A statement of work is a critical project management component that keeps all parties on the same page while letting a client know that you’re interested in their project. Effective statements of work outline the relevant project details that protect the rights and secure the obligations of all parties.
In this article, we’ll show you how to write a strong SOW for any business and how to customize it for your organization:
What Is a Written Statement of Work?
Written statements of work , or SOWs, are legal documents used in project management to define the scope of work. These contracts provide project terms and conditions, including payment details, deliverables, and project deadlines. Service providers and contractors most often use statements of work.
What Is the Purpose of a Statement of Work?
The purpose of a statement of work is to give a company more information about how you plan on handling their project. You can also use them when third parties collaborate with your company to provide them with guidance. An SOW is most commonly used in conjunction with other documents.
Other documents that utilize a statement of work include:
- Request for proposals (RFPs)
- Master services agreements (MSAs)
A well-written SOW defines a vendor’s or contractor’s responsibilities and deliverables. You should prepare one only after agreeing upon other project details. This will make it easier to prevent disputes during contract negotiations in the future.
How To Write A Statement of Work – Step by Step
Are you ready to dive into the legal drafting process? Let’s take a look at the eight steps when writing a statement of work:
Step 1. Write Your Statement of Work’s Introduction
Start by creating a simple statement that outlines the project’s goal or purpose. Make sure to provide a description of work performed, as well as any other limitations. The primary goal of this section is to capture your target’s attention and let them know how you’ll elevate their company.
Step 2. List Project Activities and Requirements
Make a list of the activities for completion, including any performance criteria and project requirements that the contractor must follow while performing the contract. Get as specific as possible without going beyond the scope of a statement of work document since clients can refer to this information in the future.
Step 3. Create Your Project Timeline
A project timeline is a crucial component of the project. Clients are waiting for deadlines and deliverables since they are the physical manifestations of their projects. Be realistic and detailed about the project timeline and always plan for contingencies.
Step 4. Indicate What Resources You’ll Need
Identify any resources, such as personnel, equipment, or materials required to accomplish the job. Assign who is responsible for paying third parties, vendors, and retailers. You can also outline your proposed procedures should unforeseen circumstances arise and handling a request for additional resources.
Step 5. Specify the Project Deliverables
Indicate project deliverables that the project must meet for completion. In terms of quality, quantity, time, and appearance describe expectations and relevant deadlines. Realistic and essential performance deliverables are vital and can prevent disputes down the road.
Step 6. Point Out Time-Sensitive Milestones
Determine if any milestones or deliverables are time-sensitive. This section is a great place to indicate special or unique timeframes that would otherwise get lost in timeline schedules and project deliverables.
Step 7. Let Clients Know How You’ll Track the Project
Decide how you’ll keep track of the deliverables. Random sampling, frequent inspections, and reporting are just a few techniques. Regardless of your methodology, the emphasis here is to let the client know you are serious about keeping the project on track and in accordance with the original agreement.
The contractor’s ability to produce a thorough document that properly reflects your business and project needs is critical to the SOW’s success. Ensure that your document includes the relevant elements and sections that companies expect to review when submitting a statement of work.
What Should a Statement of Work Include?
Breaking down a statement of work into specific provisions and headers makes sense when creating a contract. Keep in mind that a statement of work’s elements are always proportionate to the project’s scope and depth, which means the length and complexity of your document will vary accordingly.
Here are the elements that a statement of work generally includes:
Element 1. Introduction
The introduction provides a basic overview of the project and the parties involved. It’s perfectly acceptable to write this section last as a summary of the document contained within. Try to sell them on why you are the best choice for the job without making it sound like a sales document.
Element 2. Objectives
This section allows you to communicate what you want to accomplish for the client. Ensure that you account for objective and subjective benchmarks. For example, an objective benchmark quantifies that outcome, such as “increase revenues by X.” In contrast, subjective benchmarks deal in the abstract, such as “strengthen brand performance.”
Element 3. Project Scope
In the project scope section, you’ll include an overview that outlines project requirements, procedures, time, and resources necessary to execute it. These resources can consist of equipment, hardware, software, and tools.
Element 4. Location
Add details about where you or your team will work throughout the agreement. Communicating their location and any equipment utilized on site is critical no matter where your employees are operating.
Element 5. Deliverables
Make a list of deliverables, as well as a clear, mutually agreed-upon explanation of when each item is due. Quantity, color, size, structure, and other details about the final production are helpful here.
Element 6. Timeline
This section starts with the projected completion of deliverables. It contains a comprehensive breakdown of the anticipated timeline for each and every party participating in the project. There may be more or fewer scheduling stages depending on the project’s details.
Element 7. Consideration
Consideration is the value exchanged for your products and services. Outline payment terms, project payment schedules, and due dates. This section is critical to get right since it’s often the source of future disputes, which means you should spend extra time fleshing out the details.
Element 8. General Provisions
The first seven elements in the list are specific to the statement of work service contract. However, there are other general provisions found in most contracts that you’ll want to include as well, including invoice templates , confidentiality agreements , indemnification clauses , and governing law clauses .
Examples of When To Use a Statement of Work
The most common use for statements of work is in the commission of the project bidding process. The SOW must utilize a simple structure versus a lengthy document. If this is not accomplished, it’s less likely that the project’s needs will go unmet.
Concrete examples of when to use a statement of work include the following:
- Example 1. Bidding on the construction of a building
- Example 2. Responding to requests for proposals (RFPs)
- Example 3. Inserting in a master services agreement (MSA)
- Example 4. Indicating serious interest in a client’s website bid request
If you need legal help and advice, speak with business lawyers when creating a statement of work. They’ll ensure that your document meets expectations while protecting your rights throughout the bidding and service process.
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