3 Types of Statement of Work Template: A Sample for a Successful Project
If you’re in charge of a project, it’s a good idea to have a statement of work template close at hand. A statement of work will help you see a project through with as few hiccups along the way as possible.
A statement of work is a detailed document, so writing one is usually a time-consuming process. That’s why it helps to have a statement of work template. With it, you’ll craft a statement of work that suits your project in no time. And, you’ll also avoid costly mistakes that could cost you your reputation!
What Is a Statement of Work?
A statement of work is an agreement between two parties (for example, an agency and a client or a government department and a contractor) that defines a project’s goals, scope, and deliverables.
The purpose of a statement of work is to make sure that those involved in a project:
- Are aware of what it entails
- Know who is responsible for what
- Understand how the goals will be accomplished
In other words, a statement of work is a project guide that project stakeholders can refer to at any time. Ideally, it should prevent confusion and conflict further down the line, which is why it shouldn’t leave anything out.
However, a statement of work shouldn’t be too detailed either. Otherwise, you risk ending up with deliverables that don’t add value to the project.
The client usually writes the statement of work, although more than one person can participate in the creation of this document. You don’t need fancy software to craft a statement of work, just a word processor and a statement of work template. However, you should also try to include visuals for clarity.
Statement of Work Template
Most statements of work share the same components, which is why most project managers use a statement of work template. (Copy below)
Every statement of work template starts with a brief introduction explaining the type of work to be done. Is the project about creating a product or performing a service? And who are the parties involved?
The introduction is also a good place to mention the type of formal agreement that the two parties will go on to create. It could be a standing offer where a vendor agrees to provide goods or services at a specific price. Or it could be a more formal contract where both parties agree on the details.
This section of a statement of work template explains why you’re initiating the project in the first place. What is the purpose of it and what are you hoping to achieve?
Clarify the problem and explain how the project will solve it.
Location of work
It’s important to identify the place where all or most of the work on the project will be carried out. Generally, the location of work depends on the industry that you’re in.
A creative project might be performed remotely (for example, at the contractor’s home). A government building contract, on the other hand, is likely to be conducted on-site at the place of construction.
If regular meetings are necessary to complete the project, note down where the parties involved will meet.
Scope of work
Here you should give an overview of the steps and processes required to complete the project. Remember to keep this section brief. You can go into more detail in the “Tasks” section below.
For example, the scope section for a website development project would include “website design and development” and “host and domain setup.”
Outlining the project scope helps avoid scope creep, which is what happens when the project changes in a way that no one predicted.
Tasks are the activities that need to be completed before the deliverables can be met. The easiest thing to do here is to take the broad steps you’ve outlined in the scope of work section and break them down into a manageable list of things to do.
Don’t forget to include functional specifications for software development projects. Be as detailed as possible, going so far as to outline the fields that you’d like to see in the contact form.
It might also be a good idea to break the tasks down into phases. For example, you could have a list of things to do for the kickoff phase, a separate list for the design phase, and finally, a list for the build phase.
A deliverable is the outcome of a task. In other words, it’s what you expect to get out of the project. This section is incredibly important because it defines what everyone on the project is working towards.
Write this section in a clear and straightforward language and describe the deliverables in detail. Include things such as quantity, color, size, number of pages or designs, and anything else that might be of relevance.
Also, give instructions on how the deliverables should be submitted and explain the evaluation process for approval.
You must specify the amount of time given to complete the project from start to finish upfront because it can affect the overall cost of the project.
Make sure to identify how long each deliverable should take to complete. You can also specify the number of billable hours contractors or vendors can spend each week or month on the project.
While all projects should include deadlines, start dates might be optional. It’s probably less important to establish a start date for a software development project than it is for a construction project.
Make sure that you also schedule regular reviews. These are great for giving feedback and making sure that the project is on track for completion.
Standards and testing
If the product or service needs to adhere to any industry standards, list them here.
Similarly, if the product or service needs testing, outline the key people that are going to be involved in the process, what equipment is going to be used (such as hardware and software), and any other relevant resources.
Definition of Success
Defining what constitutes a successful project is a crucial part of a statement of work. You can take this a step further and determine what a failed project would look like too.
This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to determining whether the project was effective or not.
If there are any other requirements or notes on the project that you’d like to make that couldn’t be covered in the above sections, add them here.
For example, you might want to include a section on security (like whether or not contractors need security clearance) and travel requirements (who pays the travel expenses?).
The payment section is where you list all the costs associated with the project. This is also where you note down the payment schedule and terms.
You might decide to pay the contractor upon the completion of each deliverable. Or, you might choose to pay on a fixed date instead.
You’ll need to get the approval and sign-off from project stakeholders before the statement of work can be finalized. Once you obtain the sign-off, you gain the authority to start the project.
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3 Types of Statement of Work
There are three main types of a statement of work. The statement of work template that is most suitable for your project depends on the kind of industry that you’re in and the nature of the project.
Design statement of work
A design statement of work, also known as a detail statement of work, specifies how the contractor should do the work.
This type of statement of work very clearly defines the buyer’s requirements, regardless of whether they relate to quality, measurements, or materials. As such, government agencies often use the design statement of work, especially for construction and manufacturing projects.
The client directs the course of the project, whereas the contractor merely follows the instructions given. Therefore, the client is responsible for the project and takes on the majority of the risk involved.
Level of effort statement of work
The level of effort statement of work is also known as the time and materials statement of work or the unit rate statement of work. The focus here is on hours worked and the materials used. Therefore, it’s useful for contracting hourly service workers.
This type of statement of work is more flexible than the design statement of work. It details the service that the contractor needs to perform and the time frame, but in a more general sense.
Performance-based statement of work
The performance-based statement of work describes the aim of the project, the equipment and other resources provided, and the expected deliverables. It doesn’t explain how the work should be performed.
The emphasis here is on the outcomes, not the processes.
It doesn’t matter what methods the contractor uses, as long as he or she delivers the results. For that reason, the contractor, and not the client, is responsible for the success or failure of the project.
You’re Ready to Write a Statement of Work!
A statement of work is an incredibly important document. It gives you a detailed overview of the project, helps you set expectations, and makes it easier to avoid potential conflict.
For a statement of work to be effective, however, you need to make sure that it’s well-written and concise. A statement of work template will help you avoid writing an incorrect or unclear statement of work, protecting you from financial, legal, and operational risks.
For more information on this topic, we recommend this read: How to Create a Performance Work Statement
Was our statement of work template helpful? Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comment section down below!
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