Before you start any project, it is crucial to have a statement of work (SOW). It details every step of the process, from activities and deliverables to the timetable. Capture all that data in our free statement of work template for Word.
Why Use a Statement of Work Template?
Think of the statement of work, or SOW, as a bucket in which to collect all pertinent items in a project. It not only highlights every aspect of the project, but also defines the activities, deliverables and the timetable over which the project will run and be completed.
The statement of work is the granddaddy of project documents, as it is the first you’ll create. It will show your plan and how you will execute it. Yes, it has that much detail. The more details you fill out in our template, the merrier your project will be.
The making of a statement of work can be a daunting task, which is why having a SOW template to outline the phases and tasks is so important. It gives you a net to make sure you capture everything that makes up the project.
The Importance of a Statement of Work
The first and most obvious answer to why a statement of work is important is that it’s a detailed overview of the project. It’s like a map that shows you the landscape in which you’ll soon be working.
This SOW template is a great communicative tool that can be shared with everyone associated with the project, so that they’re informed. This includes your team, of course, but also outside vendors who might be contracted to help with the work.
The statement of work is also critical for the project leader. It is the framework on which that person can lead their project to a successful end. It can help resolve or even avoid conflicts, as there is a master document in which everyone can look back at to discern the proper course of action.
What’s Included in our SOW Template?
As noted, a statement of work is a very detailed document, and those details will vary depending on the type of project you’re running. However, most projects will share certain fundamental parts. Our statement of work template includes all of these elements:
- Introduction: Start in more general terms explaining what the project is, who is involved, who is leading the project, etc.
- Background: Include a little background on your project. Explain a little about the organization and their needs.
- Purpose: Explain the why of the project, beginning with a purpose statement and then answering questions such as: what are the deliverables, objectives, ROI, etc.?
- Scope of Work: The work that must be done, including what hardware and software will be needed to do it and the process used. Include outcomes, time involved and general steps that will be taken.
- Location: Now note the location where the work is done, whether at a central facility or if remotely, including what equipment and software will be used where.
- Schedule: This is a list of the deliverables focusing on their deadlines and the team member or vendor responsible for completing them, including all stages from kickoff to close.
- Deliverables: List the deliverables in detail and note when each is due.
- Milestones: Define the timeline from the start to the finish of the project, including all deadlines. Milestones are a good way to divide the project into more easily digestible parts.
- Tasks: Take the scope of work and breakdown those general steps into specific tasks. Be very detailed, but you can also paint more broadly by collecting those tasks in milestones and phases.
- Reporting and Communication Plan: Have a system in place to monitor and report on the progress of a project and a means to communicate it effectively to stakeholders and team members.
- Standards and Testing: If there are any standards by which the project must adhere to, they are listed here. The same goes for any testing that is required and who will do it, what the process is and if any equipment or software will be required.
- Define Success: What does the successful completion of the project look like? This will be defined by the sponsor or stakeholders in the project.
- Requirements: Here is where you collect any equipment, degrees or certifications, travel time and other requirements for completing the project that have not already been listed.
- Payment: What are the payments related to the project, and how will they be delivered?
- Other: Anything that is not covered above, such as security issues, restrictions, post-project support, etc., is captured in this section.
- Closure: Note how the deliverables will be accepted, such as who will deliver, review and sign off on them—making sure all documents have been approved.
How to Use a Statement of Work Template
Begin by downloading the SOW Word template above. Then fill in the appropriate boxes to collect all the information about your project. If you need to add more rows, simply hit return outside the box. To add more columns, right click on the box, select insert and choose where you want to place the extra column.
A template can only take you so far when it comes to managing a successful project. While dynamic, it’s a standalone document that only outlines the work that will be completed. For better results, turn your SOW into a task list in excel and upload it into a project management software. ProjectManager.com has seamless uploading of MS Project, Excel and CSV documents, which are then populated into a new project, giving you access to an array of tools that help you manage more effectively.
The statement of work is, well, a lot of work. If you’re not ready to dive into our free statement of work template, that’s understandable. ProjectManager.com has your back. We have archived a vast library of training videos and publish weekly blog posts on every aspect of project management. Here are some of the most relevant ones to help you with understanding more fully the statement of work.
ProjectManager.com for All Your Project Needs
ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software that can help you control every aspect of the statement of work you’ve created for the project. It helps you plan, execute and monitor progress in real-time. From kanban boards to visualize workflow to online Gantt charts that help teams collaborate in real time, use ProjectManager.com for your next project. Try it free with this 30-day trial.