SoW’s provide the extra layer of detail that cost estimates and project plans usually don’t include to describe exactly what’s being done and delivered – and what’s not. The statement of work (SoW) provides high-level overarching project information and defines detailed deliverables, standards, criteria, and requirements for each phase.
It’s where you put the meat on the bones of the project, and as you do, you get an opportunity to flesh out the details of what you’re going to deliver in your project.
It’s a lot of work, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it’ll help refine your approach. In creating a statement of work you’ll probably end up adjusting your estimate and your timeline as you remember things that you should have added but forgot to.
This level of detail provides reassurance to the client as to what will be delivered and ensures that there really is a shared understanding of what the project will deliver and achieve.
This is about as close as you’ll get as a project manager, to be a lawyer! For both the agency and the client the statement of work becomes the bible in determining what’s ‘in scope’ and what’s ‘out of scope’. That matters because ultimately the statement of work serves as the reference point for determining what’s included within the project cost, and what’s not. If you’re able to get your statement of work (SoW) right, it’ll save you a world of pain later in a project
The statement of work contains all the project details wrapped up in one document. If you’ve already created a project plan or timeline and a project estimate, then the statement of work is the icing on the cake, it’s got all the juicy detail, and ties everything together.