A scope of work (SOW) document is an agreement on the work you’re going to perform on the project
The document includes
This is what your project delivers, of course. Whether it’s a product or a service, it’s the reason you’re executing the project for your customer, stakeholder or sponsor. Whatever that deliverable is, and it can be some sort of document or report, software, product, build (or all of the above), you need to have each item clearly identified here.
Think of a timeline as a road leading from the start of a project to its end. It’s a section of the document that delineates the major phases across the schedule of the project’s duration. It should also mark the points in the project when your deliverables are ready. As you can guess, it’s essential to scoping out the overall plan of any project. This is best presented visually, like a rolled-up Gantt chart plan, so the stakeholders can see the high level timeline.
Projects can be very long and complex, which is why they’re laid out over a timeline and broken down into more manageable parts called tasks. Larger phases of the project are marked by what is called a milestone. It’s a way to help you monitor the progress of the project to make sure it’s adhering to your planned schedule. Define your key milestones in the Scope of Work document, including project kickoffs, meetings, hand offs, etc.
You’ll be generating these throughout the project, delivered to either you team or customer, stakeholder or sponsor. They’re a formal record of the progress of your project, but they’re also a means of communication beyond whether the project’s on schedule or not. Depending on how you customize them, there’s a wealth of data that can serve a number of different audiences. Define how you’ll be reporting on the project and when the stakeholders can be expecting them and from whom.
Scope of Work Example
To understand a scope of work, let’s create a hypothetical project, nothing too complex but important none the less. A wedding is a project, and depending on the bridezilla (or groomzilla), it could be bigger and more complicated than building a highway or an airport. So, let’s just take one aspect of that larger project, the wedding invitations, and break this down into a scope of work. I’ll outline the deliverables, timeline, milestones and reports in this scope of work example.
- Invite List
- Addresses of Attendees
- Addressed Envelopes
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- 1 Decided on invite list
- 1 Have addresses collected of attendees
- March 1 Pick invitation style and have printed
- April 1 Address and mail invites
- May 1 Get final count of guests
- June 1 Wedding
- Selection of guest and collection of addresses
- Mailing of invitations
- Final count of attendees
- Check on status of address collection
- Stay in touch with printer for progress on invitations
- Check RSVPs against invitation list