What is a Website Development Scope of Work?
A website development scope of work is a document that web developers send to clients to provide details on a specific project and its requirements.
Once signed, it’s a legally binding document that helps both parties avoid conflict, minimize misunderstandings, and stay on the same page.
An in-depth scope of work should include:
- Project summary: sums up the key web development details
- Project scope: sets project goals and boundaries
- Deliverables: that specify tangible and intangible project outputs, such as lines of code, coding language, and the associated website
- Project schedule: outlines project start and end dates along with milestones
- Final price: of completing the website development
Ensuring you’ve got all of this on your scope of work sets you up for a successful web development agreement.
Note: Sign up to Bonsai to access this website development scope of work template plus many other key business documents for your website development business.
Why do you Need a Website Development Scope of Work Template?
A clear website development scope of work template lays the foundation of a new project by outlining important deadlines, deliverables, and key expectations, all you need to do is tweak it per client.
It helps the client clarify expectations, visions, and responsibilities at the beginning of a project.
Communication throughout any web design project is key–keep touching base with clients to gather requirements for the SOW and validate their web design and development expectations. This will help you avoid miscommunication, hiccups, or misunderstandings.
Discussing these factors will help ensure both parties are on the same page about the work agreement. When it comes to web development, you want to discuss:
- Website requirements: that list out desired features, functions, and specifications
- User interaction: defines how end-users will be using the website
- Communication with stakeholders: specify whom you expect feedback from at different phases
- Limitations: that mention what can’t be achieved in this project
- Management: to have processes in place for managing disagreement and changes in the scope of work
Including all the fine details makes sure you’re creating a scope of work that has you covered at all steps. That’s what this document does, after all–it protects you from project-related issues or disagreements. Plus, it enables you to answer questions your client may have about what you’re about to take on.
It’s in both yours and the client’s best interest to get everything down on paper–be that the payment schedule or the expected finish date. If it’s in the signed scope of work, you’re both held to it, and understand it.
What to Include in the Website Development Scope of Work
A scope of work acts as a map–guiding the web development process from project initiation to delivery. It protects you from the dreaded scope creep, in which your project goes beyond the initial plan.
Adding the right sections is key to creating an effective scope of work–take a look:
This is the first section of your scope of work template. Use this section to offer a brief and concise overview of the project at hand.
Think of project objectives, background information, requirements, and problems before writing this section. A detailed project summary shows your understanding of the website project requirements and lets prospects know you’ve got everything under control.
Project goals clarify what website issues you’re being brought in to resolve. They also show how a new project ties to the bigger organizational goal, like content marketing, new feature launch, or a sales campaign–an important consideration when drafting your scope of work.
Think of these goals as tangible results that a project needs to achieve. Consider making these goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) for project success.
Here’s what they could look like:
- Specific: add six new pages to the website
- Measurable: reduce the site speed by 15%
- Achievable: create two new pages every month
- Relevant: help the product marketing team to improve conversion rate by 25%
- Time-bound: complete the whole project within next three months
Having crystal-clear goals like these will help you stay focused throughout the project and deliver the final website on time.
This section helps you set clients’ expectations regarding what they can expect from you during the website project.
Think of project scope as a detailed description of resources, timelines, deliverables, and project boundaries. Web developers can also add processes, assumptions, and foreseeable challenges in this section.
Here’s what you can add in the written scope:
- Work breakdown structure: that divides bigger tasks into manageable chunks
- Scope exclusions: these will not be part of the project deliverables
- Acceptance criteria: that spells out how both parties will determine project success
Suppose, a website development project agrees on a project scope that includes:
- Theme design and development
- Host and domain setup
- WordPress installation and setup
- Content management system setup
- Web design
- Browser testing
If the client wants you to work on items beyond these, you can refer to the scope of work document to raise your concerns. A project scope protects both parties' interests and safeguards you from scope creep.
A comprehensive scope of work gives you the peace of mind to focus on developing the client’s ideal website.
Project deliverables refer to all of the outputs that help the client to understand project progress.
Before starting the project and creating these deliverables, it’s best to jump on a one-to-one call with your client to better understand their needs and preferences.
Here’s what you can ask to understand their expectations of the project:
- What’s the purpose of the dev project?
- How hands-on do they want to be?
- What’s the timeline and budget for this web development?
- Do they have any essential deliverables?
Project deliverables aren’t essential, but they’re good for keeping the client happy with project progress. It’s an easy way to reassure clients that you’re invested in their website’s success, and great for checking in on progress.
