Advice: You probably have your app briefing documents all wrong

app briefing documents

If you are worried that you need to know lots of technical terms to write app briefing documents, the good news is you don’t.

Defining what technology to use (and when) is the job of the developer and a technical project manager, not you. They set it in the technical specifications that do not need to be written until your project has is scoped.

Scoping is the process of understanding all of the requirements that your app project will need in order for it to be built, testing and published. It is informed by a number of things but mostly by the app project briefing and any supporting materials, such as app designs and wireframes*.

Scoping is the second stage of most relationships with a developer. Because it is time-consuming, many developers first insist on producing either a project estimate or a proposal, based on the app project briefing you will have given them.

At this stage, technology doesn’t really come into it, unless you need the developer to work with existing systems you may already have, like web services delivered via an API, CRM databases and so on. Even then, the developer only needs a basic description, so they know what they will be dealing with.

Don’t get hung up on technology

As we said, you don’t need to worry about defining technology too much at this stage. The developers are the experts, and they’ll do that once they have a good understanding of what your app is intended to do and how your audience will use it.

For most developers at this stage, functional ideas are what is important, as well as user personas – character visualisations of the kind of people you think will use the app – and integrations with other apps, such as social media apps like Facebook and Twitter.


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They really need to understand how the app is expected to be used. As long as you can give them a decent description of your idea, using our app project briefing template, they will then be able to be more accurate with a project estimate of the time and costs involved. They will also be able, using their previous experience of creating many other apps, to make recommendations on how certain functions might be done better, and maybe even contribute new ideas.

By concentrating on the user experience, you’ll be better able to produce a briefing document that the developer will find relevant and useful.

So, pre-scoping (in which you will be involved, but the developer’s team will take the lead), your job right now is to give the development team as much relevant information as possible so they can give you an appropriate estimate or proposal.

*Wireframes and other terms used in-app projects are fully explained in the briefing notes that accompany our app project briefing template. You can download it here.