Among many documents that are necessary for product managers’ daily work, a statement of work (SOW) is one of the most important and fundamental.
It’s rather simple: a poorly planned statement of work is doomed to failure of the whole project, while efforts spent on careful preparation of a detailed SOW are the guarantee of the overall success of the team. Any experienced product manager will confirm that PM documents are as crucial in management as team collaboration and professional product management tools.
What does a statement of work mean?
A statement of work is a project scope statement or a specific statement highlighting the tasks that a contractor would be required to carry out under a contract.
In fact, the document states all the deliverables that are expected to be accomplished. It should be written in clear and concise manner.
The SOW may consists of specifying the quality of work, mentioning terms and conditions, detailing payment issues, planning the schedule, identifying the project location, establishing time frames and so on.
The important point is that a statement of work is a legally binding, as it is a contractual agreement between two parties.
Product managers and project managers at the very start of their careers should understand that a well-written statement of work is the key to the successful execution of any project. That’s why writing a statement of work should be one of the most urgent skills they have to evolve.
How to write a statement of work?
You may find dozens of options but there are no shortcuts to writing a statement of work. Here is a breakdown of what a PM statement of work looks like:
The introduction of SOW usually outlines what you expect to get out of the document. You may simply visualize a general summary of the part that contractor intends to play in the project actualization.
Here you may list out all the goals and objectives of your project. The following questions will help you to specify this:
- “Who is my project targeted at?”
- “What is it expected to increase or improve?”
- “Who will be benefited?”, etc.
The scope should specify a technical description of the work to be done. It usually consists of everything from development to integration, maintenance, and tech support.
If there are relevant industry standards that should strictly be adhered, so you can mention them in your state of work.
Plans and Schedule
Any statement of work should involve a clear project schedule. Everything you can answer the question “when” should be specified here. Try to schedule all milestones and set dates for deliverables and do not forget to include the number of billable hours in a week, when any training is expected to take place.
This part of SOW outlines the clearly defined criteria for acceptance of the finished work that must be accepted by both sides. Here all compliance procedures should be noted.
Contract and Pricing Details
Your statement of work should also include a space for detailing the contract and payment options.
The agreed contract model would depend on the available project budget and the client’s payment policies.
Drafting of a statement of work requires attention to details and analytical skills of a project manager.
It shouldn’t be a time-consuming process but you’ll need to pay enough attention to prevent ambiguous statements. Actually, all you need is a bit of practice. Hopefully, your way to crafting a statement of work will be easy and successful.