Plus, it’s better to get shocking feedback before your first release than to reach the end of the project and have to redo page after page of code.
Development project schedule
A project schedule is more than a planner–it specifies a detailed project timeline and the phases involved in reaching the end goal.
Spending time on creating a project schedule helps you to set clear milestones and run the entire process smoothly. This chapter will need to change per client.
Project scheduling also enables you to catch issues early and set expectations about project progress.
Bonsai Top Tip: Consider using a project management tool, google docs, or consider inviting collaborators to your Bonsai task management workspace to create a schedule that everyone can follow.
Website project fees
This is where you mention your proposed project fees. Website developers either charge an hourly rate or service fees for projects. You can also ask for milestone payments for peace of mind throughout the project.
Consider speaking to the client first to understand their preferences, and discuss your preferred mode of payment. You’ve likely already discussed the budget in the conversations leading up to this scope of work–if not, you probably should.
Project assumptions are beliefs that you consider to be true for your project to be successful. You anticipate certain events to happen during the project lifecycle and therefore make assumptions.
For example, a project manager may assume that they will receive an approval within two days for each project phase. Now, the entire project schedule is based on this assumption. Any changes to the assumptions surrounding the approval process will cause a delay in the final delivery–see why this is so important?
Project acceptance criteria
Every scope of work template needs space for project acceptance criteria. They are performance requirements and essential conditions that a developer must meet to successfully deliver a project. Put simply, it’s how you’ll agree that the project is done and dusted.
Use this section to specify circumstances under which the project will be considered complete. Since clients have varying preferences, it’s best to talk to them beforehand about their expectations.
Terms and conditions
Use this section to define the rules and conditions you’ll both need to follow for the duration of the project.
Here’s what to add in the terms and conditions section:
- Termination: defines under what conditions an agreement can be ended
- Conflict resolution: standardizes rules for addressing issues and disputes
- Overview of liabilities and other legal points: mention legal obligations of both you and the client
Once you’ve covered all the fine details in your scope of work, you’re ready to send it over to the client. Just make sure you’ve considered the best practices for writing a scope of work.
How to Write a Website Development Scope of Work
Writing a website development scope of work isn’t easy, but you already know what sections to include. With a website development scope of work template, this process becomes a whole lot easier.
Now all that’s left is to understand exactly what your client needs so you can create their ideal solution.
Here’s how to start writing a solid scope of work:
Find out exactly what the client wants
Having a solid understanding of potential clients’ expectations is key to crafting the scope of work. Consider having a one-on-one discussion with your client to understand their vision.
For example, some clients may want you to:
- Develop frontend or backend or both
- Develop and maintain CMS
- Execute integrations
- Perform concept design
- Set up widgets
- Build mobile-responsive platform
- Test website on mobile devices
- Run search engine optimization check
Once you understand all the work, you’re in a better position to set milestones and create and track measurable goals.
Highlight what sets you apart
Your clients are simply not looking for an average web developer. They are looking for someone who has the expertise and experience to develop complex websites regardless of industry.
Use this section to showcase why you are the perfect fit for this project. Don’t hesitate to talk about your previous experience, skills, and knowledge which help you to stand out from the rest.
Add a CTA
You’ve got the client’s attention–now it’s time to guide them to their next steps. This could be a quick confirmation call or a signature on the dotted line. Whatever the next step, make it as easy as possible.
Bonsai top tip: Take this to the digital world and use Bonsai’s all-in-one business solution to get the clients’ digital signature on your key business documents.
Creating a Website Development Scope of Work is Simple with Bonsai
Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned web developer, it’s a waste of time to create a scope of work from scratch every time. With Bonsai, you can access hundreds of scope of work templates and more for free.
Here’s how to get started:
- Sign up for free to Bonsai
- Find a website development scope of work template
- Edit and customize your template
You can customize work templates, send them to the client, and receive signed approval without ever leaving the platform. Streamlining this process then frees up more time for you to work on new projects–a win-win for your business goals and freelance career.
Website Development Scope of Work Template FAQs
What is a website development scope of work?
A website development scope of work is a document that web developers send to clients looking to contract their website design and development services.
The scope of work document usually includes information on project summary, project scope, deliverables, project schedule, cost, and key assumptions.
What should you include in a website development scope of work?
A website development SOW should include:
- Project summary
- Project goals
- Project scope
- Project deliverables
- Project schedule
- Project fees
- Project assumptions
- Project acceptance criteria
- Terms and conditions
Instead of starting from scratch, you can use a website development SOW template from Bonsai to get started!