Tips Suggestions for Writing Statements of Work or Working with a Professional to Create all the Necessary Paperwork without Error
General Guidelines for Writing an SOW:
- Brainstorm first. Before a company begins writing Statement of Work documents, brainstorm the pieces of the project that should be included, and which details would be better negotiated during later phases of the project or contract management process.
- Writing Statement of Work in the early stages of project development. Writing an SOW in this early phase, when most projects are still taking shape, can help define and develop the project itself.
- Define success and failure. Make sure to clearly define what constitutes a successful or an unsuccessful project. The objectives/purpose and acceptance criteria sections should provide details about what the project’s goals are and what an acceptable end product should look like. If there are any criteria that would deem a project unacceptable, these should also be included (e.g., for a design project, acceptable criteria might be using the colors pink and black, and unacceptable criteria might be using the colors blue and orange, based on the client’s brand guidelines).
- Include times for formal reviews. Scheduling times for reviews throughout the project lifecycle in the SOW is important for ensuring the work is on track. This gives the client a chance to verify that the contractor is meeting their specifications, and an opportunity to give the contractor guidance on what they’re doing right and what they can do better.
- Use specific descriptions of project scope, requirements, and goals. The objectives/purpose, scope of work, and requirements and tasks sections are very important. The language used must be precise, so that nothing is misinterpreted after the work begins. If the client needs to include supplementary documents with more specific information, such as an RFP, SOO or PWS, make a note in these sections to refer to the attached documents. Avoid listing options or alternatives, since these leave room for interpretation—and misinterpretation—later on.
- Agree on the details before writing the SOW. When writing Statement of Work it should not be used to negotiate project guidelines — it should document an agreement already reached between the two parties, or of the specifications already determined by the client.
- Define any acronyms and potentially confusing terms. Make sure to spell out any acronyms used in the SOW, and avoid using overly technical or industry-specific terms. You want the language in an SOW to be as clear and straightforward as possible.
- Involve the whole team. An effective SOW is a team effort, so get input from all team members who have a stake in the project. Have as many people as possible review the SOW and be prepared to update it as new information is discovered or becomes available.
- Keep the SOW as brief as possible. While a good SOW should be able to capture all the necessary details, try to keep the SOW as brief as possible. Reason being, the other party will usually feel compelled to show the SOW to their attorney. This will cost the contractor unanticipated legal fees. The crazier the exclusions, clauses, and exceptions written in, the more concerned the contractor will be, and it could affect the final outcome needlessly.
Challenges of Writing a Statement of Work
There are a few common challenges that may be faced when writing an SOW.
- Complexity. An SOW can be a complex document. They are unique to each new contract agreement a client and contractor enter into. SOW’s can vary widely depending on type of work required, the project duration, specific industry, and the payment model that will be used.
- Risks of an incorrect SOW. An SOW is a document with legal weight, which is used in the contract creation and management process. As a result, there are real legal, financial, and operational risks for an organization that writes an SOW improperly. For example, if the client is unclear in their specifications, which causes the contractor to perform the work improperly, a legal battle could ensue over which party is responsible for correcting the mistakes—and both parties’ reputations could be at risk. For this reason, a good professional site development firm, one well versed in SOW’s such as C&C Site Development, Inc may be a cost saver in the long run in more ways than one.
- Time commitment. Writing an effective SOW can be a time-consuming process. Due to the risks involved, you don’t want to rush it or take any shortcuts. Using a professional site development firm like C&C Site Development, Inc will save the learning curve involved in proper formatting and inclusion of an SOW. In fact the whole process can be transparent to you as it becomes a function of the Site Development firm, if you so desire.
- Expertise. If you don’t have the knowledge and experience to write an SOW, it can be hard to find qualified writers who understand all the guidelines and requirements. The SOW is typically written by larger clients, but authors may vary, and more than one author may participate. This may include anyone from the project manager to a third-party.
C&C Site Development, Inc can help with all aspects of SOW’s as well as SOO, RFP or any other contracts and bid offerings that may be needed. Give us a call to descuss your next project, you will descover a Florida firm, qualified, licenced and ready to serve all you Site Development needs based right here in Central Florida. No project is too large, but we can help with the smaller ones as well, call us today: 407-688-2657