7 Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 3

In my initial port in this series “Seven Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Intro”, I provided a high level overview of the Statement of Work (SOW) development process. Step 1 covered the planning the effort. Step 2 covered formatting the SOW.

This post will describe step 3 – Collect and Analyze Requirements.

In this step, you will gather all the information needed in the different sections of the SOW. This is the meat of the SOW process.

The following provides a list of elements to consider:

Most projects involving vendors will go through a variation of the following lifecycle:

  • Phase 1 – Plan and Preview
  • Phase 2 – Analyze and Design
  • Phase 3 – Configure and Develop
  • Phase 4 – Test and Train
  • Phase 5 – Deploy and Fine-tune

Include tasks and deliverables for each phase of the project:

Phase 1 – Plan and Preview

  • Include tasks that will help you and your vendor to confirm that you are both ready to start the project.
  • Confirm project scope and resources assigned to the project.
  • Develop detailed project plan or iteration plans if you using Agile.
  • Conduct fit/gap analysis or business process review tasks if applicable.

Phase 2 – Analyze and Design

  • Include tasks and adequate time for development of functional specifications and design reviews for configuration and customization requests.
  • If the solution is expected to interface with existing products, include tasks for documentation and review of technical specifications or diagrams.
  • Specify who will perform the analysis of the integration with existing systems and name the documents that will be provided as the output of this process. Include time for review and resolving differences.
  • Include tasks for data entry or data conversion requirements when applicable.
  • It should be clear in the SOW that you reserve the right to reject design proposals and that your approval is a condition to implementing any design.

Phase 3 – Configure and Develop

  • For a COTS solution, include tasks for configuration and customization. Allow time in the project timeline for getting agreement on what to customize and what to use out of the box or with additional configuration.
  • Include intermediate testing phases throughout the project. Don’t assume that the vendor will do their own testing before they deliver the final solution to you.
  • Even when the vendor says they will test thoroughly before delivering the product to you, you can never be sure of the quality of the product unless you have a way to actually inspect it as early as possible.
  • The easiest way to do this is to include statements in the SOW that require the vendor to show you demonstrations of working solutions at various points during the project, before you start your own testing.
  • You can request the vendor to prepare test plans in advance and document results of their testing so you can double-check them.

Phase 4 – Test and Train

  • Decide who will test what and when. As a client, you will perform the final acceptance testing before you accept the solution. What kind of testing do you expect the vendor to conduct and at what phase of the project?
  • Structure your SOW so you don’t wait until the end of the project before you inspect the quality of the vendor’s deliverables. This way you avoid nasty surprises.
  • Documentation is critical and most vendors don’t properly estimate the time or the resources needed. This is the part of the project that gets shortchanged when budgets run out or the project gets behind schedule.
  • Decide who will train whom, in what format (classroom, online, DVDs), and where (onsite, offsite or a combination of both). These small details can present major budget issues, to both you and your vendor, if not addressed early in the process and documented.
  • Include training manuals for your end users. Don’t assume that the vendor will provide these automatically. Specify what format you expect in the manuals. Do you need a hard copy or a digital version? For a digital version, do you need PDF files or MS Word documents?
  • Training manuals typically do not include the special configuration or customization changes that are done for each client. So decide at this stage if you will get the standard training manuals or if the vendor will update them to incorporate your configuration and customization.

Phase 5 – Deploy and Fine-tune

  • Include who will do the final installation of the solution, and the scope of this work. Specify what will be installed, where, and by whom. Many disagreements occur at the end of the project because of conflicting expectations regarding who is responsible for what installations.
  • There should also be a clear description of how the installations will be inspected and accepted. There must be a clear understanding about when the warranty period officially starts. A 30-day post-Go Live acceptance period is ideal.
  • Speaking of warranties, an acceptance period should be added after the Go Live to make sure that the final solution actually works beyond the immediate hours or days after the Go Live.
  • Installation instructions should be required if the vendor and client teams share responsibility for installation. They will also be needed after the project is completed for ongoing maintenance and support by your technical staff. Agree and document in the SOW who is responsible for documenting these instructions.
  • Specify how the project deliverables will be transitioned to the normal maintenance and support operations. Include any training and documentation that will be provided to your support resources.

