The first few sections of your project brief were quite broad. They were at the overall project level and not concerned with exact project execution.
Enter the timeline and budget sections!
Unlike the very general Goals section of your project brief, the Timeline section can let you dive into specific to-do items and their associated deadlines.
Setting a timeline in advance of starting the project lets you clear up any possible misunderstandings between you and your client (or you and your team). For example, while you might think a certain code refactor is important to write before doing anything else, your client or company might be interested in having a first raw prototype as the first step in the process.
Unsure where to begin for setting a project timeline? Start by writing down the largest, broadest steps either in a notebook or in your actual project brief. Next, break down the individual steps you'll need to take in order to accomplish the large tasks. Don't think about dates for the moment.
For example, a large step could be "Set Dough subscription pricing." This task is large and requires multiple smaller steps! Smaller steps therein could include "Finance team researches subscription options and budget," "Have meeting with finance team and CEO," or "Email payments processor with list of needs."
Once you've broken down each large step into its individual components, you can now break down the timeline of each. Depending on your project's timeline, you may breakdown down tasks into hourly, daily, weekly, or even monthly time chunks.
Even for tasks that are less clear timing-wise, it's better to give a rough estimate instead of no estimate at all. Some project steps depend on other preceding steps. When someone looks at your project brief, they should be able to understand the flow of task execution.
Give yourself some wiggle room! If you think something might be completed somewhere between November 3-6, for example, put November 6. Worst-case scenario, you finish early. 😎
You can detail your timeline in a format that suits you. Here's the above example in a spreadsheet format:
The level of detail you want to set is up to you. No matter what though, writing the project brief timeline is an excuse to talk to each stakeholder, understand their constraints, and identify possible delay points.
Setting a budget will depend hugely on the project itself! There are some best practices to follow though, whether your project is taking place in-house or with an external client. 💰
There are core costs involved in almost any type of project, which include salaries (for in-house collaborators) and rates (for freelance collaborators), travel costs, physical materials (computers, supplies, etc), and services (web hosting, domain names, software tools, etc).
If your project only involves in-house collaborators, considering salaries is not as crucial, especially because you might not have access to this information.
To get an idea of possible costs, look back at projects you've done before, or ask other people in the company to share their experiences.
For example, while considering previous projects, you might notice several projects got stuck at the software testing phase because you only have one QA manager who's spread thin between a million projects, which resulted in paying a freelance QA person to lend a hand. You'll therefore want to add a line to your budget for a likely freelance QA person based on those previous experiences.
"Sneaky" isn't an official finance term, but it describes certain types of expenses very well! You'll have generally smaller costs that accumulate throughout your project. While they may seem negligible, their costs add up.
Postage and shipping
What might we need to consider for the Dough project in terms of timeline and budget? Fill out your project brief draft with a proposition.