What Is A “Statement Of Work”?

If you’re a videographer, photographer, designer, programmer, or marketer, most client project conversations start with a proposal. If you provide any service, you should be using a contract. In a previous article, we outlined graphic design contracts and mentioned a statement of work. But what is a statement of work or SOW?

What is a Statement of Work?

Purpose or Goal of the Project: Outline the goal of the project. Are you creating software that helps pet store owners track inventory? This section of the statement of work should be about one to two sentences in length.

Location of the Work: This will list any travel requirements, and if there is any on-site work to be done for the client.

Period of Performance: The projected start date and end date for the project.

Deliverables Schedule: When the client should expect releases. Often times the client has requirements for approval of a mid-project deliverable, so this is where you outline the client’s responsibility as well. Optionally, you might roll this content into the scope of work.

Acceptance Criteria: This is how the client will know when you’ve delivered the final product. For agile development, this might reference user stories. Sometimes these tests are automated using testing frameworks like Selenium. For web-based projects, you should list the operating systems and browsers you plan on supporting.

Special Requirements: List any licenses or third-party products the customer must purchase to utilize the final product.

Type of Contract/Payment Schedule: This is where you will outline your payment schedule, and whether this project is billed hourly, weekly or fixed bid.

Core Deliverables: The outline of the core deliverable will be dramatically different depending on the project. Agile project planning might reference story cards or user stories. For companies that perform fixed bid pricing, this greatly complicates the contract/proposal/bid and requires much more upfront sales time to create these documents.

Remember a statement of work is specific. It ensures you and your client have worked out the details of all aspects of the project before you start. This communication means you both have a better chance of meeting each other’s expectations. So before you start working, save yourself a lot of trouble and have a basic contract that includes a statement of work.

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