Other Things to Consider

  • How will the project status be communicated and how often? What types of meetings are required? How will the meetings be held (on-site, virtual)?
  • How will payment be made and how often? Are the payments dependent on acceptance of specific deliverables or milestones?
  • What type of warranty is included in the scope?
  • Are there any security, regulatory compliance, or industry standards compliance requirements?
  • What staff will be available from both your organization and the vendor, and what skill level is required?
  • Is work to be done on-site at your premises or at vendor location?

The next posts will explore the remaining steps in detail and provide tips and tricks for writing effective SOWs that keep your project on track and out of trouble.

You can find more tips for writing effective statements of Work here:

Seven Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Intro

Seven Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 1

Seven Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 2

Tips for Effective Statements of Work

Don’t get caught between your Vendor and a Hard Place

For more information on Statements of Work, sign up now to download our free ebook:

Sign up and get your free report now

Seven steps to writing effective Statements of Work

4 Responses to 7 Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 3
  1. Vince
    September 9, 2010 | 4:41 pm

    Nice article. Would love to see images and screen shots.

    • samad_aidane
      October 17, 2010 | 12:26 am

      Vince, thank you so much for the feedback. I will keep that in mind and update this series of posts with illustrations. Thank you again.

  2. עבודה בחו"ל
    November 11, 2010 | 5:38 am

    very informative post !!!!

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/7-steps-to-writing-effective-statements-of-work-step/trackback

7 Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 3

In my initial port in this series “Seven Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Intro”, I provided a high level overview of the Statement of Work (SOW) development process. Step 1 covered the planning the effort. Step 2 covered formatting the SOW.

This post will describe step 3 – Collect and Analyze Requirements.

In this step, you will gather all the information needed in the different sections of the SOW. This is the meat of the SOW process.

The following provides a list of elements to consider:

Most projects involving vendors will go through a variation of the following lifecycle:

  • Phase 1 – Plan and Preview
  • Phase 2 – Analyze and Design
  • Phase 3 – Configure and Develop
  • Phase 4 – Test and Train
  • Phase 5 – Deploy and Fine-tune

Include tasks and deliverables for each phase of the project:

Phase 1 – Plan and Preview

  • Include tasks that will help you and your vendor to confirm that you are both ready to start the project.
  • Confirm project scope and resources assigned to the project.
  • Develop detailed project plan or iteration plans if you using Agile.
  • Conduct fit/gap analysis or business process review tasks if applicable.

Phase 2 – Analyze and Design

  • Include tasks and adequate time for development of functional specifications and design reviews for configuration and customization requests.
  • If the solution is expected to interface with existing products, include tasks for documentation and review of technical specifications or diagrams.
  • Specify who will perform the analysis of the integration with existing systems and name the documents that will be provided as the output of this process. Include time for review and resolving differences.
  • Include tasks for data entry or data conversion requirements when applicable.
  • It should be clear in the SOW that you reserve the right to reject design proposals and that your approval is a condition to implementing any design.

Phase 3 – Configure and Develop

  • For a COTS solution, include tasks for configuration and customization. Allow time in the project timeline for getting agreement on what to customize and what to use out of the box or with additional configuration.
  • Include intermediate testing phases throughout the project. Don’t assume that the vendor will do their own testing before they deliver the final solution to you.
  • Even when the vendor says they will test thoroughly before delivering the product to you, you can never be sure of the quality of the product unless you have a way to actually inspect it as early as possible.
  • The easiest way to do this is to include statements in the SOW that require the vendor to show you demonstrations of working solutions at various points during the project, before you start your own testing.
  • You can request the vendor to prepare test plans in advance and document results of their testing so you can double-check them.

Phase 4 – Test and Train

  • Decide who will test what and when. As a client, you will perform the final acceptance testing before you accept the solution. What kind of testing do you expect the vendor to conduct and at what phase of the project?
  • Structure your SOW so you don’t wait until the end of the project before you inspect the quality of the vendor’s deliverables. This way you avoid nasty surprises.
  • Documentation is critical and most vendors don’t properly estimate the time or the resources needed. This is the part of the project that gets shortchanged when budgets run out or the project gets behind schedule.
  • Decide who will train whom, in what format (classroom, online, DVDs), and where (onsite, offsite or a combination of both). These small details can present major budget issues, to both you and your vendor, if not addressed early in the process and documented.
  • Include training manuals for your end users. Don’t assume that the vendor will provide these automatically. Specify what format you expect in the manuals. Do you need a hard copy or a digital version? For a digital version, do you need PDF files or MS Word documents?
  • Training manuals typically do not include the special configuration or customization changes that are done for each client. So decide at this stage if you will get the standard training manuals or if the vendor will update them to incorporate your configuration and customization.

