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Use These Nine Elements to Complete a Statement of Work

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This content is from the Method123 weekly email dated 2017.23.03

Use These Nine Elements to Complete a Statement of Work

Partnering with high performing suppliers can be critical to delivering successful projects. Whether you're hiring a supplier to deliver equipment, provide consultancy or simply make the coffee—the key is to document your requirements for their delivery upfront within a "Statement of Work" (SOW). Without a detailed SOW) it will be difficult to manage your suppliers performance, as you will not have a clearly laid out set of requirements upon which to base their performance.

(Note that some organizations use an SOW on internal projects - often as another name for a Charter. However, I am using the term now as a procurement document - that is, between a buyer and a seller.)

Although you may have a formal supplier contract in place, the contract will most likely specify the legal aspects of the relationship - not the specific procurement requirements of your project in detail. The SOW is used to:

Creating a detailed Statement of Work is not too difficult a task. Complete the following steps to create a comprehensive SOW for your project.

1. Background. Describe any perspective or background information that makes sense for the project. For instance, you may wish only to work with suppliers over a certain company size, with experience providing certain types of products and a detailed knowledge of your industry and local market. You may also require that the supplier has a certain number of years experience and clients who can to act as referees.

2. Deliverables. Provide a detailed description of the deliverables and or services to be provided by the supplier. For each product, describe in detail its components (if a 'good') as well as any skill-sets required (if a 'service').

3. Dates. Clearly state the dates within which deliverables must be complete, and any other expectations for the deliverables or services.

4. Training. Identify the training required by your project team, if any, to ensure that maximum benefits are gained from the goods and services provided by the supplier.

5. Documentation. List any documentation to be supplied, such as an Operating Manual, User Guide, Business Processes or Support Procedures.

6. Support. Describe the level of support required of the supplier by specifying thing like the support hours needed and the level of support to be given.

7. Other materials. Include any other materials and equipment to be provided by the supplier to the project team.

8. Acceptance. Describe the process for acceptance of each deliverable, to ensure that deliverables are formally reviewed and accepted by the project team before they are deemed 'complete'.

9. Payment terms. Identify the conditions and terms for making payment to a supplier for goods and services rendered.

That's it. If you complete each of the steps listed above, you will create a comprehensive Statement of Work which can be used to get the most out of your supplier relationship. 
At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit or contact us at
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