Both of the terms are quite confusing sometimes and let me clear this straightaway that;
Scope of Work is just a section in Statement of Work.
Statement of Work is a well detailed legal document of a project.
so, Scope of Work is a subset of Statement of Work.
Let see both in details;
Statement of Work – SOW
The project statement of work (SOW) is a formal statement of products, services, or results to be delivered by a project. Or in simple words, we can describe it as the statement which describes the project deliverables.
This can be an internal document to the organization or external to as well.
- For internal projects: within an organization, the project initiator or sponsor gives the statement of work keeping in view the business requirements, product, or service needs. Project sponsor could be CEO of a company
- For external projects: It should come from a client/customer in case of external projects. For example, it could be a contract, RFQ or Frame agreement.
The SOW should always be made keeping in view the following references:
- Business Need. The business need can be of any nature, for a company/organization it can be a development of the new products based on market trends, to gain more market share or it could be due to some legal/environmental requirements.
- Product Scope Description. Product scope description defines the scope or in other words, we can say defines the boundaries of the desired service/outcome. As stated above we should define what characteristics should be there in the new product. For example, developing a new product should be cheaper than the existing variant.
- Strategic plan. Now comes the 3rd part which is a strategic plan. Every project is driven through the organizational strategic plan and it is a must to have an alignment of all projects with the organization’s strategic plan. As stated above the development of the new cheap product should be finalized within a given year.
Components of SOW
An accurate statement of work is probably the most important part of any project initiation process. By focusing on the below-mentioned aspects will help us in generating the precise and unambiguous statement of work.
Introduction of Project: Start with a short explanation of the nature of the work and stakeholders involved in the project. Like when a formal quotation is requested from specific vendors for certain types of products or services.
Purpose of Project: So what’s the purpose of the project? The project is always initiated to achieve some specific target, it could be a new product or new service. So to have the right question stating the purpose of the project will lead to other important aspects of the project statement of work.
Scope of work: The scope of work generally includes all the information related to the scope of a project like the specifics related to processes used, type of hardware used and the desired outcome of the project.
Place of work: The place of work should also be mentioned in the statement of work. Like the place/site of project execution should be mentioned. In some cases, we may have project teams split into different locations/cities, especially for bigger projects.
Milestones: Clearly state the schedule requirement for project completion along with no. of working days per week and no. of working hours per day.
Deliverables: Probably one of the most important if not the most important part of the statement of work is to clearly state the deliverables in detail to avoid any confusion or misconception on later stages.
Schedule: Clearly state the schedule of deliverables. The time schedule for every milestone comes in the scheduling phase but here also it is must to have a clear definition of a schedule of a complete project. Like when to start and when to finish.
Project cost & Budget: There must be a clear understanding of the budget allocation of the project. And it should be clearly referenced in the statement of work as it will form the project baseline along with scope and schedule.
Standards & Testing: Testing requirements, standard and legal compliance should also be there. For example for a construction project, it is must to have a clear knowledge of local bodies’ environmental regulations.
Success/failure: This usually comes from all the above-mentioned points. As the completion of all project deliverables within schedule and budget will result in project success. Otherwise, it will be termed as a project failure.
So in the end, our main goal is to have a clear and precise project statement of work. So that we don’t have any confusion regarding any aspect of the project during the execution phase or at the closure of the project.
Scope of Work
Scope of Work is a kind of documented agreement stating the work. We as a project manager will be doing during the life cycle of a project.
Normally, a Scope of Work contains objectives, milestones, deliverables, transitions or end products that are expected to be provided by the performing party. It also included a timeline for the deliverables.
SOW is one of the most important documents on any project. It is a legal document. This helps to avoid any ambiguity that will arise later on.
A clear and concise SOW developed at initiation will serve both the parties in a clear manner.
This document contains:
- Objective: Objective states the kind of problem being faced for which solution is required.
- Schedule & Milestones: A clear definition of project start and finish schedule along with individual milestones. It is also important to clearly mention important phases of the project against which project real-time performance will be measured.
- Deliverables: Deliverable is the desired outcome of a project. It could be any new product or it could also be in the shape of some specific service. Deliverables are the reason for project initiation. It is recommended to have clearly enlisted all desired deliverables to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.
- Cost/Budget Information: Clear definition of the overall allocation of budget and how the payment to the project team and vendors will be made
- Expected Outcomes: here you need to provide the solution to a problem mentioned in objective by clearly stating the expected outcome
- Reports: Clear definition and expectation of kind of documentation and reports required. These reports are formal records describing the progress along with the milestone status of a project. These reports are used as a channel to communicate with key stakeholders.
Now let’s take an example to understand how the scope of work is defined for a project. The project is to develop an android phone with 6’’ capacitive touch screen and 10 Megapixel rear/5 Megapixel front camera. So now analyze the requirement and try to outline the deliverables, milestones, schedule, and reports for this project.
- 5’’ Inch capacitive touch screen
- 1020P retina display
- Compatible with the latest android
- 10 Megapixel rear/5 Megapixel front camera
- Jan 1: Finalized Programming
- Feb 1: Procurement of hardware
- March 1: Final Prototype assembly
- April 1: Testing
- May 1: Market Launch
- June 1: Wedding
- Selection of right vendors for hardware
- Finalization of programming
- Prototype cost calculation
- Cost comparison of hardware accessories from different vendors
- Simulation test
- Prototype functional test
So try to be specific, use visuals where possible and get relevant documents signed from important stakeholders while writing scope of work for your project. And it is always recommended to be clear and concise while stating the requirements and deliverables. A good SOW definition helps in avoiding
- Confusion & misunderstandings
- Misconceptions of project and stakeholders requirements
Which ultimately results in productivity enhancement and successful project completion.
Also, make sure to include Glossary to jargon. Make sure to spell-out the acronyms used in the SOW. Consider a person even enter in in the middle of the project can understand this easily. Use easy and clear words.
A clear and concise statement of work is a must-have document on any project. As the said 95% fights are due to lack of communication and in the same way most of the fights on projects are because of poor Statement of Work on a project.
Frequently asked Questions
What is the scope of work mean?
The scope of work is a kind of agreement stating the work, we as a project manager will be doing during the life cycle of a project. SOW contains milestones, reports, deliverables, and end product/service expected as a result of the project.
What should be included in the scope of work?
The project scope of work shall include
- Project Objective
- Project scope
- Location/site of the project
- Payment terms
Why is the scope of work important?
The scope of work is the most important part of the project management plan as it provides the necessary information and direction for the project.
What is the purpose of scope management?
The purpose of scope management is to ensure the project includes all required deliverables along with cost and time baselines.
How do you define scope?
The work and stakeholders are the two main things that create the scope of work for a project. The scope of the project outlines the objectives of the project and the goals that need to be met to achieve a satisfactory result.