As a UX product designer, the Project Brief is the first major document I need to have for building a product. If there is not one already, I create one or add to one.
The following are the key questions that the brief needs to answer. I don’t always use every question, but I try to fill in as much as possible. It becomes the foundation of the project and becomes the source of truth. For this reason it must be updated should truths be changed or discovered. It is shared and open to all members of the project.
Project title, code name and AKAs.
Dates & Milestones
Start date. Launch date. Major deadlines and targets if any. Other critical project dates.
An overall description of the product. What problems are we solving and why? What is the goal?
Key Team Members
Stakeholders and project owners. Who signs off? Product Owner, Project Manager, BA, Designers, Developers, QA, others.
Who are the users? What types are there? What is the sector? What are the typical characteristics such as education level, gender, profession. Are there any personas? If not, what might the persona types be?
Why is the project going ahead? Objectives & expected outcomes. What does success look like? What ROI? Link to a roadmap. What KPIs?
User needs? Special needs? What problem does this product solve for the user? Internationalisation?
Must haves & must nots. Required elements.
Unique Selling Point
What makes this product different from the competition? What marks it out? Why use our product instead of another’s.
Requirements to convey brand personality such as tone, logo, images etc. Link to guidelines.
For (customer) who has (customer need), (product name) is a (market category) that (one key benefit). Unlike (competition), the product (unique differentiator).
Describe the product’s desired look and feel by using adjectives and short phrases e.g.: Easy to look at, edgy, classic, up-to-date, crisp, modern, traditional, comical, serious, friendly, understated, minimalist etc.
What has work well? What could work better? What did not work? Do we have any analytics?
Describe the technology used and any limitations or special features. What is the database? What is the user interface? How is the project viewed? Mobile first responsive design? Multiple platforms requiring different designs?
Related Products & Projects & Dependencies
What is the product based on? Does it intersect with another product? Who are the competitors? What is a good example and a bad example? What is a good source of inspiration?
Anything else relevant to the project? How do we communicate and track work? Slack? Jira?