Categorized | Management

How A Statement Of Work Can Be Beneficial To Your Project

Before a project can even go into the planning stage, a statement of work can be a very helpful guide, not just for the project team, but for the client, project members, third-party suppliers and stakeholders as well. Having a statement of work can help clarify details and prevent problems that may arise through misunderstandings and prevent delays, not to mention help avoid a project being shelved in midstream.

What Is A Statement of Work?

A statement of work (or SOW) is a formal document that defines the requirements, activities, deliverables and the timeline of your project for a client. Detailed requirements and pricing are usually included in the Statement Of Work, along with standard regulatory and legal terms and conditions. Often, the Statement of Work is considered a binding contract after it has agreed upon.

What Does A Statement Of Work Do?
The biggest advantage of having a statement of work is that is clearly defines all the aspects of a project and binds all parties to specific agreements. This way, all aspects of the project are defined more accurately, which invariably helps with the project planning at the beginning, and securing approvals after the work has been done.

A look at what goes into the SOW shows exactly which aspects of the projects are better defined and clarified as follows to improve the overall project.

The Purpose. The SOW often begins with describing why the project is being initiated in order to provide a background and put the project specifics into perspective. This ensures alignment of all parties.

Scope of Work: The SOW describes the work to be done in detail (including the deliverables) and specifies the material, equipment and manpower requirements of the work to be done. This helps prevent scope creep and misunderstandings about completeness of the deliverables and prevents work performance issues.

Period of Performance and Deliverables Schedule. Describing the time needed to perform the project including details such as start and finish time, billable hours as well as other details helps keep the team on schedule and allows the manager to track whether specific deliverables are on time or delayed, as well as helps in time and resource management for the total project as a whole.

Applicable Standards and Acceptance Criteria. These portions of the SOW describe any industry specific standards that need to be adhered to in fulfilling the contract such as ISO, CMM, CMMI, etc. as well as specifies how the client or customer will determine if the product or service is acceptable, what objective criteria will be used to state the work is acceptable. This helps streamline approval processes and prevent delays caused by misunderstandings on specifications of requirements.

Special Requirements: This portion of the SOW specifies the special materials and equipment, specialized workforce requirements, such as degrees or certifications for personnel, travel requirements, and anything else not covered in the contract. Any other conditions that must be met such as number of test cases, number of test cases executed, should also be included. Having this on the SOW helps anticipate any budgetary adjustments that need to be made as well as prevent unforeseen expenses.

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