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 Name

Project title, code name and AKAs.

Dates & Milestones        

Start date. Launch date. Major deadlines and targets if any. Other critical project dates.

Description

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.

Target Audience

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?

Business Requirements

Why is the project going ahead? Objectives & expected outcomes. What does success look like? What ROI? Link to a roadmap. What KPIs?

User Requirements

User needs? Special needs? What problem does this product solve for the user? Internationalisation?

Other Requirements

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.

Brand Guidelines

Requirements to convey brand personality such as tone, logo, images etc. Link to guidelines.

Elevator Pitch

For (customer) who has (customer need), (product name) is a (market category) that (one key benefit). Unlike (competition), the product (unique differentiator).        

Design

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.        

Past Work

What has work well? What could work better? What did not work? Do we have any analytics?

Technology        

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?

Other Notes

Anything else relevant to the project? How do we communicate and track work? Slack? Jira?