The Importance of a brief

Whether you are a service provider taking a brief from a client, a client giving a brief or a someone briefing your own team, it’s all about the brief.

Why do I need to take a brief?

It’s a good question. I used to ask this myself all the time, along with “isn’t it easier just to quote and do the work or let me just give a number to get the job or project…it will all work out.” Sure, sometimes it does work out, but more often than not the job or project isn’t as expected. This generally leads to loss of revenue, extra time and resources being used and most importantly a disappointed customer.

Having a clear understanding of the client, project requirements and the deadline is vital. When expectations from any side are not met, it leads to disappointments. Invest the time to get as much information as possible.

Try have your brief answer the following

  • Who is the client?
  • What is the scope of work?
  • What is the deadline?
  • What are some of the challenges?
  • Are there any special requirements?
  • Who is going to be the point of contact?
  • Is there a budget? What is the budget?
  • What are the working/environmental conditions for the project?

Tell me more, tell me more…

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if they seem silly to you. It’s better to ask what may be an obvious question when taking a brief and getting the answer, compared to assuming and making a mistake on the project. When giving a brief, try give as much detail as possible, never assume the person taking the brief knows all the basic details relating to your business or industry. If there are certain challenges you know about, explain them in detail, additionally what has been done previously to try solve these challenges.

The briefing stage of a project is like the initial dating stage of a relationship, one needs to listen attentively, ask relevant questions, show interest, and provide the client with sense of comfort that they will be in good hands trusting you and your company with their business.

Last but definitely not least…take notes, lots and lots of notes. We are not computers, we forget things. Notes help us remember what was discussed.