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.
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:
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.
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