Want to understand what a scope of work document is and learn how to draft one?
A scope of work is a record and agreement of all the services you’ll cover and products you’ll deliver in your project. This makes it one of the most important and detailed documents you’ll have to draft in the early stages of a project.
In this article, we’ll cover the process of drafting a simple scope of work document to help you get started right away.
But what if you hate paperwork as much as Detective Jake Peralta from Brooklyn Nine-Nine?
Not a problem!
You don’t have to draft a new one from scratch for each project.
We’ll even highlight a template that you can use to draft your statement of work in no time!
And as a bonus, you’re going to have New York’s finest from Brooklyn Nine-Nine by your side throughout the process.
This Article Contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- What is a scope of work document?
- The 8 things your scope of work template should contain
- 5 free scope of work templates you can use
- The 4 best practices for statement of work drafting
Ready for some fieldwork?
Let’s get started.
What Is A Scope Of Work Document?
Whether you’re running a construction project or a police precinct, you need several rounds of planning before you can begin working.
Just ask Captain Holt:
And that’s where your scope of work (also known as a statement of work or SOW document) is instrumental.
It helps you define crucial things about your project such as the:
- Exact nature of your final deliverables
- Resources and manpower required to meet those deliverables
- Location of the project: on-site or remote
- Various phases of delivery
- Budgets allocated to different parts of the project
- Timeline per delivery
- Assumptions about the project
- Legal requirements for the project
Why do you need a Scope Of Work document?
So why is a statement of work so important?
Here’s an example to help you understand why it’s so vital:
Let’s say that the Nine-Nine is building an app that geo tracks criminal activity in the neighborhood.
What happens if they don’t draft a statement of work?
They’ll be missing a whole bunch of pieces in the puzzle, like:
- Not knowing what your app is supposed to achieve or what functions it should serve
- No assigned budgets, leaving everyone involved confused about how much to spend on what
- Without a detailed breakdown of the deliverables, no one will know what to work on and when to finish it
It’s going to lead to a whole lot of confusion and wasted time – like poor Terry here:
But giving your project some focus isn’t the only benefit of drafting your scope of work document.
Defining these essential aspects of your project early on will help you avoid scope creep too!
What’s scope creep?
It’s when your project’s scope keeps increasing uncontrollably as your project progresses – usually leading to project failure.
The 8 Things Your Scope Of Work Template Should Contain
So what goes into a good scope of work template?
Deliverables, assignees, budgets – it all sounds so daunting!
But don’t worry.
We’ll cover all the components of a good SOW template to help you get started immediately!
Begin with a brief introduction to the project at hand.
Start by answering some basic questions like:
Which parties are involved in the project?
Your organization? An agency? Freelancers?
Does the project involve making a product, delivering a service or both?
Is this a construction project? Are you building a data management software? Are you recording vast amounts of public domain data?
Once you briefly answer these questions, you’ve laid the groundwork for the rest of the statement.
B. Project overview and objectives
It’s now time to start detailing the finer points in your scope of work document.
What’s the objective of the project?
For example, if you’re building an app for tracking crime:
- What will you do with the data?
- Will you use it to solve cold cases or analyze trends in local crime?
Similarly, if it’s a construction project, what will the building be used for?
At this stage, you can also identify timeframes critical to meeting your project’s deliverables.
For example, if the Nine-Nine needed to analyze crime rates during summer, they’d need to focus their data collection activities over the next quarter. Hence, this timeline is closely attached to your project goal and, once it’s done, you know Rosa is coming after you!
Something like a construction scope, on the other hand, may mention a more phased out delivery spanning a minimum of two years.
And to further ensure that there’s no confusion, you need to mention what’s out of your scope statement for the project.
For example, if you’re remaking a website for your client but have been explicitly told by them to not redo their landing page, you need to mention it in your ‘out of scope’ section.
This will help you stay away from a possibility of scope creep in the future.
You need to spell out all of this so that everyone in your team has a clear understanding of what they’re working towards.
That means you, Gina!
C. Task list or Work Breakdown Structure
Simply putting down your objectives isn’t enough, is it?
As a project manager, you also need to mention what needs to be done when and by whom.
This is where you can unleash the power of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)!
A WBS is a step-by-step breakdown of tasks and subtasks — including deadlines and priorities — that make up the entire project. A Work Breakdown Structure will help you outline project milestones and give you the foresight you need to predict any future challenges in the project.
For example, if the Nine-Nine needed a WBS for their data analysis project they’d follow these simple steps:
1. Identify the biggest chunks of your final deliverables
For the Nine-Nine, this would involve gathering primary data from citizens and authorities and analyzing it.
2. Assemble them chronologically
For example, the team cannot analyze your data before gathering it first. This way, gathering data is more urgent than analyzing it.
3. Break the deliverables down further into tasks and subtasks
For example, dividing your data collection team into groups, assigning different areas to each group, creating a documentation process and so on.
4. Assign work packages
These are deliverables at a task level that you can assign to team members and set a timeline for each of them. Boyle, with his people skills, can do the on the ground data gathering. Whereas Rosa can play the role of a team leader.
