How to Write a Project Overview (With Template and Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated December 3, 2022

Published January 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're a project manager or are responsible for leading a team through a project, it may be helpful to create a project overview. A project overview outlines the important details of your project, such as its goals and potential risks. Knowing more about project overviews and how to create one can help you stay organized and work more efficiently. In this article, we define project overview, tell you how to write a project overview, explain why having one is important, and give you tips, a template, and an example to help you write your own.

Related: What is a Project Management Plan? With Tips and Examples

What is a project overview?

A project overview is an outline of a project that describes important details about it. A project overview includes basic information, such as the project name, project manager, and sponsors. It also includes detailed information that summarizes the project's value, the problem it may solve, and the goals the team hopes to achieve. Project overviews are typically one page or less, as they're a summary of the project. Project managers tend to include the project overview at the beginning of a proposal or project plan to introduce the reader to the topic.

Project managers create a project overview before the project begins to convince senior management that the project is necessary. They may also create a project overview to ensure their team understands the project's goals and objectives. This keeps the team organized and gives them something to refer to throughout the project.

Related: How to Create a Project Communication Plan (With Template)

How to write a project overview

Follow these steps to learn how to write a project overview:

1. Determine the scope of your project

Start by determining the logistics of the project so you can summarize it in your overview. To do this, think about the following:

  • project timeline

  • major deadlines

  • project budget

  • project status

  • deliverables

  • team members and their roles

  • how and when to give feedback

This allows you to create a project overview that can educate your team and clients on every aspect of the project.

Related: What Is a Statement of Work in Project Management?

2. Research the unknowns

Once you assess the scope of the project, you may be missing some vital information. Use this time to research any unknowns to ensure you're well informed before starting the project. For example, it may be essential to conduct market research to assess your competitors' strategies and performances before you start your project.

3. Talk to your clients

Another way to inform yourself about the project details is to talk to your clients. Clarify any doubts or concerns you have regarding topics such as their expectations, process, finances, or risks. This can help you create a project overview that meets their specific needs and allows you to build a stronger relationship with your client. Here are some examples of questions you can ask your clients to get to know them and their needs better:

  • What's your main objective with this project?

  • What's your preferred mode of communication?

  • Who's your point of contact?

  • How often do you want an update?

  • Are there any additional stakeholders' interests to consider?

  • What's your benchmark for success?

  • What's your target audience?

  • What risks or challenges do you see us facing with this project?

  • What's your budget for the project?

  • What features do you want to emphasize?

  • Do you have any inspiration for this project?

4. Create an outline

You can now create a project overview outline with all the information you gathered. As this is an outline, it doesn't need too much detail, but it may include the following information:

  • deliverables and related tasks

  • timeframes for these tasks

  • roles for each team member

  • list of assumptions made when during the drafting

  • possible resources you and your team require

Related: How to Write an Action Plan to Help You Achieve Your Goals

5. Share the draft with your team and revise

Once you have a draft, you can share it with your team for their feedback. They may offer additional information, ideas, or opinions about ways to improve the project and its overview. Sharing the draft with them also ensures everyone understands their roles. Using your team's feedback, you can review the overview and create a final copy.

Why are project overviews important?

Project overviews are important for any project, as they help guide a team throughout each stage of a project's life cycle. Team members can regularly refer to the overview to ensure they're adhering to the project's goals and timelines. Here are some of the other benefits to creating and using a project overview:

  • Allows you and your team to refer to past overviews for ideas or inspiration

  • Remains easy to change and update the project overview when necessary and redistribute the information to team members

  • Allows you to refer to the project overview throughout the project to retrieve information quickly

  • Allows everyone involved to better understand their roles and responsibilities

  • Provides a visual representation of the project

  • Simplifies the project's details to ensure everyone better understands

Tips for writing a project overview

To ensure your project overview thoroughly outlines your project, consider the following tips:

  • Be concise: As a project overview is just a summary of your project, try to keep it as concise as possible. Only include the necessary details and limit it to one page so your readers can quickly assess what your project is about.

  • Proofread: Before submitting the final copy of your overview, ensure you proofread it first. Look for any spelling, grammar, or punctuation mistakes to correct, ensuring the document is as professional as possible.

  • Avoid technical language: Although you may be working on a technical project, try to avoid using any language that not everyone may understand. Keep your language simple to ensure the document is easy to read and understand.

  • Write the project overview at the end: Writing your project overview after you write the rest of your document, such as a project plan or proposal, can help make the overview more accurate. It allows you to include specific information to summarize your project efficiently.

Project overview template

To help you create your own project overview, consider using this template:

Project name: [name of the project so readers immediately know what the document is about]

Project manager: [name or names of the leader on the project]

Project sponsor: [names of any executive sponsors if relevant]

Business case: [summary of the project and how it adds value to the company]

Problem: [explanation of the problem the project may solve]

Goals: [details about what you hope to achieve with the project]

Deliverables: [list of all the tasks and deliverables you and your team plan to submit by the end of the project]

Risks or obstacles: [list of any risks or obstacles you may face in the project so you can brainstorm ways to avoid or handle them]

Related: Create an Effective Work Plan For a Successful Project (With Template)

Project overview example

Using the template from above, here's an example of what a project overview can look like:

Project name: Skincare marketing campaign

Project manager: Julie Smith

Project sponsor: Andrew Adams and John McDaid

Business case: Create a social media marketing campaign for the company's new skincare line that increases brand awareness and sales.

Problem: Our new skincare line last year didn't hit sales targets as we didn't generate enough interest or awareness about it. We plan to keep the same sales targets but use this marketing campaign to ensure we hit them.

Goals: Here are some of our main goals with this project:

  • Create content targeted to our audience of 25- to 40-year-old women

  • Obtain 1,000 more followers on each of our social media platforms

  • Reach our sales goal of $50,000 in sales by the end of the quarter

Deliverables: Here are the tasks we hope to complete throughout this project:

  • Create a 30-second introduction video to the skincare line to post on all social media

  • Take pictures of each product to create a featured post discussing the product's uses

  • Interact with followers to increase engagement

Risks or obstacles: Comparing this skincare line to our last release, here are some obstacles we may face:

  • Low engagement from our existing followers: We can overcome this by creating content our audience is more likely to interact with, such as a giveaway to advertise the new line.

  • Not enough or too much product: As we don't know what the demand for the new skincare line is going to be yet, it's hard to assess how much product to order. We may be able to assess demand by how much engagement our initial posts about the line receive.

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