Project Scope Templates: Writing a Project Scope of Work

By MBO Partners | August 5, 2019

Share
RFP for Consulting img

What is a Scope of Work?

Before starting a new project, independent professionals are often asked to prepare a Scope of Work (SOW) document that outlines the terms of their project and details items like payment terms, roles and responsibilities, and a timeline for work. This is a straightforward document, but if you’re compiling one for the first time, the structure and content of a SOW can be intimidating. That’s why using a Scope of Work template can help. 

While the terms “Scope of Work” and “Statement of Work” are often used interchangeably, the two terms actually mean different things. The scope of work articulates the details of a project including tasks, materials and equipment (if appropriate), activities, deliverables and time frame. It sets clear expectations upfront and serves as a guiding post to keep you and the client on track.

Why you need a Scope of Work

1. Set expectations

The scope of work articulates the details of a project including tasks, materials and equipment (if appropriate), activities, deliverables and time frame. It sets clear expectations upfront and serves as a guiding post to keep you and the client on track. The SOW’s  main goal is to take a client’s vision and break it into concrete results. 

2. Eliminate frustration

One of the main goals of the SOW is to eliminate frustration between consultant and client, setting clear expectations for what will be accomplished, for how much, and when.

3. Negotiation tool

An SOW can be used as a point of negotiation in the buying phase. You can often adjust the SOW rather than the fee to fit a client budget. You can see some examples of this in our SOW guide. 

What to include in a Scope of Work

A Scope of Work contains many components and should be carefully constructed and using a Scope of Work template can help ensure that all required components are included.

From the client side, a Scope of Work is used to communicate the goals and expected results of the project and ensure that key issues are not overlooked. Because this document is often requested before a project is awarded, there is some difference between a proposal Scope and a finalized Scope—often the latter is a revision of the documentation provided during the initial proposal.

Scopes often vary widely by industry and by client. Some clients, such as government entities and universities, may have very specific requirements for an SOW. As a rule of thumb, an SOW should include the following:

  1. The purpose of the project.
  2. Work that will be performed.
  3. Work that will not be performed.
  4. Process for change orders.
  5. Roles and responsibilities (you and client).
  6. Timeline for work.
  7. Performance measurement.
  8. Payment terms 

Download our guide to learn more about writing a Scope of Work and access our Scope of Work templates.  Our guide also includes: 

  • Sample Issues and resolutions
  • Example Scopes of Work and Templates, and
  • Tips and strategies

To learn actionable tips and techniques for writing a Scope of Work document for your project, download our SOW 101 guide.


Find independent consulting jobs with top companies through MBO’s marketplace

Join Today!


Related Posts

consultants working in office img
| 2 MIN READ

Do I Need an Independent Contractor Agreement for Consulting?

March 24, 2022

Independent contractor agreements are a written record of the agreement between consultant and client. Not only do they provide legal protection, but they also create a sense of professionalism, encourage communication, and ensure an efficient and streamlined process to complete the project. Contracts can be as long or as short as you need. Taking the…

consultants working in office
| 5 MIN READ

Section 199A Deduction: How it Impacts Small Businesses

March 3, 2022

In late 2017, President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in more than 30 years. Today, the IRS is working on implementing the TCJA. One of the major changes in the law is, as described below, a deduction for certain “qualified business…

consultant looking at tablet
| 3 MIN READ

How to Estimate Your Tax Returns as an Independent Contractor

March 2, 2022

Estimating your tax returns as an independent contractor is an important part of financial business management. If your net-earnings from self-employment are more than $400, you likely need to file an annual return and pay estimated taxes quarterly. Filing your annual tax return is pretty straightforward. Use Schedule C—this is where you will report your…

Learn more about the MBO Platform

For Independent Professionals

Start, run, and grow your independent business with MBO

For Enterprises

Find, manage and retain top-tier independent talent