The Statement of Work Template is an essential document for both project and contract management. An effective SoW contains all necessary information about the project, including terms, objectives, scope, cost, deliverables, timelines, and other work expectations.
Moreover, Statement of Work template helps guarantee that a project’s work will be done according to certain guidelines and expectations. Collaborators or contractors outside your organization will use the SoW to lead their work during a specific project.
Also, a good statement of work template is so often the one piece of documentation that keeps you from a world of trouble.
This SoW guide will provide you with the top SoW and project scope templates in Microsoft Word and Excel formats. All Statement of work templates are fully customizable and free to download.
Also, you can use these SoW templates for a wide variety of projects, ranging from a single visual design made by a graphic artist for a client to a large-scale government building contract.
Statement of Work Definition
Let’s start with the definition of what is an SoW. The project management Statement of Work covers working agreements between the client and buyer, vendor or contractor, client or buyer, or government or the agency. A statement of work includes:
- Project objectives
- Scope of work
- Expected outcomes
- Payment of the project
- Terms, conditions, requirements
Statement of Work Template Examples
Typically Statement of Work contains; an overview, governance detail, estimate and payment schedule, phases and tasks, the approach, deliverables, timeline and milestones, and any assumptions.
But if you’re looking for a statement of work template examples. You’re still curious how to organize all of this data so that it doesn’t get downright confusing.
Sample Statement of Work Breakdown for a Digital Project
Generally, your Statement of Work template should have two parts for most projects. The first part outlines the over-arching project information, and the second part defines each phase of the project. Here’s a sample statement of work example:
- Project Information
- Project Summary
- The Project Milestones
- Project Process
- Overall Project Governance
- General Assumptions
- Terms and Conditions
- Phase breakdown
- Phase Nam
- Deliverables and Assumptions
- Milestones and Schedule
- Budget and Payment
- Appendix A: Deliverable Descriptions
Purpose of the Statement of Work
Contractors or collaborators use an SoW when working on a project outside the organization with the internal project team. Also, it can inform vendors who are bidding on your project. An SoW is often used in conjunction with the following documents:
- Master Services Agreement (MSA): This document outlines contracts between two parties’ terms and responsibilities.
- Request for Proposal (RFP): Organizations use RFP to procure goods/services from vendors or contractors.
A well-written SoW outlines the tasks and deliverables of a contractor. And it provides a good foundation for writing an RFP or MSA down the road.
However, the SoW should only be written after terms and guidelines have been decided upon and should adhere to the correct format and use clear language detailing specific tasks, deliverables, or services the contractor is responsible for.
Also, this will help avoid conflicts when conveying the contract. Further, Statements of Work are helpful when describing the work according to specific directions. Also, it is useful when both parties clearly understand the requirements, tasks, and conditions.
Also, an effective SoW provides information on standards and outcomes as well. Both parties should understand what a “successful” project looks like and how to approve it.
Provides Financial and Timeline Estimate
Further, a statement of work provides the extra layer of detail that cost estimate. And usually, project plans don’t include in the Statement of Work to define precisely what’s being done and what’s not.
It’s where you place the meat on the project’s bones, and it’s also where you get to flesh out the nuances of what you’ll deliver with your project.
It’ll take a lot of time, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it’ll help you fine-tune your plan. When drafting an SoW, you will undoubtedly find yourself revising your estimate and timeline when you recall details you should have included but didn’t.
This clarity level gives the customer confidence in what they will achieve and assures that everyone is on the same page about the project’s performance.
As a project planner, this is the closest you’ll come to becoming a judge! The declaration of Work becomes the bible for both the organization and the client in deciding what is “in scope” and “out of scope.”
This is significant because the Statement of Work essentially guides deciding what is included in the project expense and what is not included. Therefore, getting your Statement of Work right the first time will save you a lot of time and effort later on in the process.
Related Statement of Work Documents
A few similar and related documents to SoWs are often mistaken for SoWs, even though they serve different purposes. Primarily, the below document types focus on big-picture issues, such as the project objectives and the expected results.
