Paperwork is a central part of the life cycle of any project, regardless of the industry. Whether you work in the service or manufacturing sectors, you constantly have to create documentation, have it approved, file, and archive it. Of all the documents you will work with, the Statement of Work (SoW) is arguably the most important because it outlines the entire project from start to finish.
A well-written Statement of Work will ensure your project runs smoothly, in compliance with your client’s needs, within budget, and on schedule. Read on to learn how to create it.
What Is a Statement of Work?
A Statement of Work (SoW) is a document that records and defines all the aspects of a project, including timetable, deliverables, and processes. Generally, it is the foundation of your project plan and is one of the first documents you will create and refer to for guidance. You can draft it from scratch or use Statement of Work Templates.
What Is a Statement of Work Template?
A Statement of Work template is a fillable format that you can download, print, and fill out to record the specifics of your project. It contains sections that you can customize and complete to develop a workable document specific to your company.
Statement of Work Templates & Examples
Why Do You Need a Statement of Work?
The benefits of keeping a record of your project from the beginning speak for themselves. Generally, this document acts as a one-stop shop for everything you need to make your project a success. Some reasons this is something positive include:
To prepare a Statement of Work, you must meet and discuss with all the parties involved, including the client, project manager, and supervisor. This meeting ensures everyone is on the same page and allows to streamline any details that might have been left out or misinterpreted. When you start working, you will be sure that there are no problems with the project.
The SoW highlights all the activities and tasks involved in a project, allowing you to distribute specific tasks to your team. It also gives you the chance to simplify the activities into achievable milestones that your team can keep track of and achieve.
Of course, a project will often include several documents. If something comes up or the client has questions, the SoW saves you the trouble of sifting through all these documents to find the answer. You can easily refer to it because it contains an overview of the entire project.
Essential Elements of Statement of Work
A Statement of Work is a very detailed document whose specific content will vary from project to project and across companies. Nonetheless, most projects share certain fundamental details, which you should include in your SoW. They are:
- Introduction: This segment explains what the project is about, who is involved, who is supervising the project, etc.
- Background: Describes the organization briefly, including mission and vision.
- Purpose: Answers the question, ‘why are we doing this project?’
- Scope of Work: Explains the work that must be done, including all the processes to be used, necessary hardware and software, expected outcomes, and timeline.
- Location: Describes where the work will be done and what software and equipment will be used in each location.
- Schedule: Lists all the team members, supervisors, and vendors responsible for completing different tasks by the fixed deadlines. It captures the process from kickoff to close.
- Tasks: Breaks down the scope of work, including all the general steps involved in specific tasks. It should be written, so every team member knows exactly what is expected of them.
- Requirements: Clearly explains all the required equipment, travel time, certifications, and other requirements for the project.
- Deliverables: Clearly describes the deliverables, when they are due, who will be delivering them, and to whom.
- Milestones: These are accomplishable tasks derived from dividing the project into easy tasks. They are written to reflect all the deadlines and the overall project timeline.
- Testing and Standards: Defines any standards to which the project must adhere.
- Success Definition: This segment should be written or approved by the client, stakeholders, or project sponsor. It should explain what the completed project should look like.
- Payments: Explains all the payments related to the project and how, when, and to whom they will be made.
- Communication Plan: Explains how progress will be monitored and reported to the team members, stakeholders, and client.
- Other: Covers any additional information not mentioned in the rest of the document, such as restrictions and security issues.
- Closing: Clearly outlines how the deliverables will be accepted (who will review, deliver, and sign off on them) and contains a checklist for ensuring all documents have been approved.
How to Write a Statement of Work
Typically, an SoW will contain all the details described in the previous section and a glossary of terms that defines the terms referenced in the document. Below are some easy to follow steps that will help you enter relevant data and administrative information into your statement:
Step 1: To avoid confusion later in the project, you want to start by clarifying the terms used in the document, so everyone reading it can understand. You also want to clearly define what is being done, who will do what and, by what time those tasks must be completed.
Step 2: After the preliminary information, include charts, visuals, graphs, and other illustrations to make the SoW more digestible.
Step 3: Finally, have every person of authority involved in the project read through the SoW and sign it.
Why Use a Statement of Work Template?
Think of a Statement of Work as a binding agreement between you, your client, vendors, employees, distributors, and anyone else involved in the project. It outlines the type of work you will do (scope), the conditions set by the client (milestones), and the duties of everyone involved (activities).
Creating a Statement of Work from scratch can seem daunting because it is. Fortunately, you don’t have to do everything yourself if you work with Statement of Work Templates. A proper format template will act as a guide to ensure you capture every scope of your project.
The success and completion of any project depend on your ability to keep track of all the processes, parties, and items involved in the process. When working on a project, you want to ensure you meet all your client’s requirements and do it within budget and on time. A Statement of Work is an excellent way to keep track of your progress, tasks, and milestones. It ensures everyone is on the same page and the work is being done as agreed upon with your client.