Posted by: Craig Harding | December 16, 2009

Statement of Work (SOW)

Statement of Work (SOW)

A Typical Statement of Work The Statement of Work (SOW) is a section of the contract or an addendum to the contract that describes the services and/or products of the engagement. It is a narrative description of the specific services that a consulting firm or IT group provides to a client for the engagement under the contract. These services may include personnel, project management, software implementation and modification support, training support, documentation support, and deployment support of software applications. Sometimes the project is a process redesign or management consulting engagement, rather than a software application.

The SOW is important because it is the basis for scope change control throughout the project.

When an SOW is produced

A Statement of Work is created during the engagement start-up process. It sets the groundwork for the contract and the subsequent project planning. Confirming or adjusting the SOW is one of the first things you will do as a project manager.

The PM Role in the SOW

The Statement of Work is usually written by the consulting personnel who closed the sale or Business Analysts within the company defining the project for internally staffed projects. Your job, as the Project Manager, is to confirm that the SOW accurately states the commitments of your consulting organization or IT group. In some cases, this will require you to modify the existing SOW to reflect new understandings or changes to the requirements.

Acceptance Criteria for a SOW

Typical standards require that:

1. The SOW is in alignment with the consulting firm’s or IT group’s contract (or Letter of Engagement) and with the client’s expectations.

2. The SOW is complete and describes each of the following:

• Scope & Purpose of Services

• Definitions • Deliverables

• Assumptions • Delivery Acceptance Criteria

• Exclusions

Inputs to an SOW

To write the SOW you need to draw on a number of resources. You’ll need to refer to all of the following:

• For consulting firms, the sales cycle documents, including the Contract (this may include addendum appendices, or “annexes”) or a Letter of Engagement/Intent. These documents tell you the following:

• The service that your firm/group will provide to the client,

• Fees that will be charged to the client, the basis or assumptions regarding the fees, and the nature of the fee (i.e., fixed or time and expenses)

• The types of resources to be provided, • Assumptions for the engagement, • Client responsibilities (resources, hardware, work environment, etc.)

• Any performance incentives or penalties

• Interview notes from key decision-makers. – It is critical for you to know everything you can about the project from its inception. These notes provide you with information about how key decision-makers view the project and outline any open items or specific exclusions that may not have been specified in the contract.

As stated above, the SOW forms the basis for scope control and change management. So it is extremely important to get this document right and authorized by all parties.

Cheers,

Craig

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