Related Documents Include
Project Charter: A project charter is a high-level document that, instead of detailing each task and deliverable, covers project objectives and expected outcomes. Also, it defines a project manager and the main stakeholders and approves a project to begin.
The project charter is often created after the SoW is agreed upon. Therefore, the project charter is meant for use at the starting of projects, after signing.
Master Services Agreement (MSA): The MSA is a contract between a client and an agency in which both parties agree to the terms that govern future agreements, like the Statement of Work.
Typically, an MSA describes the high-level services such as:
- Payment terms
- General services
- Terms and termination
- Property rights
- Project management
- Support/development etc.
Statement of Objectives (SOO): This is a government document closely related to an SoW. It lays out high-level performance objectives and outcomes for government procurement. And it typically accompanies an RFP. Also, it focuses on the results rather than on how to complete the Work.
Performance Work Statement (PWS): Another government document that focuses mainly on results. Similar to SOO, the PWS illustrates high-level outcomes. But it also outlines performance objectives and measurable results.
Statement of Work Outline
According to project management experts and entities, SoWs contain all project details and share some basic components, regardless of industry. Here is all that needs to be in each section in more detail below. Common elements of a Statement of Work include:
- Project Objectives
- Defining what is acceptable and what is not
- Location of work, resources, equipment, and facilities necessary.
- Invoicing schedule
- Internal and external standards and guidelines
- Criteria determine whether deliverables are acceptable and how they will be agreed upon.
- Signatures of both parties
It is best to keep your Statement as lean as possible. While creating a statement of Work, keep it simple because if the work statement is too hazy or generic, it can leave room for multiple explanations, starting later in a project. And if it’s too detailed, it can artificially restrict the project so that you end up doing falsework that’s not needed.
At a minimum, the SoW should detail:
- Work Breakdown Structure
- Period of Performance
- And work requirements
Three Types of Statements of Work
There are three types of Statement of work templates, each of which may be more common in various industries than the others. The most common forms are:
Design/Detail Statement of Work: This category tells the vendor, supplier, or contractor exactly how to do the work and what process. Also, It clearly defines the buyer, or client requirements, whether they be measurements, materials, quality control requirements, or something else.
Also, this consultant statement of work template is helpful in government contracts, where contractors have to follow specific regulations.
In this scope of work template, the buyer or client undertakes most of the risk since the contractor is grateful to follow the standards laid out for them.
Level of Effort/Unit Rate Statement of Work: This Statement of work template helps hourly service workers. It is simply basis on work hours and the required materials to perform the service. Further, this SoW describes the service being completed over a given period in a general way.
Also, it is often used for delivery order contracts or temporary or contract workers.
Performance-Based Statement of Work: This scope of work document is suitable for most government entities as it is the standard SoW for most American and Canadian government procurements. Also, it covers the purpose resources and equipment of the project that will be given and the quantifiable results.
However, it does not tell the supplier how to perform the Work. Also, the Statement of work template for professional services offers the most flexibility in terms of how the contractor works and focuses on results over procedures.
This model places more accountability on the contractor or supplier since they deliver results using whatever techniques they think are most effective.
Statement of Work Format
Regardless of your industry, you’ll want to make sure to include the following sections in your SoW. These sections are important because they capture all the information both parties need to ensure work is done according to the agreed-upon specifications.
The format for most Statements of Work includes the following components;
Introduction: The overview is where you specify which type of Work you will provide, whether it’s a service or a commodity. You often identify the customer, seller, consumer, or organization and the contractor, supplier, provider, or department. The introduction also tells the type of formal agreement for which you will use the SoW.
Standing offer: A vendor agrees to let a client purchase products/services at a specific price for a certain period.
Contract: A formal and legally binding agreement, where client and supplier agree upon the facts.
Governance: Who has approval
Objectives/Purpose: This section describes why the Work is being done. It talks about the purpose and goals of the project and why they are essential. It may discuss specific benefits or improvements the project is expected to bring or a high-level overview of project goals and objectives.
