7 Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 2

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. This post will describe step 2 – formatting the SOW.

You can choose to have one person in charge of writing the entire SOW or you may decide to distribute the writing effort among a SOW development team.

If one person is writing the entire SOW, it is still important to review an outline of the SOW sections with the SOW development team. This allows you to reach agreement on the expected content and level of detail for the final document. This review will help minimize the risk of wasting valuable time and resources on content that is not relevant to the effort.

If you choose to have a writing team, review an outline of the different sections of the SOW early in the process, so you can divide the actual writing effort among the writing team members; or you can assign a different person to collect information for each section. The more your team knows what is expected of them, the fewer headaches you will have later keeping them on schedule.

Although there is no standard SOW format, there are some items that are common to almost all well-written SOWs.

These include:

1. Introduction and Overview

Briefly describe in plain English what the vendor is expected to do and deliver, so someone who is not involved with the project can understand the services and deliverables the vendor will provide.

2. Background

Write a brief narrative describing what needs or problems the project will address. Include references to any additional sources of information the readers can refer to if they need more information.

3. Scope of Work

Provide a narrative paragraph describing the scope of work to be covered by this SOW.

If possible, include an overall hierarchy of the work to be performed in the form of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

4. Objectives

List the specific objectives for this SOW in bullet form.

Since the SOW objectives are a subset of those of the overall project, make sure that the two sets of objectives remain consistent throughout the writing process.

5. Period of Performance

If there are restrictions related to funding, as is the case in some government agencies, this section should specify the period within which the work of the SOW should be performed.

6. Tasks

This section includes all the tasks to be performed under the contract with the vendor. The tasks description should provide all the details so any vendor can understand the requirements, the methodology, and the outcomes and deliverables under the task.

Each task description should include deliverables and tangible end results that are expected from each task. It should also describe the acceptance criteria that will be used to measure the quality of the outcome and deem the task completed.

7. Schedules/Milestones

While a schedule may not be finalized during the SOW writing phase, an initial high- level schedule should be included to set the expectations for both the vendor and client organization about the duration of the project and its key milestone dates.

8. Project Management

Include in this section what you require from the vendor so you can properly monitor their performance and the overall progress of the project. Include items such as:

  • Weekly Meetings
  • Weekly Status Report
  • Monthly Progress Report
  • Project Management Team Meetings
  • Management of Risks, Issues, and Action Items

9. References

If previous sections need further details for clarity or brevity, use this section for that purpose and for all other information that does not logically fit into previous sections.

The next posts will explore the remaining steps in detail and provide tips and tricks for writing effective SOWs that keep your project 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

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

3 Responses to 7 Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 2
  1. Project Management
    September 8, 2010 | 5:30 am

    reviewing after every task done is really necessary specially with writing, if you got a team who writes for you the more it has the need to be reviewed, since most of the time, they differ in their point of view and may not be able to connect with each other. You’ve provide effective steps that are important in Project Management

    • samad_aidane
      September 9, 2010 | 9:38 am

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I agree with you. I also find that reviewing builds a sense of ownership and commitment to the final product. Thank you again.

  2. […] 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. […]

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7 Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 2

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. This post will describe step 2 – formatting the SOW.

You can choose to have one person in charge of writing the entire SOW or you may decide to distribute the writing effort among a SOW development team.

If one person is writing the entire SOW, it is still important to review an outline of the SOW sections with the SOW development team. This allows you to reach agreement on the expected content and level of detail for the final document. This review will help minimize the risk of wasting valuable time and resources on content that is not relevant to the effort.

If you choose to have a writing team, review an outline of the different sections of the SOW early in the process, so you can divide the actual writing effort among the writing team members; or you can assign a different person to collect information for each section. The more your team knows what is expected of them, the fewer headaches you will have later keeping them on schedule.

Although there is no standard SOW format, there are some items that are common to almost all well-written SOWs.

These include:

1. Introduction and Overview

Briefly describe in plain English what the vendor is expected to do and deliver, so someone who is not involved with the project can understand the services and deliverables the vendor will provide.

2. Background

Write a brief narrative describing what needs or problems the project will address. Include references to any additional sources of information the readers can refer to if they need more information.

3. Scope of Work

Provide a narrative paragraph describing the scope of work to be covered by this SOW.

If possible, include an overall hierarchy of the work to be performed in the form of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

4. Objectives

List the specific objectives for this SOW in bullet form.

Since the SOW objectives are a subset of those of the overall project, make sure that the two sets of objectives remain consistent throughout the writing process.

5. Period of Performance

If there are restrictions related to funding, as is the case in some government agencies, this section should specify the period within which the work of the SOW should be performed.

