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Writing A Brief For A Developer

Alex Tykocki 15.05.2019
Writing A Brief For A Developer
[updated 15/02/2021]

Writing a brief for your new website, or any kind of project can be confusing.

How much information is too much information? What details should you include and what if they change? 

Don’t worry, we’re here to help you write the perfect brief for your developer! It doesn’t have to be intimidating.

Keep Things Simple

Before we down to the specific elements that your brief needs to ideally consist of, we should discuss how it should be written, and it simple, understandable and direct. Briefs should only include the vital elements.

When writing a development brief, the goal is to present the project with enough details that the developers understand what tasks lies in front of them but at the same time, not too many that the brief ends up losing its sole purpose.

Introduction To Your Company

The easiest (and best) way to start your brief is with a quick description of your company. It sets the scene for your developer or agency and gives them an insight into the business. With all successful relationships, there needs to be mutual understanding, so it’s useful at this point to read up on them too, so you’re comfortable they’re the right fit.

The information you can include are as follows: 

  • Company Name
  • Company URL
  • Type of professional activity
  • City and Country of the business
  • Corporate contact information (email and phone number) 
  • Any previous relevant software development work. 

 

Once you’re happy with the overview of you/your company, start to consider what’s driving your need for a new website. It may be encroaching competitors, feedback from users or perhaps you don’t have a website at all yet. This will help shape the designs and features of your website and form the basis of your specification.

Functionality and Technical Requirements 

Next up, it's best to explain how you want different elements of your software to function. The technical requirements refer to the specifications and the platform your software will run on. 

Provide general information that will help developers figure out the tech stack such as: 

  • The devices on which your software should run on.
  • Whether there is need for data synchronisation.
  • If this is a redesign or a new project entirely
  • Will the software work offline, online or both
  • Will the software be integrated with other software. 

 

Specifications can seem tricky, especially if you’re not a techie! At Cold Banana Studio all our developers are pros at translating geek speak (they have loads of practice when talking to our marketing team), just give as much description as you can! Things to bare in mind is the platform you’re using or want to use if you need marketing, payment or other integrations.

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Cold Banana Web Res (109)

Non-functional Requirements

Define the elements of the development such as security, performance, concurrent load times and auditing specifications. 

If you don't state that your software will be used by hundreds or thousands of users early doors the user experience can be lessened and and software used might be slowing down if there's more traffic than originally built for. 

Express Design Ideas

Do you already have a general idea of how you want the software to look visually? 

Share these ideas of any specific visuals in mind within the main brief. Mention colour schemes, any audio materials or pre-developed aspects which you wish to be included. 

Estimate Time and Budget 

And lastly, don’t be afraid to be upfront. If you’re working within a certain budget, or to a tight deadline, let your developer know. It’s much better to have hard conversations at the beginning so everyone knows the lay of the land than risk crossed wires at the end.

It's worth mentioning here though, if you are going to present a brief with a short decline, the budges is likely to be directly affected. Developers will need more people on their team or have to work in extra hours to meet the deadline. 

Conclusion

Writing out a well thought out development brief based on the above tips is all you should need for a strong start on your project. Be led by the thought to include only the vital information that will help your developers understand your project.

Oh and one last thing, there’s a reason it’s called a brief, keep it clear, concise and compact.

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