Phase 5 – Deploy and Fine-tune

  • Include who will do the final installation of the solution, and the scope of this work. Specify what will be installed, where, and by whom. Many disagreements occur at the end of the project because of conflicting expectations regarding who is responsible for what installations.
  • There should also be a clear description of how the installations will be inspected and accepted. There must be a clear understanding about when the warranty period officially starts. A 30-day post-Go Live acceptance period is ideal.
  • Speaking of warranties, an acceptance period should be added after the Go Live to make sure that the final solution actually works beyond the immediate hours or days after the Go Live.
  • Installation instructions should be required if the vendor and client teams share responsibility for installation. They will also be needed after the project is completed for ongoing maintenance and support by your technical staff. Agree and document in the SOW who is responsible for documenting these instructions.
  • Specify how the project deliverables will be transitioned to the normal maintenance and support operations. Include any training and documentation that will be provided to your support resources.

Other Things to Consider

  • How will the project status be communicated and how often? What types of meetings are required? How will the meetings be held (on-site, virtual)?
  • How will payment be made and how often? Are the payments dependent on acceptance of specific deliverables or milestones?
  • What type of warranty is included in the scope?
  • Are there any security, regulatory compliance, or industry standards compliance requirements?
  • What staff will be available from both your organization and the vendor, and what skill level is required?
  • Is work to be done on-site at your premises or at vendor location?

The next posts will explore the remaining steps in detail and provide tips and tricks for writing effective SOWs that keep your project on track and out of trouble.

You can find more tips for writing effective statements of Work here:

Seven Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Intro

Seven Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 1

Seven Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 2

Tips for Effective Statements of Work

Don’t get caught between your Vendor and a Hard Place

For more information on Statements of Work, sign up now to download our free ebook:

Sign up and get your free report now

Seven steps to writing effective Statements of Work

4 Responses to 7 Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 3
  1. Vince
    September 9, 2010 | 4:41 pm

    Nice article. Would love to see images and screen shots.

    • samad_aidane
      October 17, 2010 | 12:26 am

      Vince, thank you so much for the feedback. I will keep that in mind and update this series of posts with illustrations. Thank you again.

  2. עבודה בחו"ל
    November 11, 2010 | 5:38 am

    very informative post !!!!

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/7-steps-to-writing-effective-statements-of-work-step/trackback

7 Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 3

In my initial port in this series “Seven Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Intro”, I provided a high level overview of the Statement of Work (SOW) development process. Step 1 covered the planning the effort. Step 2 covered formatting the SOW.

This post will describe step 3 – Collect and Analyze Requirements.

In this step, you will gather all the information needed in the different sections of the SOW. This is the meat of the SOW process.

The following provides a list of elements to consider:

Most projects involving vendors will go through a variation of the following lifecycle:

  • Phase 1 – Plan and Preview
  • Phase 2 – Analyze and Design
  • Phase 3 – Configure and Develop
  • Phase 4 – Test and Train
  • Phase 5 – Deploy and Fine-tune

Include tasks and deliverables for each phase of the project:

Phase 1 – Plan and Preview

  • Include tasks that will help you and your vendor to confirm that you are both ready to start the project.
  • Confirm project scope and resources assigned to the project.
  • Develop detailed project plan or iteration plans if you using Agile.
  • Conduct fit/gap analysis or business process review tasks if applicable.

Phase 2 – Analyze and Design

  • Include tasks and adequate time for development of functional specifications and design reviews for configuration and customization requests.
  • If the solution is expected to interface with existing products, include tasks for documentation and review of technical specifications or diagrams.
  • Specify who will perform the analysis of the integration with existing systems and name the documents that will be provided as the output of this process. Include time for review and resolving differences.
  • Include tasks for data entry or data conversion requirements when applicable.
  • It should be clear in the SOW that you reserve the right to reject design proposals and that your approval is a condition to implementing any design.

