What is a Scope of Work (SOW)?
A Scope of Work (SOW) is a formal document that captures and defines the tasks, activities, deliverables, and timeline an independent professional will execute for a client project. A SOW is an important tool that determines the boundaries of a client project and provides the foundation for measuring performance against project goals.
The purpose of an SOW
Ambiguity can lead to misunderstandings that affect project success. Having a SOW in place that defines how a particular project will be accomplished through specific deliverables and objectives can help avoid miscommunication.
In addition to providing legal protections to independent professionals and their clients, a SOW can also be used as a communication tool to help a project stay on course. Use it in initial client meetings to manage expectations and craft a project plan. If there are approved changes that modify a project timeline, update the SOW throughout the course of the project.
Taking the time to capture the right information and clearly define a SOW will help you properly plan and manage your projects, leading to lasting client relationships and more future business.
What an SOW should include
1. Introduction and general information
The introduction is where you will include basic information about the project so that you and your client are on the same page. In this section, you will indicate the parties to the SOW and when it is excuted. Also include technology and acronyms, client information, and a supplier autonomy statement.
2. Project information
In this part of the SOW, you will include all pertinent project information so that expectations are clearly set. You will detail the the project purpose, summary, payment type, duration, work location, description of servicees, roles and responsibilities, deliverables, status reports, and acceptance criteria.
3. Project cost
In this section, payment details are scoped. You will include fees, time and materials, milestones, expense reimubursement, and a change process. It is important to be clear in this section so that invoicing and payment expectations are clear.
In this section, you will provide areas for approval between all parties. You should include company names, full names, titles, signature lines and dates of execution.
Complete the form below to get a fully editable template that you can use for your project SOW.
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