the PD-Trak Project Portfolio Management system) is shown below. The top section summarizes the basic project parameters. The middle section describes different aspects of the project, the intended product and the marekt needs. The third section summarizes project metrics. The final section provides space for management sign-off authorizing continuation of the project at each gate review.
The Project Brief is updated and reviewed throughout the development cycle to assure that the project is still on track and that conditions have not changed that would warrant cancelling the project. The Project Brief is updated prior to each gate review to insure that at each gate review the Project Brief is reviewed, and, if the project is still on track and justified, it is signed. The signed form constitutes both an authorization and a quality record indicating successful completion of a particular stage and a readiness to proceed to the next stage.