6. Tasks

This section includes all the tasks to be performed under the contract with the vendor. The tasks description should provide all the details so any vendor can understand the requirements, the methodology, and the outcomes and deliverables under the task.

Each task description should include deliverables and tangible end results that are expected from each task. It should also describe the acceptance criteria that will be used to measure the quality of the outcome and deem the task completed.

7. Schedules/Milestones

While a schedule may not be finalized during the SOW writing phase, an initial high- level schedule should be included to set the expectations for both the vendor and client organization about the duration of the project and its key milestone dates.

8. Project Management

Include in this section what you require from the vendor so you can properly monitor their performance and the overall progress of the project. Include items such as:

  • Weekly Meetings
  • Weekly Status Report
  • Monthly Progress Report
  • Project Management Team Meetings
  • Management of Risks, Issues, and Action Items

9. References

If previous sections need further details for clarity or brevity, use this section for that purpose and for all other information that does not logically fit into previous sections.

The next posts will explore the remaining steps in detail and provide tips and tricks for writing effective SOWs that keep your project 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

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

3 Responses to 7 Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 2
  1. Project Management
    September 8, 2010 | 5:30 am

    reviewing after every task done is really necessary specially with writing, if you got a team who writes for you the more it has the need to be reviewed, since most of the time, they differ in their point of view and may not be able to connect with each other. You’ve provide effective steps that are important in Project Management

    • samad_aidane
      September 9, 2010 | 9:38 am

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I agree with you. I also find that reviewing builds a sense of ownership and commitment to the final product. Thank you again.

  2. […] 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. […]

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-2/trackback

7 Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 2

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. This post will describe step 2 – formatting the SOW.

You can choose to have one person in charge of writing the entire SOW or you may decide to distribute the writing effort among a SOW development team.

If one person is writing the entire SOW, it is still important to review an outline of the SOW sections with the SOW development team. This allows you to reach agreement on the expected content and level of detail for the final document. This review will help minimize the risk of wasting valuable time and resources on content that is not relevant to the effort.

If you choose to have a writing team, review an outline of the different sections of the SOW early in the process, so you can divide the actual writing effort among the writing team members; or you can assign a different person to collect information for each section. The more your team knows what is expected of them, the fewer headaches you will have later keeping them on schedule.

Although there is no standard SOW format, there are some items that are common to almost all well-written SOWs.

These include:

1. Introduction and Overview

Briefly describe in plain English what the vendor is expected to do and deliver, so someone who is not involved with the project can understand the services and deliverables the vendor will provide.

2. Background

Write a brief narrative describing what needs or problems the project will address. Include references to any additional sources of information the readers can refer to if they need more information.

3. Scope of Work

Provide a narrative paragraph describing the scope of work to be covered by this SOW.

If possible, include an overall hierarchy of the work to be performed in the form of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

4. Objectives

List the specific objectives for this SOW in bullet form.

Since the SOW objectives are a subset of those of the overall project, make sure that the two sets of objectives remain consistent throughout the writing process.

5. Period of Performance

If there are restrictions related to funding, as is the case in some government agencies, this section should specify the period within which the work of the SOW should be performed.

6. Tasks

This section includes all the tasks to be performed under the contract with the vendor. The tasks description should provide all the details so any vendor can understand the requirements, the methodology, and the outcomes and deliverables under the task.

Each task description should include deliverables and tangible end results that are expected from each task. It should also describe the acceptance criteria that will be used to measure the quality of the outcome and deem the task completed.

7. Schedules/Milestones

While a schedule may not be finalized during the SOW writing phase, an initial high- level schedule should be included to set the expectations for both the vendor and client organization about the duration of the project and its key milestone dates.

8. Project Management

Include in this section what you require from the vendor so you can properly monitor their performance and the overall progress of the project. Include items such as:

  • Weekly Meetings
  • Weekly Status Report
  • Monthly Progress Report
  • Project Management Team Meetings
  • Management of Risks, Issues, and Action Items

9. References

If previous sections need further details for clarity or brevity, use this section for that purpose and for all other information that does not logically fit into previous sections.

The next posts will explore the remaining steps in detail and provide tips and tricks for writing effective SOWs that keep your project 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

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

3 Responses to 7 Steps to Writing Effective Statements of Work – Step 2
  1. Project Management
    September 8, 2010 | 5:30 am

    reviewing after every task done is really necessary specially with writing, if you got a team who writes for you the more it has the need to be reviewed, since most of the time, they differ in their point of view and may not be able to connect with each other. You’ve provide effective steps that are important in Project Management

    • samad_aidane
      September 9, 2010 | 9:38 am

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I agree with you. I also find that reviewing builds a sense of ownership and commitment to the final product. Thank you again.

  2. […] 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. […]

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