Scope of Work
The Scope of Work section outlines the Work that needs to be done and the processes involved in completing the Work. It covers the project outcome in terms of a service, product, or time commitment and clarifies an acceptable outcome.
It may include a high-level bulleted list of the steps that need to be taken to complete the Work. However, detailed task lists should go in the Requirements and Tasks section.
For example, the scope section for a software development project might include steps such as “develop application” and “test application.”
If we look in contrast, the requirements and tasks section would break down the actual tasks involved in these processes, such as “code design for the first module of the application.”
In some statements of work, hardware and software requirements are listed in the scope section. In others, they may be listed under conditions and tasks. If requirements are technical and specific, breaking them into a separate unit may make more sense.
Work Requirements and Tasks
This section contains other special needs and specifics about how the project will be completed, such as specific approaches or tools. This section also enlists requirements that suppliers or service providers must meet or hardware and software that they should use.
In this part, list all the necessary activities you must complete to finish the project. Also, divide tasks into lists for various stages. And if it’s a creative or software creation project, make a list for the kickoff process, a list for the concept phase, and a list for the build phase.
Remember: Tasks are not the same as deliverables. A task is an operation that must be completed, while a deliverable is the task’s final project or outcome.
So, for example, a job in a design services SoW may be to “author a creative brief,” with the creative brief itself as the deliverable.
Period of Performance
The performance period defines when the project will deliver, along with the time and a list of milestones. It’s important to include the approximate time for each milestone since time can be an important factor in the ultimate cost. Also, have approximate start and end dates.
Also, you can include, if necessary, the constraints on the number of time contractors or vendors can spend on the Work. Finally, if delays happen during the project that may affect completing it on time, you should adjust your SoW and project costs accordingly.
Remember: The performance period differs from the deliverables schedule as the deliverables schedule specifies when individual deliverables are due in detail. At the same time, the production date is just a high-level description of the contractor’s function.
Place of Performance
This section defines the location where you will perform work on the project. Also, if applicable, it enlists which facilities you will use. If you hold any regular meetings as part of this project, including where the parties will meet. Locations may contain:
- At a remote area of the contractor’s choosing
Depending on the industry and the type of employment, there would be a need of on-site or off-sit work. For example, one can complete a creative design project from a remote distance, at the contractor’s office or home. On the other hand, a government building contract will have to be conducted on-site at the construction site.
Resources and Testing
In this section, make a list of the key personnel of the project, such as the team leader, project manager, and any other participants on both the client’s and the contractor’s sides. Also include resources or equipment you will use to complete the work, such as hardware and software.
Deliverables and Schedule/Timeline: In this section, list all the deliverables the supplier, vendor, or contractor will deliver to the client or buyer. Include specific descriptions of the deliverables such as quantity, color, size, number of pages, designs, and anything else that may apply.
Remember: Deliverables are different from tasks as these are the quantifiable products/services that are meant for delivering to the client from the contractor.
Include a Detailed Schedule
Also, include a detailed schedule of when each deliverable is going to complete, along with dates for any other major project milestones, such as:
- Period of performance
- Vendor selection
- Reviews of product/service stages
- Warranty and maintenance
- Project closing
Remember to include deadlines and end dates for deliverables. And start dates may be optional depending on your industry and project.
Payment Terms and Schedule
This section outlines pricing for the work, along with the terms and schedule on which payments will be made. Also, include the entire cost of the Work, such as labor and any outside expenses that will accrue during the project’s life.
There are two ways you can set up payment terms:
By milestone or deliverable: Payment is expected until the completion of the milestone or deliverable. This pattern is generally more helpful to the customer or organization. This way, iWork is postponed. They won’t have to pay until the issuance of deliverables.
By schedule: Payment is due on specific dates, days of the week, or months, as outlined in this section. This model is usually better for the contractor or provider since it ensures reimbursement at predetermined intervals, regardless of the project’s point.
Methods of doing Software Development Projects
There are two other methods for software development projects:
Fixed bid: The project’s expense remains steady, and the contractor’s job is to use capital in a manner that keeps costs and profit margins in check. The customer is not concerned with resource allocation as long as the deliverables are reaching on schedule and budget.