Pretty detailed, right?
Sounds like a job cut out for Detective Amy Santiago and her never-ending supply of binders:
By now you know what needs to be done.
But what do you need to get it done?
This is what you need to figure out in this section of your statement of work.
Who will be part of your project?
Think of everyone who’s going to help make your project a success.
- HR personnel
- Client liaison
- Contractor or subcontractor
- And, of course, a project manager!
List all the key project contributors from your side and client side to make sure you keep track of everyone’s inputs.
(You may also want to throw in a sassy office administrator like Gina in your list — for morale purposes)
What do you need to complete your project?
Your project’s tangible requirements could include bigger office spaces, software licenses, upgraded hardware, etc.
You could have intangible requirements such as permissions from a government entity or developing Agile workflows.
If you’re working with Terry, we suggest you add yogurt to your list too!
List all such project requirements in the resources section of your scope of work document.
E. Success criteria
So far you’ve made an account of all the inputs that go into your template.
Now it’s time to measure the output.
One of the best ways of judging your output is to benchmark it against preset criteria.
Think of your success criteria like a checklist that can be ticked to determine if your end product has been successful.
Some of the questions you can judge performance with can include:
- Were the project deliverables met in the prescribed time limit?
- Does it meet the project expectations?
- How does the target audience respond to the product or service?
- Is it scalable?
If you can turn this checklist into a quantifiable evaluation (such as assigning scores or answering with ‘yes’ or ‘no’), it’ll streamline your process even further.
And we all know someone who loves that kind of precision!
F. Project management guidelines
Remember when the Captain left Jake in charge of the office?
Even Boyle’s cool moves couldn’t save the precinct from chaos!
To avoid this, define clear guidelines for project management in your statement of work.
Outline precise directions for the following things:
1. Reporting structure
What’s the hierarchy in your project team? Who’ll coordinate with the client?
A clear cut reporting flow will determine how the team functions and communicates.
If you’re working in a remote team, make sure you clarify day-to-day communication flows as well.
2. Feedback schedule
Will the client commit to reviewing all the work within a set timeframe?
This will help save time for everyone involved throughout the project.
3. Change management
Is there an upper limit on the number of changes from the client? Who’ll coordinate these changes on both sides?
A mutually agreed-upon process to deal with each change order will help avoid major disagreements between you and your client.
G. Payment terms
You and your client need also to agree on delivery milestones that’ll warrant payment as well as the modes of payment.
Be sure to make this project scope section as detailed as possible to ensure that you don’t have any payment hiccups or discrepancies down the line.
H. Project clarifications
If you’re a cautious project manager, you know that nothing moves forward without the explicit, written consent of your client.
Especially if you’re dealing with the likes of Gina.
So in the interest of transparency, ensure that your statement of work includes clarifications for everything like:
- Terms for confidentiality and data security
- Copyrights on intellectual property
- Percentage share on sales
- Payment terms and schedules
If needed, approach a lawyer or advice.
By defining these points, you’ll be able to avoid any “scope” for future confusion and contestation!
5 Free Scope Of Work Templates You Can Use
You now know that there’s a lot that goes into making an effective scope of work document.
But don’t worry.
As promised, you won’t have to start things from scratch.
If you want to get started with your scope statement immediately, pick your favorite sample scope of work template from the ones we’ve listed below:
Sample scope template 1:
Download this template as a Microsoft Word document here.
Sample scope template 2:
Download this statement of work template as an MS Word document, here.
Sample scope template 3:
Download this statement of work template as an MS Word document, here.
Sample scope template 4:
Download this statement of work template as an MS Word document, here.
Sample scope template 5:
Download this statement of work template as a PDF document here.
The best part about each work example template here is that you can use it to draft your very own statement of work – irrespective of the kind of work it is.
These templates would work well for a:
- Construction project
- Software tech project
- Education project
- Government construction contract
Now that you’ve chosen your scope of work document template, it’s time to learn how to begin drafting one…
The 4 Best Practices for Statement Of Work Drafting
Ready to go with your statement of work template?
But before you get started, you need to make sure that all your bases are covered — just like an ace detective on the field!
We’ve listed 4 key practices to keep in mind when drafting your scope of work document to ensure that everything proceeds smoothly.
We’ll also highlight how a project management tool like ClickUp can help you implement these practices to make the most of your statement of work document.
ClickUp is the world’s leading scope and project management tool that’s used by teams in businesses ranging from startups to giants like Google, Netflix and Airbnb. It’s got all the features you need to draft the perfect statement of work as well as execute it!
Let’s get started with the practices you need to follow:
Tip #1: Document all your information carefully
How do you prevent your team from looking like Hitchcock when you ask them about the project?
From the minute a project begins, you’ll be bombarded with thousands of tiny bits of information that you need to keep track of like:
- Creative brief from your client
- Change order
- Project charter or proposal
- Construction scope
- List of requirements
- Payment terms
One more reason you need to be extra careful is that your statement of work could be a legal document. Each detail mentioned in the statement should be backed by documented proof that you can reproduce at a later date.
And how can you document everything perfectly?
