A project brief is an important element in the successful execution of any mobile app project. It gives the mobile app developer details and a bigger picture of the ideas and plans for your mobile app development project. It outlines specific functions required in the mobile app and also gives details of important finer aspect. For the app developers, it serves as a starting point for a mobile app development process.
The project brief makes the scoping phase shorter and you see the initial phase timeline reduced significantly. This ultimately means reduced app development time. Though the app developer has technical expertise and better understanding to decide the features for the mobile app, the project brief provided by a client goes a long way in helping the app developer to understand the app idea and concept in a better manner. The project brief generally includes a basic outline and description of the features and sketch of the mobile app. One of the major benefits of a project brief is the app developers get a concept which is fully been thought of and the app developer can design a mobile app that achieves better outcome for the client. The project brief helps the app developer to understand the client’s requirement more clearly as it contains instructions and features needed to complete the mobile app development project successfully.
The process of putting up a project brief need not be complicated. Here is a guide that tells you about 3 main elements that need to be part of your project brief.
The overview of the project brief need to explain what business objective is to be achieved or what problem needs to solve by a mobile app. It needs also explain the reason a project holds value and is undertaken. You need to write an overview that gives an app developer the bird’s eye view of the mobile app development project.
When we say specifics, it means details of a different aspect of a mobile app development. Here are some things that need to be taken care of.
Any initial ideas, suggestions, or main features need to be listed in detail along with an order of priority. The app developer needs to know the important elements of the project with clear distinction of each element. This will help the app developer to understand which features are absolute necessities, the ones that are less important and the ones that are nice to have and can be included in the future.
If you have made any diagrams, sketches, or wireframes to demonstrate your vision for the project hand it over to the app developers. This also includes any existing images, logos, and graphic images created for a mobile app.
If you want to integrate any existing systems into your mobile app, make sure the app developer knows about it. The app developer also needs to know details about the internal systems that need to be integrated so they can create APIs and database access modules for interacting and sharing data between mobile app and internal systems.
The project brief needs to include the timeline to start the project along with milestones and deadlines. If you have any restrictions, mention it as well. If possible, provide an estimated project timeline. A project brief needs to indicate a budget so that app developer works on a mobile app development within defined budgetary constraints.
Now that you have defined the most important elements and an outline of a project brief, you can proceed to detailed project process that will ensure a project execution runs smoothly. Here are 5 phases of creating a project brief.
Phase 1 – Providing fundamental information about project
The most important step in writing project brief is to provide the right logistical data to the developer in the right context as given below:
- Mention the preferred start date, milestones, and final release dates
- Find systems and platforms that need to be supported by your mobile app. For example, you want a mobile app for Android OS or iOS or even WP
- Find a number of internal resources available such as designers, backend developers, and testers. If you are looking for end-to-end solutions, list the resources for them as well.
- Decide the quote-price method for a project – measured in resources utilized (time and materials) or fixed price package. A fixed price package works well when you want a project to execute in Agile method and you expect to make a lot of changes in scope until the completion of the project. The measured in resources works well when the project is compact and everything has been layered out in right proportions and not many changes are expected in the entire life period of project execution.
Phase 2 – Strategic business goals and project objective
You need to state clearly the value your app is expected to offer to its end-users. The value needs to be identified in quantifiable components through a general system or through the app screen. For this, you need to
- Find the target market and specify the niche where the mobile app belongs.
- Specify the need/problem the mobile app intends to meet/solve
- Measure an impact of withdrawing an app from a market overnight. What effect will it have on the target audience and the effect of its absence?
- Identify a business or competitor app which could replace or displace your app in a simple way
- Find out a tangible value that you will gain from a completion of the project. Make sure your app developers team knows an enterprise model of the mobile app and the multiple levels it will use to reach the intended audience (psychological, rational, emotional)
Phase 3 – Identify personas and create Target groups
You shouldn’t create a mobile app for generic users to use. You need to have detailed customer profiles that will be further divided into different target groups based on their needs. A detailed user profile is referred as a persona. For example, a persona is – Kim a lady who is a middle-aged housewife managing home and office and has problems keeping track of household expenses. So the solution would be developing a mobile app which allows the Kim to manually record expenses and categorize them in the app. The app will also have the option to make electronic payments that will also be recorded.
Phase 4 – user stories and functional scope
It is not enough to mention the required features in the app. You also need to provide a descriptive brief that you are offering to the users. This can be effectively done through user stories. A user story is useful to explain the functionality in detail which is delivered through pre-defined sentence structures. The user story has different elements- it describes the user, what he wants and why. User stories are an important part of the agile development which tells the app developers to produce an estimate effort to accomplish a specific task. A good user story conveys the idea of functionality to the app developer in the best way possible.
Phase 5 – Prioritize app functionalities
Every mobile app project has three categories of functionalities – the must have, should have or nice to have and could have. This is known as MoSCow method. The nice to have or could have functional requirements are first removed especially if they threaten the final delivery dates. The app developers primarily focus on must-have functionalities that are also the core functionalities desired by your target audience. The project brief need to clearly state the must have and should have features in the mobile app project. To make things simpler for the developer you need to mention the features in descending order where the top functionalities are of prime importance. This will ensure the first version of the mobile app is able to deliver high value to the target customer and the app development is completed within target timeframe.
The Final Word
A good project brief leaves no room for speculation or misunderstanding. It is the most informative document you give to the app developer to help him understand the app idea and the development journey in the best way possible. Following the guidelines above will ensure you get realistic and quote for the mobile app project. It will also help you select the most appropriate mobile app development company from a list of applicants. At the end, the project brief will strengthen your app idea and test it and put it on the path of realization.