Retainer: In this pattern, the customer is responsible for the staff’s expense and other services assigned to a project. It costs a little amount on monthly or weekly bases to keep the services going.
Special Requirements: This section includes anything not covered in the Statement of Work already. Include the following requirements in this section:
- Industry-specific standards you did not cover in a previous section.
- Hardware/software access restrictions or requirements.
- Security requirements.
- Post-work requirements such as support and testing.
- Travel requirements, and which party pays for travel.
- Assumptions and exclusions that you didn’t cover in previous sections include details about who owns the code in software development SoWs or non-scope-related assumptions for project management SoWs.
Acceptance Criteria/Signatures: Finally, this section includes how the client or buyer will accept the project deliverables. It also outlines which staff members will get it and who will review and sign off on deliverables.
Also, there will be guidance on submitting work and including specific criteria for deciding what is “acceptable work.”
Tips for Writing Statements of Work
Before going into the details of writing a Statement of Work template for professional services, it is crucial to know the general guidelines that can help write SoW for your specific industry.
General Guidelines for Writing an SoW
Here are some tips to consider when writing a Statement of work document:
Brainstorm. Before writing your SoW, brainstorm which parts details of the project you will include during later project phases or contract management process.
Break it Up: Don’t scope anything you don’t get. Instead, break the project into stages and make individual Statements of Work for each process as the project continues. And don’t attempt to construct a Statement of Work for the whole project.
Make a Plan: A good SoW emerges throughout the definition stage. Therefore, writing your SoW in this initial phase can help you define and develop the project itself.
Identify Success and Failure
Explain your plan and put it into context. Be sure you describe just what a fruitful or failed project is. The objectives/purpose and approval requirements sections should clarify the project’s priorities and what constitutes an appropriate final result. If any criteria would deem a project unacceptable, include it as well.
Include times for formal reviews. The SoW should have dates for feedback during the project lifecycle to ensure that the work stays on schedule.
This allows the customer to ensure that the contractor is adhering to their requirements and provide feedback to the contractor about what they’re doing well and where they can improve.
Use specific descriptions of requirements, scope, and goals. The objectives, requirements, scope of work, and tasks sections are fundamental. Use precise language so that everything is clear after the completion of work.
Note the RFP, SOO, or PWS sections to include these sections. And list options or alternatives since these leave room for misinterpretation later on.
Concur on the Details
Don’t use SoW to negotiate project guidelines as it should document an agreement already reached between the client’s specifications resolute.
Define confusing terms. Make sure you spell out any acronyms used in the SoW and avoid using overly industry-specific or technical terms. Make your SoW as straightforward as possible.
Share it. Get input from all teams and ensure everyone knows to make an effective SoW. Then, make it available for all the team.
Keep it specific. While you want to capture all the necessary details, try to keep your SoW as brief as possible. The crazier the clauses, exclusions, and exceptions you write, the more concerned they will be.
Challenges of Writing a Statement of Work
Writing an effective SoW involves many challenges. These include:
Intricacy: The first challenge may be complexity. As an SoW can be a complex document. They are unique to each new contract agreement you enter into and can vary widely based on the type of work, the project duration, your industry, and the payment model that you use.
Risks of a flawed SoW: We use and SoW in the contract creation and management process, which has legal weight. As a result, the organizations that write an inappropriate Work statement may face, For example, the customer is unclear in their specifications. In that case,
Time dedication: Writing an effective SoW is a time-consuming process. Due to the risks involved, you don’t want to rush it or take any shortcuts.
Expertise: It can be challenging to find competent writers who understand all the rules and criteria if you don’t have the necessary skills and expertise to write an SoW. Typically, the client reports the SoW, but authors may vary, and more than one author may participate.
For example, anybody from the project manager, a third-party consultant, or the Chief Information Officer in IT and software development projects could be anybody.
How to Write a Statement of Work for Your Industry
By following the proper guidelines below and downloading our free Statement of work templates (Excel| Word), you can mitigate risks and create a more effective SoW for your organization.
