Project Brief vs Scope of Work

We’ve recently made our language clearer around what a Project Brief and a Scope of Work are. It’ll be short but is important to understand. In many ways, these terms are interchangeable, however it can cause some confusion, so I thought it would be a good time to explain how we use them, and when. Here’s a short description of what each one is,

Project Brief – When starting a project, a Project Brief is one of the first things that needs to be created. Often these are called Scope of Works as well, which can be misleading. I’ve learned the hard way when not clarifying this to clients. A Project Brief can contain any amount of information and can fill several roles. We use ours partly as a new client intake form, and also to gather all the information we need to create a Scope of Work, and then a proposal. Project Briefs are word only documents, though you can always attach images or sketches with it for reference. They define what the project is, any special requirements, and with ours, gives us an understanding of the entire project as a whole.

Scope of Work – We’ve done a post about them, The 4 Things Your Scope of Work Should Have, but that just covered some important things to have in a scope of work. A Scope of Work is something that’s included in our proposals. They are not necessarily as in depth as a Project Brief, but contain a list of all deliverables and outline what will be done to deliver those, and how they will be delivered. It’s important to remember that the SOW is the end document, and to get there may take a lot of information gathering before it can be created. It isn’t the beginning document. SOW can change, but usually only with a cost if the project has already started.

By using these two components, we can ensure greater project success and an easier process for all parties involved. Information gathering through a Project Brief makes for creating better and clearer Scope of Works for a project, which helps to keep things on track and on budget.

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