How to Write a Statement of Work
What You Need to know to Write a Statement of Work for Any Industry
In order to write a Statement of Work (SOW) successfully it is important to understand that it is part of both project and contract management. This document helps guarantee the work involved in a defined project will be done according to standardized guidelines and expectations.
Contractors or collaborators outside of the issuing organization will use the SOW to guide their work during a specific project. An effective SOW will include, among other things, work details, schedules, terms, and expected outcomes, so it is critical that an SOW is done correctly and does not leave even minor details out.
An SOW can be used 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. This blog will cover how to overcome common challenges and create a solid SOW for any industry.
Statement of Work Definition
A Statement of Work is a document used in project and contract management. It covers the working agreement between two parties: the client, buyer, or government entity, and the agency, vendor, or contractor. An SOW typically includes:
Scope of work
Payment of the project
Certain terms, conditions and requirements
Purpose of the Statement of Work
An SOW is used when contractors or collaborators outside an organization are working on a project with a client’s internal project team. It can also inform vendors or contractors who are bidding on a project. An SOW is often used in conjunction with other related documents, including:
Request for Proposal (RFP): Organizations use this document to procure goods and/or services from vendors or contractors.
Master Services Agreement (MSA): This is a detailed contract that outlines two parties’ terms and responsibilities.
Since a well-written SOW outlines tasks and deliverables of a vendor or contractor, it can provide a good foundation for writing a 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, and/or services the contractor is responsible for. This will help avoid conflicts when negotiating the contract.
Statements of Work are typically used when the work can be described according to specific directions or instructions, and when the requirements, tasks, and conditions are easily understood by both parties. An effective SOW should also provide information on performance outcomes as well as standards and metrics. Both parties should understand what a “successful” project looks like and how it will be approved.
So what is the Best way to Create a Statement of Work?
- Risks of an incorrect SOW – An SOW is a document with legal weight, which is used in the contract creation and management process. As a result, there are real legal, financial, and operational risks for an organization that writes an SOW improperly. For example, if the client is unclear in their specifications, which causes the contractor to perform the work improperly, a legal battle could ensue over which party is responsible for correcting the mistakes—and both parties’ reputations could be at risk. For this reason, a good professional Construction Consulting firm, one well versed in SOW’s such as Nationwide Consulting, LLC may be a cost saver in the long run in more ways than one.
- Time commitment – Writing an effective SOW can be a time-consuming process. Due to the risks involved, a project should not be rushed, nor should any shortcuts be taken. Using a professional Construction Consulting firm like Nationwide Consulting, LLC will save the learning curve involved in proper formatting and inclusion of an SOW. In fact the whole process can be transparent to you as it becomes a function of the Construction Consulting firm, if you so desire.
- Expertise – If you don’t have the knowledge and experience to write an SOW, it can be hard to find qualified writers who understand all the guidelines and requirements. The SOW is typically written by larger clients, but authors may vary, and more than one author may participate. This may include anyone from the project manager to a third-party. A good experienced consulting firm can help coordinate in this situation, and Nationwide Consulting, LLC has on too many projects to mention here over the last 3 decades.
Nationwide Consulting, LLC can help with all aspects of SOW’s as well as SOO, RFP or any other contracts and bid offerings that may be needed. Give us a call to discuss your next project, you will discover a firm, qualified, licensed and ready to serve all you Construction and Development needs based in Central Florida, but a quick flight to anywhere in the world. No project is too large, but we can help with the smaller ones as well, call us today: 407-688-2657
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Robert E. Hanson