How to Write a Scope of Work (With Example and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 11, 2022 | Published November 30, 2021

Updated November 11, 2022

Published November 30, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Whether collaborating with a team or individuals outside a company, it's important employees have an agreement on the work they want to achieve. This statement of work can be a key project management document that covers the operating understanding between two parties. By learning how to write this document, you can define the responsibilities and details required to complete a project at your workplace. In this article, we discover what a scope of work is, discuss why it's important, explore what components to include in it, review how to write this document, and share an example.

What is a scope of work?

A scope of work, also known as a statement of work, is a document that defines the agreed terms between you and a contractor or vendor. It summarises the tasks, work performance, deadlines, and duties teams involved in the project can complete. As a project manager, you can use this document to ensure that individuals align with the expectations, criteria, and goals of the task. Project managers often create this document before they start working for the client. Before implementing it, ensure you organize meetings to review it and inform contractors about the job's specifics.

Related: Create an Effective Workplan for a Succesful Project (With Template)

Why is a scope of work important?

A statement of work is important because it can serve as a roadmap for your team. It provides details that are absent in a cost estimate and project plan. This document can enable you to make adjustments to accommodate professional advice and changing needs from your team. It can also help you avoid scope creep when there are additional requests for work outside the project plan. Scope creep happens when the work on your project increases beyond the initial agreement. It can lead to delays, insufficient compensation, overbudgeting, and conflict.

As a project manager, it helps you delegate work to your project team appropriately. You can record all the essential information about your project. Because a construction team writes this document collaboratively, project managers can discuss the project's goals with the clients. Once you write this document, you can quickly develop an accurate budget that covers all your project's bases.

Related: Essential Project Manager Technical Skills

Components of a scope of work

The component of this document can define the specific needs of your project, so it's important that it illustrates the objectives you want to achieve. Essential components of a statement of work may include:

  • Project overview: provides a summary of the project. It highlights the crucial objectives with a brief description of the project.

  • Project objectives: state the goals you wish to achieve within a measurable and reasonable time. They include information related to your project background and your problem.

  • Project scope: outlines important details regarding the tasks and their technical aspects. It states the specific methods and quantifiable data of your performance.

  • Project deliverables: entail your project targets and establish clear expectations of the finished work for your client. They comprise a detailed explanation of how you can complete each task.

  • Individual tasks: provide a list of tasks and subtasks for the project.

  • Project schedule and timeline: show the project duration. They include the start and end date with milestones that you may accomplish.

  • Project management and payment information: entail the payment information, payment due date, legal requirements, and any change the client makes to the initial contract. This section enables you to discuss payment models like fixed pricing and retainers.

  • Terms, conditions, and requirements: define the terms you're using for the contract with conditions. They include the requirements for validation, testing, and inspection of the project.

  • Contractor signatures: state the client's sign-off process and the signatures of both parties.

How to write a scope of work

You can follow these steps to write an effective statement of work:

1. Organize a meeting with your client

It's crucial that you meet with your client to discuss the potentials of the project. Having a meeting can help you clarify the terms for a successful document. Ensure you establish the project deliverables, timeline, budget, and scope. By doing this, you can improve communication and bring clarity to the document.

2. Establish the goals of the project with your team

After meeting with your client, you can discuss a strategy with your team members to create individual goals that can motivate them to work. Ensure you make goals for each department. For example, you can create specific goals for a carpentry department and electrical team. This can enable you to ensure that the project is reasonable and realistic.

3. Create a draft

Creating a draft can help you share the project's objectives, deliverables, and requirements. When writing this document, ensure you use straightforward sentences to enable the smooth flow of communication. Be specific about the several components of the project and explain the deliverables and objectives you plan to submit to the clients. Making your draft simple can enable you to evaluate your employees' progress and hit specific milestones.

4. Build a timeline and schedule

Once you define the objectives and deliverables, you can create milestones to monitor the project. Be specific about the task completion dates, client's review date, testing spans, and project closeout. This can help you update the stakeholders on the project's progress.

5. Assign duties to team members

It's important that you assign individual tasks to your team members and other contractors you may hire. You can contact the contractors for the project and gain insights into the subcontractors you may need. If some contractors are unavailable, ask for recommendations and referrals. This can help you ensure that every individual has a task to perform.

Related: Defining Team's Roles and Responsibilities

6. Collect signatures

Ensure you include a section with the project's manager and client signatures. Collecting formal approvals from contractors and subcontractors can help you show their agreement and consent. You can also let them sign off on essential milestones and deliverables to ensure they complete their tasks within deadlines.

Related: Contractor vs. Subcontractor: Definition and Key Differences

Tips for writing a scope of work

The following are crucial tips for writing a scope of work and setting the expected outcomes:

  • Use visual designs and diagrams. By including pictures, graphs, models, and sketches, you can make it understandable. This also helps you give your team members an idea of how they can perform the project.

  • Ensure it is brief. This allows you to work within the project's timeline. The primary goal is to explain clearly how to perform or how to complete a task.

  • Use simple language. It's important you use simple words that your team and client can understand. When choosing words, you can select those familiar or commonly used within the industry.

  • Set reasonable expectations and goals. When writing this document, ensure your goals are specific, measurable, realistic, and achievable. State the timeframe and materials required to perform each task.

  • Make milestones a priority. Because milestones update your client and enable your team to track their progress, it's important that you strategically plan it to ensure they meet deadlines. Setting core milestones in the planning phase of a project can help project managers to finish the project on time.

Statement of work example

Here is an example of this document for a company's appreciation ceremony. You can use this as a guide on how to write a statement of work document for your project:

Project overview
Acme's appreciation to employees
14 November 2021

Project objectives:

Plan and execute Acme's appreciation ceremony in Oaks Park, Vancouver, in October 2021.

Project deliverables:

  • Send invitations with personalized envelopes.

  • Recruit at least ten food vendors.

  • Recruit at least five entertainers.

  • Purchase awards & recognition certificates.

Project timeline and schedule:

  • Decide on the invite list (October 14 to16, 2021).

  • Collect addresses of the attendees (October 17 to 20, 2021).

  • Address the ceremony invites (October 21-23, 2021).

  • Get a final count of guests (October 25 to 28, 2021).

  • Buy awards & recognition certificates (October 29 to 31, 2021)

  • Celebrate the ceremony (November 14, 2021).

Milestones:

  • Selection of attendees and collection of addresses.

  • Contacting and confirming food vendors and entertainers.

  • Mailing of employees.

  • Hiring and assigning event staff.

  • Preparing certificates and corporate gifts.

Here is a detailed explanation of the individual tasks of the ceremony project:

Selection of attendees and collection of address
To collect the address of employees and determine how to contact individuals coming from abroad by October, 17.
Task owner: senior event planner.

Contact and confirm food vendors and entertainers
Research food vendors who specialize in local dishes and hire entertainers. Negotiate the pricing and send a contract.
Task owners: event planner assistant and budget specialist.

Mailing of employees
Ensure the employee's knowledge of the event by implementing print and digital letters.
Task owner: content creators

Hire event staff
Make a list of positions required for the event, such as cleaners, and security. Organize and interview and select candidates.
Task owners: talent recruiter and event coordinator.

Conclusion and signatures
By signing below, I hereby confirm that I have reviewed the terms of the above document and I have the resources to complete the project.
Signature: John Smith
Date signed: October 1, 2021

Explore more articles