In addition to our construction statement of work template, you’ll also find additional tips for writing a statement of work contract tailored to a particular industry.
Typically, service work employs use either a level of effort/time and materials/unit rate SoW or a performance-based SoW. Hourly workers and Independent contract workers are more likely to use the former, while a creative or advertising agency is more likely to use the latter.
Moreover, creative services, such as TV commercial production, graphic design, and SoW typically include developing innovative concepts that the client must accept.
Therefore, statements of Work for services often cover design and performance requirements, in addition to the deliverables, work objectives, requirements, schedule, and payment information.
Further, the schedule for this type of work template may be developed as a table that includes contact points with clients and regular review sessions.
There are many similarities between software development and SoWs for project management. The main difference is the inclusion of more technical information in the software development space.
Writing a statement of work for project management can vary significantly from writing an SoW for other work types, where the particulars are predetermined and well-known.
Unlike an SoW with a government contract, where rules and procedures must be met to the letter, project managers may have greater freedom in performing the job, so SoWs in this sector may allow more flexibility.
IT and Software Development
When it comes to writing a scope of work template, google docs, IT, and software creation often have more specific requirements.
Depending on the client’s needs, approval criteria may include specific technical requirements such as quantifiable speed, response time, and ease of use. There are two sets of standards for this line of Work:
Functional requirements include technical details that determine how the software, hardware, network, and system should function.
Nonfunctional requirements focus on aspects such as maintenance, security, performance, and configuration.
Although an SoW for an enterprise IT framework includes more detailed information, an SoW for software creation is more akin to a project management manual. Here are several SoW tips for software development that you can follow:
Allow for flexibility.
Agile also applies to software creation. Iterations, or stages, are used to analyze theories and see what works and what doesn’t. Unlike a building or a finished object, the software may be updated at any time, often after the final product has been completed.
Division of Work
Divide the Work into iterative phases. An excellent approach to writing a statement of Work for an Agile project is dividing the tasks into steps, where some stages are more defined than others.
And if you want the result to be predictable in the SoW, you’re going to have some problems. So, as a result, produce the product iteratively, gradually increasing the total capabilities identified and checking each software instantiation.
Then, if you go through these iterations, refresh the specifications and SoW. Similarly, dividing the SoW into phases that start with comprehensible, specific requirements makes it more flexible as the project progresses.
Going further, the first phase begins with a very defined list of inclusions and assumptions.
And the second phase is 100% Agile retainer. Then a third phase helps your client ballpark a monthly budget one to two years down the road.
Moreover, the project phases should be short and limited in scope to facilitate focus to maintain interest. Also, involve all participants to build commitment. And have clear transition criteria so everyone knows where they stand and the end remains in sight.
Hire a technical writer. Though project managers in other industries can find it easier to write a scope of work template doc without special preparation, professional writing skills are essential when developing an SoW for software creation.
Knowledge regarding the Programme, the client’s functional and non-functional requirements, and the services can be conveyed inappropriately without this context.
The best way to avoid any misunderstanding of technical requirements is to review any freelance work template with an engineer before submitting it to the client for acceptance.
Assign Work to the Proper Team Members. It’s very important to clearly define specific roles in a scope of work template for software development.
For instance, who will provide content, responsible for designs, and upload it to the app? Also, it is crucial to establish a project owner on both the client and the vendor side.
Statements of Work for the government are possibly the most complex to write. There are often stringent rules and regulations that must be followed and acknowledged, using the exact language. In addition, several other supporting documents often accompany them.
Find SoW in a Government Contract
SoWs are usually helpful for the RFP or request quote RFQ and are part of this industry’s final deal. For example, federal contracts are typically included in the Uniform Contract Format’s “Descriptions/Specifications” section, Section C.
In addition, the SoW could be used as part of the order’s terms and conditions in work orders.
Although the government SoW should be as descriptive as possible, make sure it does not repeat all of the contract’s terms and conditions.
You should insert additional documentation and reference materials if you need to add more information than your SoW requires.
