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Statement of Work (PDF)

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Statement of Work (PDF)

A statement of work PDF is a legally binding document within a contract that clearly describes the work requirements for a specific project along with its design expectations and overall performance. The main objective of the SOW is to define the responsibilities, work agreements and liabilities between the client and service provider (freelancers or consultants), the two parties involved in the contract. It also captures and defines all the project deliverables and schedule requirements.

One of the primary advantages of statement of work PDF is that it clearly defines the scope and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the contract, which can later be used as a reference point to determine whether the contract conditions of the SOW have been met.

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To prevent misinterpretations of terms and requirements, SOWs are generally written in precise language, relevant to the field of business.

Why is a statement of work PDF used?

Although SOWs are frequently used in project management, they are actually applicable to a wide range of services.

Irrespective of the industry you’re in, paperwork remains the most important element of any project's life cycle. While there is a constant need for such paperwork to be created, filed, and archived, the most important among those is statement of work PDF because it outlines the complete framework of the project from start to end.

Among the benefits of using a statement of work PDF are:

  • SOW offers complete transparency into the methods and processes to the project stakeholders
  • The legally binding nature of the SOW ensures that the project is fully supported by all parties involved
  • SOWs help to streamline the planning process for complex and large projects

What’s Included in a statement of work PDF?

Although statement of work PDF formats can vary from industry to industry, the template typically includes the following elements:

1. Background

This section of a statement of work generally explains the context for the project, it's requirements and overarching goals. It clearly states the business needs to be addressed by doing the said project.

2. Purpose and scope of work

The section describes the purpose in terms of what/ why of the project, objectives, deliverables, and ROI. Further, it covers the work that needs to be done, including steps to be taken, outcomes, and overall time involved to complete the project.

3. Complete project schedule

Includes a list of all the deliverables along with their deadlines and the vendor or team member responsible for completing them. A good SOW always includes incremental deadlines for having chunks of work completed. This approach helps to keep the project moving forward seamlessly.

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4. Should define success

A statement of work PDF should clearly mention what constitutes success and failure of the project. It means that the document needs to establish criteria defining the successful completion of a task.

5. Standards and testing

This section of SOW primarily outlines various industry/ compliance standards that are required to be met during the duration of the project along with testing requirements to be completed, if any.

6. Payment conditions

Running after unpaid invoices is a pain, but an SOW makes it easy to hold your client accountable. To facilitate this, all the payment details such as - method and time of when the payment will be scheduled, are included in this section.

Apart from these, a statement of work PDF may also include special requirements needed to be based on the project such as technical skills, specialized hardware/software, project location, travel needs and more.

Bottom line

Unlike the popular notion that statements of work PDFs are something only large firms should use, they are increasingly gaining popularity among small business owners and freelancers as well. A well-drafted SOW can save you tons of time, making it essential to spend enough time figuring out the details of what to include in it.

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