I think you're technically obligated to screw one up, it's a rite of passage... or something like that!
First things first, keep it simple, don't go overboard with rubs, sauces, etc... all you're trying to do is cook it right. Understanding the characteristics of your particular smoker is also a big asset.
On my UDS, I can go nearly 10 hours on a basket full of charcoal, but it takes longer for me to get it to the point where I get the clean blue smoke. On my off-set, I'll go through 4 times that amount of charcoal, but I can start cooking quicker, and I can open the lid more often (if I so desire) without impact the temperature that much. A UDS on the other hand, is more prone to wild temperature variations if you pull the lid off more frequently.
All that to say, trim & season the brisket, get the fire and temperatures situated, throw on the brisket and (depending on the size) walk away from it for several hours. Foil it with the fat cap up when you think you're a couple of hours away from it being done, probe it once or twice, and you should end up with an awesome piece of meat.
Keep it simple and easy to start with.
Weber Kettle, UDS, Good-One Open Range
RK Coffee Roaster
KCBS & CBJ