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What is Statement of Work and How to Write a Great SoW

What is Statement of Work

If you’re starting to explore the concept of creating a statement of work, you must understand what the process entails. SoWs are powerful tools. They help define a project’s expectations– and they leave almost nothing to the imagination.

Project proposals, statements of work, and all the other components of a project play critical roles in successful business endeavors. You can use them not only for external engagements but also for intra-business projects or for internal purposes; they are useful in almost any circumstance.

Do you need a statement of work?

Honestly? Yes, sort of. You’ll need it if you don’t want to spend serious time repeating and re-documenting expectations.

It can sound daunting actually to put an SoW together; they do take an upfront investment of time and effort to create. Once you understand how an SoW can be used, and once you realize you can re-use this template for the foreseeable future, the idea will sound more appealing.

A statement of work gives you something to point to and show an explicit agreement between all stakeholders.

What Is A Statement of Work?

A statement of work is a document. If you work in project management, you’ve probably heard the title before. Its primary purpose is to outline a project’s work requirements.

  • An SoW is an agreement between a client and a service provider.
  • The agreement defines what will be included in a project and what will not.

Some of the critical components of information that contribute to a strong statement of work include essential details of the project and an estimated project schedule.

  • Once you create an ideal template, you should re-use it in the future.
  • Copy-and-paste data manually or automate the process (you can pull data like project details and schedules from your project management system).

Why is a statement of work important?

SoWs are important to successful projects. They help offer more detail than some other types of communication or documentation, like a basic cost estimate.

  • Lots of organizations end up adjusting project timelines and estimates once they create this document.
  • It gives you plenty of space to describe how you will approach a project.
  • You can use an exceptional level of detail in an SoW; clients have a deep understanding of deliverables and achievables.
  • It ensures that you and your customer agree on the project requirements and how they will be implemented.

Is a statement of work the same as a contract?

SoWs are documents within contracts. They describe a project’s work requirements and expectations for its design and performance.

How does a statement of work differ from a scope of work?

A statement of work is similar to a scope of work. You may hear people use them interchangeably out in the real world. Technically, they’re a little different.

  • Statement of work usually refers to a document itself.
  • Scope of work is generally a part of the Statement of Work document that covers the exact details of the work to be performed.

How to Write an Effective SoW

A statement of work is essentially a project contract within a project contract. You’ll need to make sure that it includes all of the high-level project information possible.

  • It should not be too vague or generic; if there’s room for interpretation, close those loopholes.
  • If it’s too concrete, it could begin to unnecessarily constrain the project.

Who prepares the statement of work?

A project manager often prepares an SoW, but more than one person can be involved in preparing it, and third-party contractors (plus other internal team members) can author this document too.

Tips For A Powerful Statement of Work

Once you have a feel for laying out your expectations and the meaty details of a project, it becomes easier to form a strong SoW. There are lots of things you can focus on to help ensure your project documentation defines precisely what you need it to:

  • You have to clearly define success: The thing you should spend the most time on when you write an SoW is describing exactly what success looks like. When you define and promise success, it’s easier to understand what boxes your project needs to tick.
  • Think ahead: Don’t make your SoW so high-level that parts of it will be outdated by the time you reach implementation.
  • Know that you may need to alter your SoW once your project begins: Some changes happen mid-delivery; if this describes your project, that’s fine, but you need to revise your SoW to account for them.

An Example Statement of Work

Statement of Work Template

This statement of work (SoW) is between (party 1) and (party 2).

Effective Date
This SoW is effective as of (date).

Scope of Work and Project Overview
Your project summary goes here. A definition of the project, an explanation for the purpose of the project and how it will continue. For example, you will design five components designed to meet the same three requirements.

Project Requirements
Some projects require very specific tools, approaches, etc.; those should be included here.

What will be produced by the project.

Delivery Date(s)
The service will be completed by (date) or by the delivery schedule below.

Acceptance Criteria and Quality Standards
Project will be accepted based on the following criteria … within … days of delivery.

Pricing Structure and Payment Schedule
Down payment (is or is not) available; payment of X dollars per component completed; interim payments available; etc.

Rights, Disclosures, Legal Terms
Copyright information, public non-disclosure agreement, etc. all go right here

Birdview PSA: We Can Help You Automate Statement of Work Creation

If you want to learn more about how you can automate the creation of your statements of work with Birdview PSA, reach out to us today. Our team will allow you to channel your team’s time towards high-value activities while we handle the busywork.

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