What is a Statement of Work?

Darryl Bachmeier
Mar 23, 2019

A statement of work defines the work to be done for a project. It defines all the requirements to client. It includes what must be delivered, how and when it must be completed by. These are all the projects deliverables.

A statement of work is often used between a client and supplier. It should not be a template. It should be custom to the client. It is often a few pages in length and it must be well written, clear, and concise with little ambiguity.

It is the first deliverable the client receives often soon after an initial meeting with the client. It confirms the understanding of what was discussed. It tells a story by giving the background of the situation and what needs to be done to fix it. It is a simple contract. It documents the terms that have been agreed in the initial meeting.

Components of the statement of work include objectives, scope, schedule, deliverables, assumptions, price and acceptance. Objectives, why is the project needed? What was identified as the problem? The goal is to present a high-level overview of proposed solution including what must be done to solve the problem. Include how the success of project will be measured. Scope, what work will be done and high-level tasks. Schedule, when the project will be completed including the start and end date of project. Deliverables, the pieces of work that will be given to the client for approval. Include where the work will be done. Assumptions, anything you assumed in order to develop the scope, deliverables and project cost. It is important to highlight the return on investment and value gained by project. Price, how much it will cost the client, the payment schedule perhaps based on project milestones. Include the terms of payment. Acceptance, client signature for proof of agreement to everything in the statement of work.

The statement of work should not be emailed or mailed it should be part of a presentation to the client. It is crucial to make sure you get acceptance from a client before the project is initiated. The statement of work helps project success for all stakeholders involved and allows better understanding of what the project will be. It gets greater commitment from all parties. It also protects both parties against any disputes or misunderstandings.

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