SoW and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
Typically, a work breakdown structure divides a project’s scope into more manageable parts, allowing the team to remain on track and accomplish their objectives.
Moreover, a Statement of Work explains how the work can be performed while the WBS defines work objects’ hierarchy.
If you have a WBS, use this as the outline for your SoW. Finally, make sure to copy each element of the WBS into your SoW. This will make writing, tracking, and billing easier.
SoW and Contract Data Requirements List (CDRL)
A contractor’s CDRL is a compilation of data product deliverables that must be provided under a federal contract. It also lays out the requirements, such as the format of the data items. It defines their delivering style.
The sections of the SoW that use these deliverables must be referenced in the CDRL entries. The SoW should then refer to the names and item numbers of the relevant CDRL entries. When drafting an SoW for a government contract, keep the following rules in mind:
Government SoWs must have detailed evaluation requirements to compare various contractors bidding on the project. So be sure the parameters you’re using to compare them are acceptable for the Work. But, on the other hand, don’t include too many details.
However, don’t be too simplistic to the extent that contractors are reluctant to innovate or be creative in their job approach.
Think Ahead to the Contract Stage
You will help prevent potential problems when writing the contract by clearly defining all conditions and standards for vendors in the SoW and ensuring that all parties understand them.
Use Standard Language
When drafting the specifications, make sure to use non-proprietary, general terminology. A broad range of contractors who want to engage in the bidding process may need to understand the SoW. It would also assist you in minimizing claims of bias against specific contractors. Don’t take crosscuts.
Employees in the public sector may lack the necessary qualifications to write an SoW. And procurements in the public sector can also happen on short notice and under duress.
Whether you’re having trouble writing your SoW or don’t think you have enough time to do it properly, find somebody who has the necessary experience to assist you or outsource the writing to a specialist.
It will not be in accordance with government requirements if the Statement of Work is not performed correctly. Consequently, security risks can occur, or either or more parties may face legal issues.
Additional SoW Sections
Here are some additional sections that an SoW may include:
- Government-furnished equipment and information, and applicable documents
- Quality assurance and monitoring of work deliverables
- Estimated level of effort
- Access to government electronic mail
- Non-personal services
- Security considerations
- Post-award administration
- Contracting officer’s technical representative
- Transfer of hardware/software maintenance agreements to follow-on contractors
- Privacy act
- Past performance information
- Contract clauses and Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) solicitation provisions.
- Task order closeout
- Past performance information
- Contractor’s purchasing systems
Finally, writing an SoW is a complicated process. However, by following the above guidelines and using our templates, you can create an effective, high-quality Statement of Work.
Use a Statement of Work Template and See How Easy it is to Manage Requirements
So, empower your teams with a simple and flexible framework built to match your team’s needs and evolve as those needs change. Also, motivate your people to go beyond and above.
We make it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report Work from anywhere with a free Statement of work template.
Our scope of work template doc helps your team be more effective and get more done. Moreover, it is easy to report on key metrics and gain a real-time visibility network.
It happens with dashboards, roll-up reports, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed.
Frequently Asked Questions
A statement of work template is an agreement between an organization and a client. It clearly defines which work to include within a project and what isn’t. Briefly saying, an SoW template is a project contract that creates and aligns client and contractor expectations.
What should a statement of Work template include?
• The Statement of Work template includes:
• Due dates.
• The specific tasks that lead to the deliverable
• Who is accountable?
• The resources needed for the project include facilities, equipment, and QA procedures.
• The governance method for the project.
• Deadlines and cost for payment.
Is a statement of Work legally binding?
Yes, a statement of Work is a detailed, legally-binding contract.
How do you respond to a statement of Work?
Firstly, state your understanding of the requirements. Then define your approach to completing the Work.
After that, prove that this approach is achievable and has worked on specific prior projects. Finally, close with the advantages to the customer of implementing the strategy.
Is a statement of Work a contract?
A Statement of Work is a document in a contract that defines the work requirements, scope, and key performance indicators for a particular project along with its performance and design expectations.