Statement of Work Checklist

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This statement of work checklist describes how to create your project statement of work (SOW) document and ensure that you provide sufficient detail to gain the agreement of all the necessary parties to the scope of work your project requires.

As a project manager you will have to produce a Statement of Work, commonly referred to as SOW document. You will conduct this activity during the planning stage of your project.

In this document you have to supply enough detail on the scope of each work package in your project that you are able to gain agreement from all interested parties. Your SOW will be used by internal work groups as well as external agencies approached to provide resources to understand the exact requirements of their work package.

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Your statement of work cannot become a formal project document until your project stakeholders and sponsors have formally signed it off. Once this has occurred it then you are able to send it to any third parties outside of the project team to purchase the required resources.

Project Statement of Work Checklist

As part of your procurement plan you will have identified the potential suppliers you want to outsource an aspect of, or the whole, work package to.

Your SOW would be included as part of your 'Request for Proposal' often referred to as a RFP, so that any interested parties have a comprehensive and detailed description of the work required. The more thorough and accurate your SOW and RFP will be reflected in the responses you receive.

The typical contents of a Statement of Work (SOW) are a detailed description of the work requirements for the specified work packages. This will include facts such as the number of days or weeks each work package requires to be completed and what its deliverables are along with its acceptance criteria.

The introduction to this document will ensure that anyone reading it will understand the background and benefits your project offer the organization. The greater your project's contribution to the strategic growth of your organization the more likely any RFP will require confidentiality signatures from third parties.

Next you will describe the scope of the work, which details the project deliverables, what each task description is as defined in the 'work requirements' section of your SOW. This section also needs to state any assumptions, constraints and exclusions that have been outlined in the scope of the project.

An essential aspect of any SOW is the precise end date and timeframe for each work package and is detailed in the 'period of performance section of this document. For many projects legislation or a regulatory body will have set the deadlines for when an organization must comply with new requirements.

To fall behind or miss such a date can have serious financial implications for your organization and any supplier or third party must be aware of this. The majority of organizations will place penalties on suppliers who miss deadlines or under-perform.

Inputs to the Project SOW

Depending on the nature of your project you may have to specify where you want the contractor or supplier to actually perform the required task. This may result from a specialist piece of equipment or environment is needed to perform the task. If this is the case for your project then it must be clearly stated in your SOW document.

Now that your SOW has provided the general information on the required task or work package you need to provide detailed descriptions of exactly what is required. This will be recorded in your 'Work Requirements' section. Accompanying this data will be the scheduled milestone for the specific work package, which must be clearly identified in your RFP.

You may also have to detail such aspects as security clearance and confidentiality required for a third party to be able to conduct the work package. You need to describe the process and frequency of any essential maintenance and system downtime that will occur during the project. These can then be taken into account by anyone responding to your RFP.

An important aspect to detail and ensure the contractor or supplier has a clear understanding of is the acceptance criteria for the required work package. The means that you have to provide a definition for what will be 'acceptable work'.

Your SOW must also inform them of the acceptance process their work must go through to be signed off as complete and to detail which individual has the authority to accept their work package.

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