A scope of work is one of the essential tools in the project management world that describes exactly what falls under the framework of a project, as well as what doesn't.
A scope of work usually makes up one section of a statement of work, or SoW, document. The statement of work outlines a project's key elements and is agreed upon by the businesses and the clients involved. The scope of work supports this document by outlining everything that will actually be worked on within the bounds of the project (also known as the project scope).
The scope of work is usually put together by project managers and team members delivering a product or service. They're delivered to companies, external stakeholders or clients, and need to be agreed upon and approved before any further project developments go forward.
There are several reasons why a thorough, well written scope of work is vitally important to any project. The truth is, any rock star project manager will be a true expert in assembling an excellent scope of work. It's an essential project management document because it...
A scope of work document is normally developed at the beginning of a project's lifecycle, and for a good reason. They lay the foundation for all the work involved in a given project. Because of this, a scope of work often lays the groundwork for a formal agreement between a client and a service provider.
Basically, a scope of work ensures that everyone is on the same page when undertaking a new project. By outlining everything from project milestones to project deliverables to expected outcomes, the scope of work creates a relationship based on transparency, clear communication, and collaboration. This kind of foundation leads to a much greater chance of project success and avoids frustrations and problems down the road.
Scope creep is a term that strikes fear into the hearts of project managers and project teams alike. Luckily, a good scope of work is a powerful tool that can help you avoid just that.
Scope creep is what happens when project scope increases (slowly and surely) beyond what was initially agreed upon. It results in project teams having to work longer and harder and potentially a great deal of unpaid work. It can be due to changing customer's requirements or just plain old miscommunication. Whatever the case, it wreaks havoc on the best of projects and causes a lot of confusion, frustration, and even conflict.
A project scope document helps provide scope creep because it provides an accurate picture of what a project entails and puts it in writing. Since both parties have to sign off on a scope of work because a project begins, there isn't any room for doubt about what specific tasks a project encompasses (and doesn't encompass).
If you suspect the onset of scope creep, you can refer your client back to your scope of work document and review the project expectations you initially agreed upon. This will give everyone a clear idea of what should be completed within the framework of your project.
A good scope of work document provides a breakdown of all the major phases, project tasks, and important details that make up a project.
Although a scope of work is typically a brief document, it can act as a great organizational resource for service providers and clients alike. This is especially the case because it's often put together before other more in-depth documentation like a project plan.
If anyone has any questions about set schedule, progress, work details, set milestones, success criteria, and the like, they can easily refer to the scope of work document to determine how things are coming along and whether there are any problems that need to be addressed.
The contents of a scope of work can vary depending on your project specifics, but they often include the following sections.
Account for all the key finer details of your project here and make sure that there isn't any missing information. Most importantly, include elements like project name, document author, document version, client name, and current date.
Provide a brief description of your project so that it can be referred to at a glance. Touch on project backgrounds, project goals, your problem statement, key assumptions, how you will be moving forward, and the parties and work involved.
Spend time defining the goods and/or services that will be delivered within the framework of your project. This section is often formatted as a list.
Now we're getting into the meat of the project and how everything will ultimately get done. Break your overall project down into individual tasks (and even sub-tasks) and milestones. Be sure to provide as many specific details as is realistic at this point in your project's development. It's also handy to create a table to use for this section.
Describe exactly what your client can expect to receive by your project's end date. Make sure you're specific in this section and don't leave anything out so that both you and your client are well-informed and understand each other.
An adoption plan outlining how the project's deliverables will be received and put in place is sometimes included here.
Outline your project's approximate time frame from beginning to end. Although this will likely not be set in stone at this stage, you should have an initial idea. Make sure to account for beginning and end dates, as well as key milestone timing.
If you really want to double down on your efforts to get rid of the dreaded scope creep, an out of scope list is a great tool at your disposal. It's a section that specifies tasks that are not included within the bounds of your project.
Since the scope of work document is usually assembled at the beginning of a project's lifecycle, it's likely that you'll have to make a few changes before your work wraps up. For this reason, it's a good idea to establish a protocol to use when either party involved needs to make any changes to the agreed upon scope of work or statement of work (SoW).
It's important to include some kind of payment schedule or payment terms in your scope of work document. This ensures that there won't be any surprises when it comes to milestones, project conclusions, and invoicing. Be sure to include payment and/or accounting information where necessary in this section.
The scope of work document is an incredibly useful tool for project teams of any kind. This is because they:
If you're a project manager, the term scope creep probably sends shivers down your spine. Scope creep is what happens when work on a project slowly, but steadily, increases from what was initially agreed upon. This results in delays, roadblocks, frustration, and insufficient compensation. The scope of work document helps avoid this (and address it head-on when it does happen), because you have the initial project scope in writing to refer back to when needed.
There are lots of misunderstandings and miscommunications that can pop up between company and client throughout a project's lifecycle. Similar to scope creep, the scope of work provides a reliable resource outlining other key project requirements to refer back to throughout the project whenever it's necessary.
The scope of work enables teams to stay on top of organization and establishes clear criteria to abide by from the get-go. It helps project teams get things done on time, stay within the framework of the initial project budget, remain consistent with their business objectives, and deliver everything as planned when all is said and done.
Are you currently getting started on a scope of work? Thinking about how to write one for a project coming down the pipe in the future? Regardless of your situation, Slite's got a perfect solution for you.
Check out our free scope of work template. It'll help you get started on your document development and make sure you don't miss any key elements. Oh, and did we mention that it's easy to customize to your project's needs, looks great across different devices, and is a dream to work on collaboratively?
Start working on your very own scope of work document now. There's nothing stopping you.
By now, we're sure that you're more than convinced about the benefits a scope of work can offer your project team. If you're ready to start developing it right away, all you have to do is the following:
If you're providing a product or service, decide on a realistic timeframe and budget for you. When writing your scope of work, you'll want to make sure that you're proposing something that you can actually get done. You'll be a lot more credible if you're realistic, rather than making false promises right off the bat.
In the early stages of writing your statement of work (SoW) and/or your scope of work, it's a great idea to meet with your client. Discuss things like timelines, deliverables, finances, resources, and other criteria. If you can get an idea of their needs before writing your scope of work, you'll have a higher likelihood of them approving it right away.
When writing your scope of work, make sure to write clearly and concisely. It's likely that a variety of people will read it, so make sure that it's easy to read and easy to understand for people from different industries, departments, and seniority levels. It's also not time to be vague. If there's any moment to be specific about the services your company will or won't be providing, it's in your scope of work.
...and that's that! Follow these steps, get customizing, and you'll have your very own scope of work document ready in no time. We can't wait for you to start your project off on the right foot.
If you're ready to start customizing our scope of work template and using it to its full potential for all of your project objectives, all you have to do is the following:
One of the best aspects about Slite is the fact that you can use our work templates for free without any strings attached. If you already have an account, great. If you don't, clicking on one of the above buttons will prompt you to sign up so you can get going with your free template.
If you already have an account, enter your information. If you don't, you'll be asked to fill in some personal details on the same page to register. You'll have to enter your email address, your name, and what kind of work you'll be using Slite for. Once you decide on your Slite team address, you'll be good to go.
Click on "open your Slite," and you'll be all set to begin customizing and using your scope of work template, as well as any other work templates that strike your fancy. Enjoy!