ClickUp Solution: Docs
ClickUp’s Docs feature is the perfect knowledge base for your team. You can use it to store important company and project-related documents alongside your projects!
Here are some of its features:
- Rich text formatting to create detailed docs
- Nesting pages within docs for further categorization
- Customizable access rights
- The ability to let Google index these docs to show up in search results!
Tip #2: Be clear and specific
There are a lot of moving parts in each project and keeping track of all of them can be as difficult as managing Jake:
This is why your scope of work proposal needs to contain explicit details about your deliverables.
Luckily, ClickUp can help you with that:
A. Track deliverables with Goals
In ClickUp, Goals are high-level containers that are broken down into smaller Targets. You can split your project Goal into these smaller Targets and complete these Targets to meet your overall Goal.
For example, if the Nine-Nine’s project Goal is to reduce crime in the neighborhood, you can track Targets with quantifiable metrics such as:
- Number: total reported crimes per precinct
- True/False: whether a case is solved or shelved
- Currency: budgets allotted to special task forces
Each time you update these Targets, your Goals progress moves forward in real-time!
B. Create Tasks, Subtasks, Checklists
You know how Amy loves ticking completed tasks off her to-do list.
And ClickUp will help her get better at this with tasks, subtasks and checklists!
- Create tasks and subtasks for every part of her project plan and assign them to each of her project team members individually
- Create checklists for each task to break down assignments into smaller steps that can be checked off as she progresses
These lists come with additional features like:
- Nesting: each Checklist can hold multiple sub-items to help you get as detailed as you want
- Drag and Drop functionality: easily move items to reschedule your list
- Assigning Items: assign list items to specific team members
- Templates: create a Checklist template that can instantly be added to your projects
Tip #3: Always track your progress
Simply assigning Goals and Targets isn’t enough.
You need to get out there and actually achieve them!
Here’s how ClickUp helps you keep track of your progress in meeting your expected outcomes:
ClickUp Solution: Detailed reports
A picture speaks a thousand words.
And a ClickUp report does even more!
- Burn up charts: highlights the tasks completed so far
- Burndown charts: highlights the amount of work remaining in a project
- Velocity Charts: determines the task completion rate
- Cumulative flow: visualizes project’s progress over a time period
But that isn’t all.
You even get a Gantt chart to easily keep an eye on your project timeline. Just take a quick look at your Gantt chart to instantly know how things are going and quickly make necessary changes.
Here’s how ClickUp Gantt charts can automate your project:
- Automatically readjust Task Dependencies after you reschedule any task
- Instantly calculate your project completion percentage based on completed tasks vs total tasks
- Compare current vs expected progress in your planned project schedule
- Instantly calculate your critical path
Tip #4: Get your team involved
You might be as talented as Jake Peralta, but there’s still no way that you can complete drafting a project scope on your own.
That’s what you have your team for!
It’s super-important to keep your team members involved and communicate with them to get the work done together.
And how will ClickUp help you collaborate with your team members?
ClickUp Solution: Comments section
Once the project scope drafting begins, everyone will have their share of sleepless nights from the number of messages and emails that they have to respond to.
And if you’re working in a remote team, this might affect your team’s productivity like Jake here:
But guess what, it doesn’t have to be that way!
Each ClickUp task comes with its own comments section for efficient task collaboration.
You can use it for:
- Detailed conversations regarding a specific task, activity or assignment
- Tagging team members to alert them of important comments
- Sharing documents and files to give your team what they need to progress with their work
That still sounds like way too many comments!
How are you going to keep track of everything without looking like Gina here:
ClickUp’s got you covered with Assigned comments.
With this feature, you can convert comments into a task and assign them to yourself or another team member! ClickUp will then notify the assigned team member and even display the comment in their task tray.
Once done, they can simply resolve the comment to avoid needless follow-ups
But that’s not all!
ClickUp is full of features that’ll propel your project towards success.
Take a look at some of them:
- Priorities: to always attempt the right tasks first
- Dependencies: ensure that your team attempts tasks in the right order
- Dashboards: get a bird’s eye view of the whole project with widgets like Pie charts and Calculations, and track your Agile and Scrum points
- Weekly Scorecards: track your team’s objectives and goal progress quickly
- Custom Statuses: create project-specific and relevant statuses for your tasks
- Pulse: know what tasks your team is most active in
- Project Management Automation: automate your repetitive processes to save tons of time
One of your first major challenges as a project manager will be to draft an effective scope of work.
But it doesn’t have to be difficult!
Just follow the tips and steps we mentioned here and pick a project scope template from the ones highlighted to get started immediately.
And since you can’t really manage your scope without the right scope management tool, why not sign up for ClickUp today?
It has everything you need to track your objectives, document your information and communicate with your team to implement your project scope of work effectively.
Get started with a free account with ClickUp today, so you can be as excited as Captain Holt when your team successfully completes a project completely within the scope of work!
Erica is ClickUp’s Senior Content Manager and professional beach bum. She spends her days creating emails, blogs, landing pages, and more to help people increase their productivity so they can save one day every week to do more of what they love.