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What is a project brief?

Definition: A project brief is a document that outlines the scope, objectives, timeline, and deliverables for a given project. It should communicate key project details with all stakeholders involved and help them meet expectations, goals, and requirements for successful completion. 

While a project plan details how a project will get done, a project brief defines the who, what, when, where, and why.

As the project manager, it is essential to create a project brief at the onset of an engagement, before your team assembles for an internal kick-off meeting. 

The elements, length, and format of the project brief depend on the size and complexity of your client's project. See how the project brief is different from a design brief by reading more about design brief here.

Key components of a project brief

  1. Project name and overview – Title & brief project summary (it should help answer the ‘why’ for the project)
  2. Goals, objectives, and deliverables – Set up SMART goals, OKRs (objectives and key results), and trackable deliverables
  3. Scope of work – Write down crucial project activities
  4. Timeline for completion – Include project milestones and final deadline
  5. Required resources & budget – Be specific with resources needed and budget allocated
  6. Roles and responsibilities for each team member – Specify who is involved in the project and what their responsibilities will be

Example of a project brief

Project name and overview: 

Content production for a new service line a company X has developed.

Company X introduced a new service line 30 days ago. The goal of this project is to promote this line with SEO and content production. 


  1. Increase the number of monthly organic visitors by 25% in the next 6 months. 
  2. Increase the number of active users for the new service line by 300% in the next 6 months.

Objectives and deliverables:

  1. Publish 10 blog posts per month. 
  2. Publish 50 glossary pages per month. 
  3. Promote content on social media.

Scope of work:

  1. Keyword research;
  2. Keyword prioritization;
  3. User research and interviews;
  4. Topic ideation;
  5. Analytics setup;
  6. Hiring writers or agency;
  7. Content QA;
  8. Content publishing;
  9. Tracking & reporting.


  • Planning: Week 1 & 2
  • Research: Week 2 & 3
  • Content production: Week 4 onward

Required resources & budget:

The total available budget for the project: $300,000

Roles & Responsibilities:

Content manager: Aya S.

  • Perform target audience analysis
  • Ideate topics
  • Create content briefs


  • Jeremy
  • Lena
  • Stela

SEO team: 

  • Perform keyword research
  • Write URLs, meta titles, and meta descriptions. 
  • Optimize content for search engines and publish it.

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Article FAQs

Who creates a project brief?
Ultimately, a project manager should create a project brief as they are also in charge of the project plan, schedule, and resource management. To gather information, project managers typically refer back to older projects, ask other project managers who run a similar project, or from their project team.
Project brief vs executive summary
A project brief defines what the company desires to accomplish and how, whereas an executive summary summarizes the key points of a lengthy report. In both cases, this document is an introduction to the wider document or project. In some instances, these two documents may be combined into one, with the project brief providing high-level information about the project's goals, and the executive summary providing detailed information on how those goals will be achieved.
Project brief vs creative brief
Both briefs provide background and key information about the project, but the main difference is that a creative brief includes information about how the client wants the final product to look, feel, and sound.
Project brief vs project charter
The main difference between them lies in their intended audience. A project brief is aimed at high-level stakeholders where as a project charter is aimed at broad users within an organization who want to know more about the details of the proposed project, so this is where the line is drawn between them.

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