Phase 3 – Configure and Develop

  • For a COTS solution, include tasks for configuration and customization. Allow time in the project timeline for getting agreement on what to customize and what to use out of the box or with additional configuration.
  • Include intermediate testing phases throughout the project. Don’t assume that the vendor will do their own testing before they deliver the final solution to you.
  • Even when the vendor says they will test thoroughly before delivering the product to you, you can never be sure of the quality of the product unless you have a way to actually inspect it as early as possible.
  • The easiest way to do this is to include statements in the SOW that require the vendor to show you demonstrations of working solutions at various points during the project, before you start your own testing.
  • You can request the vendor to prepare test plans in advance and document results of their testing so you can double-check them.

Phase 4 – Test and Train

  • Decide who will test what and when. As a client, you will perform the final acceptance testing before you accept the solution. What kind of testing do you expect the vendor to conduct and at what phase of the project?
  • Structure your SOW so you don’t wait until the end of the project before you inspect the quality of the vendor’s deliverables. This way you avoid nasty surprises.
  • Documentation is critical and most vendors don’t properly estimate the time or the resources needed. This is the part of the project that gets shortchanged when budgets run out or the project gets behind schedule.
  • Decide who will train whom, in what format (classroom, online, DVDs), and where (onsite, offsite or a combination of both). These small details can present major budget issues, to both you and your vendor, if not addressed early in the process and documented.
  • Include training manuals for your end users. Don’t assume that the vendor will provide these automatically. Specify what format you expect in the manuals. Do you need a hard copy or a digital version? For a digital version, do you need PDF files or MS Word documents?
  • Training manuals typically do not include the special configuration or customization changes that are done for each client. So decide at this stage if you will get the standard training manuals or if the vendor will update them to incorporate your configuration and customization.

Phase 5 – Deploy and Fine-tune

  • Include who will do the final installation of the solution, and the scope of this work. Specify what will be installed, where, and by whom. Many disagreements occur at the end of the project because of conflicting expectations regarding who is responsible for what installations.
  • There should also be a clear description of how the installations will be inspected and accepted. There must be a clear understanding about when the warranty period officially starts. A 30-day post-Go Live acceptance period is ideal.
  • Speaking of warranties, an acceptance period should be added after the Go Live to make sure that the final solution actually works beyond the immediate hours or days after the Go Live.
  • Installation instructions should be required if the vendor and client teams share responsibility for installation. They will also be needed after the project is completed for ongoing maintenance and support by your technical staff. Agree and document in the SOW who is responsible for documenting these instructions.
  • Specify how the project deliverables will be transitioned to the normal maintenance and support operations. Include any training and documentation that will be provided to your support resources.

Other Things to Consider

  • How will the project status be communicated and how often? What types of meetings are required? How will the meetings be held (on-site, virtual)?
  • How will payment be made and how often? Are the payments dependent on acceptance of specific deliverables or milestones?
  • What type of warranty is included in the scope?
  • Are there any security, regulatory compliance, or industry standards compliance requirements?
  • What staff will be available from both your organization and the vendor, and what skill level is required?
  • Is work to be done on-site at your premises or at vendor location?

The next posts will explore the remaining steps in detail and provide tips and tricks for writing effective SOWs that keep your project on track and out of trouble.

You can find more tips for writing effective statements of Work here:

Seven Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Intro

Seven Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 1

Seven Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 2

Tips for Effective Statements of Work

Don’t get caught between your Vendor and a Hard Place

For more information on Statements of Work, sign up now to download our free ebook:

Sign up and get your free report now

Seven steps to writing effective Statements of Work

4 Responses to 7 Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 3
  1. Vince
    September 9, 2010 | 4:41 pm

    Nice article. Would love to see images and screen shots.

    • samad_aidane
      October 17, 2010 | 12:26 am

      Vince, thank you so much for the feedback. I will keep that in mind and update this series of posts with illustrations. Thank you again.

  2. עבודה בחו"ל
    November 11, 2010 | 5:38 am

    very informative post !!!!

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/7-steps-to-writing-effective-statements-of-work-step/trackback