An SOW (Statement of Work) is a contract between a contractor or vendor, and a client. It can be viewed as a legally binding agreement that lays out terms and conditions, such as how the objectives will be met, how much the service will cost. It also lays out how many deliverables are to be produced, and the time frame in which the contract will be fulfilled.
What to Include in an SOW?
Some of the fundamental elements of a statement of work that are usually included include:
- Introduction: The introduction should explain what the project is, the parties involved, who is leading the project, etc.
- Background: Provide a little background on your project. Explain a little about the company/organization and its needs.
- Purpose: Explain the why of your project, starting with the purpose statement and then answering questions such as the deliverables, objectives, and the ROI
- Scope of work: The type of work that has to be done, including the type of hardware and software needed to do the work and the process used, including the outcomes, time involved, and the general steps that have to be taken.
- Location: Make sure that the work is done, whether remotely or at a central facility, including the types of equipment and software to be used.
- Schedule: The schedule is a list of deliverables focusing on their deadlines and the team members responsible for completing them, including all stages from the start to the end.
- Milestones: the milestones should define your timeline from the start to finish of the project, including the deadlines. Milestones are a great way to divide the project into more manageable parts.
- Tasks: Take the SOW and breakdown the general steps into specific tasks. Be very detailed. You can also paint it broadly by collecting those tasks in milestones and phases.
- Payment: The SOW should mention the payments related to the project and how they shall be delivered.
- Requirements: Make sure to mention where you will be collecting any equipment, certifications or degrees, travel time, and other essential requirements for completing the project.
- Closure: Note how the project deliverables shall be accepted, such as who will deliver the project, review it, sign off on them- ensuring that all documents have been approved.
How to Write a Work Statement
One of the essential things an organization can do is draft a compelling statement of work sample as it is often the first deliverable item that a client sees and because it is the template that helps tell your story.
A simple but effective statement of work should start with the “why,” then proceed to the “what” and “how,” then followed by the “how much” and then “when.” All the aspects of a statement of work should have a cohesive and comprehensive flow so that it is easy to understand and follow. Here are some few tips to consider when drafting an SOW:
Start By Writing Your Objectives
The objectives will define the “why” of your project. This section clearly states your business or marketing goals by presenting a high-level view of the project’s solution. Properly defining your objectives clarifies why you need to do the work, and from there, you can begin crafting your story.
Create a Clear Outline of the Scope Together with the Deliverables and Assumptions
The outline and The scope, and the deliverables’ assumptions define the “what” and “how” of your statement. A summary of the scope defines the work you are looking to achieve and the processes involved. This section embodies your task list and, therefore, you should write it in process form. Assumptions are a significant part of a simple statement of work template. Make sure to include any assumptions that you have made while estimating and scoping your project. Tailor these assumptions to be in-line with the tasks. Additionally, clearly state what deliverables to produce, including the details that describe each of your deliverables accurately.
Come Up With A Timeline/Schedule
The timeline defines the “when.” This section should provide a detailed schedule for your project. The format isn’t that important as you will be able to present this in a table form easily. Another key way of doing this is by using a get-and-paste image straight from your Microsoft project into your document. The information that you provide should include your project’s end date. As for the start date of the project, you may decide to either include it or not.
Establish The Price
The price defines the “how much” of your project. In this section, you will have to specify the total cost of the project, including everything involved in it.
List The Key Assumptions
Any assumptions that you failed to include in other sections should go here; however, the assumptions should have been included in the scope section. Try as much as possible to avoid repeating your assumptions, as this could lead to mistakes. Instead, you can use this section to document any general assumptions that you haven’t started yet.
Lastly, you have the acceptance section, which should contain the client’s signature from the company’s key executives accountable for project management. Never start a project without your client’s signature, as this might lead to problems. If you have any exceptions, just make sure that the agency team agrees with them.
A contractor will use a SOW with a potential client to lay out what work needs to be done and how it will be completed. A client might use one as well, including a SOW with their RFP (Request for Proposal) which they send to a contractor or vendor that they want a proposal from.
Though each SOW can be a little different, they tend to have several of the same core elements. There is usually an introduction that outlines the objectives and the reason behind the project. A section about the scope of the work will often detail specific tasks and the numbers of deliverables required.
Another section will lay out the dates on which the project will start and end, and perhaps a schedule of when the deliverables will be delivered. An SOW will often include sections on pricing and the criteria that must be met for performance to be acceptable.
Samples & Examples (SOW)
Whether this is your first SOW or you are a seasoned veteran looking for something quick and easy to build off of, it is recommended to know the correct format of writing an SOW. That is why our free SOW templates are perfect for you. They are clean, professional, and easy to modify in order to fit your needs. That means whether you need something very simple or very complicated, we provide the perfect framework to start with.