Planning tools are essential to successfully manage project goals, budgets, timelines, tasks, and deliverables pertaining to large projects.

This article will cover the differences between a Statement of Work and a Scope of Work and explain their purposes and when to use each.

What is a Statement of Work and When is it Used?

A Statement of Work (SOW) is a formal document that explicitly outlines a project plan and its expected deliverables and goals. Statements of Work are contractual business development documents that capture the details of a customer engagement, such as the scope of work, deliverables, assumptions, financials, and other critical contract elements. This document includes various sections about the project, such as vendor services and pricing. It may also include a section regarding potential risks, such as delays to the timeline and the necessary steps to overcome any challenges.

RFI-vs-RFP-What-are-the-differences

Project managers generally create an all-inclusive SOW before beginning any project work. It’s important to note that most SOWs are legal documents that project managers use to maintain contractual agreements. This type of thorough planning can help project managers and clients clearly understand the project’s expectations. SOW documents typically contain the following:

  • Purpose: This section of an SOW outlines the purpose and specific goals of the project.
  • Scope of work: The Scope of Work section describes project tasks, the tools required to perform the tasks, and plans to achieve the project goals.
  • Location of work: This section provides the details regarding where work is to be accomplished and where tools can be accessed.
  • Schedule: This is the area of an SOW where the timeline of a project is laid out in detail, including the start date and completion date.
  • Deliverables: This section of an SOW lists deliverables and due dates throughout the project.
  • Measure of success: In this section, clients specify criteria for a successful project.
  • Requirements: This SOW section details the various tools and equipment needed to ensure a successful project.
  • Payment: This section covers project costs and terms of payment.

What is a Scope of Work and When is it Used?

A Scope of Work is an individual section within an SOW that outlines the specific steps to accomplish the project goals. The Scope of Work outlines project tasks, roles, and milestones. There are key differences between a Statement of Work and a Scope of Work, and they serve different purposes. An SOW outlines the project outcomes and goals, and a Scope of Work describes the plans to achieve the goals and objectives.

Statement of Work vs. Scope of Work

By examining the expressed purpose for Statements of Work and the Scope of Work, you can better understand how these documents differ.

As mentioned previously, a Statement of Work is a formal document that describes the project goals, while a Scope of Work is a section within an SOW outlining how a team plans to deliver those outcomes. A Scope of Work is usually a much shorter description because it is a single component within the SOW.

Expedience eliminates SOW errors while increasing the speed of completion through automated SOW templates. We would love to connect to learn about your specific SOW challenges and show you how Expedience can help. 
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