To start a project PRINCE2 suggests that a Project Brief is put together from a Project Mandate. Presumably the ‘too bureaucratic’ lobby is happy that whoever wants a project should provide a Project Mandate – or whatever name they wish to give to the information about what they want the project to do, etc. Notice that I didn’t say ‘write’. Many Project Mandates have been word of mouth. So isn’t it necessary to ensure that all the information that you need is there before you dive in? I’m not saying that every bit of specification should be known before a project starts. The Product Description of the Project Brief says what information should be available and my experience says that this is sensible. Remember, if the Project Mandate has all the information you need, then, as the manual says, it becomes the Project Brief without any further work. But you do need to check that it is all there. Often it isn’t.