Statement of Work (SOW) Template

Editor’s Note: This Statement of work (SOW) template is one in a series of templates to help readers plan and manage communications and content management activities, resources and deliverables. We welcome ideas and suggestions for other TechWhirl Templates Library materials.

Definition:

The Statement of Work (SOW) used by project management teams to detail the project-specific activities, deliverables and timelines for a vendor providing services to a client. Vendors may be third-party consulting, implementation or other providers, but an SOW may also describe work agreed to by different lines of business, teams or departments within an organization.

Purpose:

The Statement of Work (SOW) template provides the details necessary to ensure successful delivery of a project. Because it specifies timelines, deliverables, and responsibilities, it minimizes the risk of scope creep, helps ensure that all stakeholders understand how the project will proceed, and manages expectations between the client and the vendor delivering the services.

Relevance:

As Paul Maplesden points out in an article on Medium, “It sets expectations with the client — They know exactly what they’re going to get, when they’re going to get it, the time scales you will deliver to, resources needed, budgets you’re working to, and any other essential information.” Because it identifies costs, budgets and timelines, the SOW also helps the vendor in cash flow management and budget projections. And, it includes the high-level elements of a project plan, thus making it a critical document for overall project management.

Small projects that freelance or independent consultants often engage in may not need all the elements included in this Statement Of Work (SOW) template, but they should consider all of them when negotiating the details and components of the project, including payment terms and conditions for modifying or cancelling the work. Larger, and more complex projects often use the SOW in conjunction with a formal contract.

 

Using the Template:

  1. Based on discussions between you and the client, create an outline of the deliverables and timelines, and capture critical details such as expected milestones and technical or security requirements.
  2. Download the Statement of work (SOW) template, and save to a local location.
  3. Work with internal team members to complete the SOW components around milestones, timelines, budget and resource needs.
  4. As needed, work with internal finance and/or legal resources to ensure the SOW includes the appropriate enforceable language.
  5. Delete any instructional text (in [brackets]) and sample text, and save the document.
  6. Present the SOW to the client.
  7. Make any revisions agreed to by both you and the client.
  8. Ensure that the SOW is signed by the client’s sponsor, or person with authority.
  9. Make an executed copy of the SOW available to key team members and the client.

Related Resources

Do you have other user guide templates that work well for the products you are documenting? Are you in an Agile development environment and have tools for creating user assistance that aligns with Sprints? Feel free to contact us and submit your templates. We’ll provide credit to you for assisting the TechWhirl community and contributing to Template Tuesdays.

Connie Giordano

Connie Giordano is a partner in INKtopia Limited and editor of TechWhirl's Tech Writer Today online magazine. She has been a list member and contributor since the days when 14,400 baud was high speed communications, and Windows 95 was state-of-the-art.

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