A software development statement of work (SOW) is a legally binding business document aimed at capturing the contractual obligations of software development projects.
It defines project activities, requirements, and deliverables—think of it as your holy grail when it comes to your responsibilities as a software developer.
Note: Sign up to Bonsai free to create a detailed software development statement of work. There you’ll also be able to create proposals, contracts, invoices, and more using ready-to-use and customizable templates.
A software development statement of work is important for fleshing out the essential project delivery details.
These details are key to creating a shared understanding of what will be delivered during different phases of the project. The purpose of creating an SOW is to define what’s within the project scope and what’s not.
Aim to strike a balance between providing a detailed description and creating an easy-to-read SOW. The best way to get started is to use a downloadable software statement of work template and customize it to fit your needs.
Here’re a few pointers to keep in mind when writing any SOW:
A well-written statement of work acts as a baseline for work agreements between both parties. Including the right sections helps you define project scope, key performance indicators, and responsibilities.
Moreover, it shows that you have a rock-solid understanding of the project goals and deliverables. Here’s more on what you can add to a software statement of work:
This is the first section of your statement of work. It defines the project rationale clearly and concisely.
Project background gives a clear overview of:
Once you’ve identified the problem and its context, you can better approach the project. Use this section to pique the client’s interest by talking about your background and expertise, and how your software development company is perfectly positioned to provide a solution.
Use this space to specify participants, project duration, functionality implementation, and relevant background information. Project objectives communicate the project goals and help ensure both parties have a clear vision of measurable goals. Consider making these objectives:
Whilst you want to impress, you also want to be realistic—don’t set goals you won’t hit.
The scope of work is crucial for portraying your understanding of the entire project. Consider breaking down a project into manageable elements and creating a work breakdown structure in this section.
The project scope also helps you to stay focused during the entire project and enables you to better avoid scope creep. Here’s an idea of what to include:
Project requirements offer a clear picture of the work that you need to deliver. It also helps a client to understand the alignment between project resources and objectives.
Consider using this section to outline different project requirements such as:
This highlights the boxes that a solution needs to tick, and provides guidance on what’s needed from your final software solution.
A project schedule is a timetable that defines project start and end dates, as well as the project milestones. Clients usually combine this with the work breakdown structure in order to easily create a timeline. Use this section to mention:
While the length of this section is flexible, it’s best to talk to clients to understand their preferences. A software development vendor usually uses one of these three project management schedules:
This is where you mention the payment model, terms, and conditions. Most of this section depends on what you’ve discussed with the client during initial conversations.
You can use this space to outline accepted payment methods, milestones, and ways to resolve payment disputes.
Bonsai top tip: Use a ready-to-go software development invoice template when it comes to requesting payment.
This is the last section of the statement of work. Project acceptance criteria acknowledges that a software developer has enlisted key project deliverables and met any other project requirements.
You can also use this section to specify change control methods, including uses of change implement management software and the process for dealing with change requests.
Once your project is accepted, it’s time to formalize everything in a software development contract.
If you’re stuck figuring out how to write a statement of work, Bonsai’s here to help. Create a stellar software developing SOW with thousands of ready-to-use, customizable, and free templates available on Bonsai. Here’s how to get started:
Once you create a statement of work using the free templates available, you can send it to a client, get it signed, and manage it without ever leaving the platform.
A software development SOW is a legally binding document that acts as a guideline during project execution. It contains project activities, deliverables, timelines, and payment terms.
Consider using a free template on Bonsai to create a software development SOW. It’s simple and customizable to ensure you’ve covered all bases.
The key sections to include in software SOW are: