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A Statement of Work (SOW) is a:

  • written description of the work requirement which describes the buyer's requirements in performance terms;
  • detailed description of the technical requirements for a material, product, service, or project.


Attributes of good SOW requirements

  • Complete: Completely defines the buyer's need to be satisfied
  • Consistent: Requirements do not conflict with each other
  • Correct: All requirements are known to be achievable
  • Clear: There is only one semantic interpretation
  • Traceable: there is a trail to the driving requirement's need
  • Modifiable: Any necessary change can be made completely and consistently
  • Verifiable: It is technically possible to prove the requirements have been satisfied
  • Implementation free: Free of design decisions, unless they are mandated constraints


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A guide to creating a Statement of Work

A Statement of Work should include the following:

Introduction & Background

  • References the original agreement containing legal terms and conditions.


  • Provides well-defined statement of the results to be achieved in order for the work to be accomplished.
  • Identifies quantifiable criteria that must be met for the work to be acceptable and accepted.

Scope of Work

  • States briefly what the scope of work does and does not cover
  • Includes:
    -an outline of the extent of work
    -brief overview of the steps of the project
    -brief description of the methodology used 
    -description of the location of the work or where work will be performed
    -price breakdown

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Generating SOW Work Requirements

  • List requirements/needs.
  • Describe all work elements.
  • Avoid using indefinite terms.
  • Describe pertinent previous efforts.
  • Describe known risks.
  • Describe tasks in sequence.
  • Define reporting requirements.
  • Describe schedules.
  • May be a requirement for a final report.
  • Describe work products.
  • Describe special considerations.
  • Describe need for formal meetings.
  • Describe any technical data requirements.
  • Describe the criteria for determining whether the requirements have been met.
  • Describe the type of deliverables and what a deliverable is.


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