The project or programme brief is created by the identification process and is one of the documents submitted to the sponsor to seek approval to start the definition process.
During the definition process each section of the brief will used as a basis for development of multiple specialist documents. The version of the brief used for authorisation will then be archived.
A brief typically contains the following sections:
This will initially be drawn from the mandate supplemented with additional research to establish the context of the project or programme. Any assumptions made in preparing the brief will be documented here along with constraints and dependencies on other projects or programmes. Any impact that this work will have on other projects or programmes should also be noted.
- Outline business case
This section will follow the structure of the business case but in a different context to the separate business case document used throughout the rest of the project or programme. The business case produced at the end of the definition phase is a ‘bottom up’ document that summarises many detailed delivery documents. This outline business case is an initial ‘top down’ estimate of how the project or programme will develop.
The nature of the estimating funnel means that the possible spread of estimates for schedule, cost, resource, risk, etc. is at its broadest in the outline business case. Stakeholder expectations must be managed and the possible estimating spread explained.
A key difference between the outline and full business case is the treatment of scope. In the context of the brief, the summary of scope should include the different options that arose from the initial solutions development. The justification section will look at the preferred option but the other options should be summarised, including the ‘do-nothing’ option.
The first question to be answered here is whether the work is to be managed as a project or a programme (or possibly a combination of the two). The components of Praxis are designed to be as independent of this decision as possible but the two areas immediately impacted by this decision are the organisation structure and the delivery phase of the life cycle.
The brief must contain a draft organisation structure that is appropriate for the context, environment and complexity or the work. Wherever possible, individuals will be identified to fulfil the identified roles.
If the work is a typical project this section will identify the probable stages of delivery and any interim outputs. In a typical programme, a list of probable projects and tranches will be identified.