Project management

What is a SOW (statement of work) in project management?

Statement of Work (SOW) documents are extremely detailed and binding contracts that specify all the details of a project, including reporting hierarchies, timelines, budgets, deliverables, dependencies, resources, and… other terms and conditions agreed by all parties. It is a comprehensive project plan that lays the foundation for the project work process from start to finish.

A SOW document is imperative in order to start working on any project for effective project management. It is a clearly written project management plan detailing the finer points of the project to get all stakeholders on the same page.

Project Management Statement of Work


Conceptual image of a virtual contract agreement depicting a handshake between two computers with a contract agreement in the background.

Managing a project starts with a well-constructed SOW document. A comprehensive SOW agreement defines every aspect of the project in clear terms for all parties involved. It describes the scope of work, including daily tasks, due dates, governance process, quality assurance and deliverables, as well as facilities, resources, equipment, training and budget needed to make the project feasible.

A formal SOW document is especially useful when working with external resources or outsourcing projects to vendors or third parties. It serves as a legally binding contract that comes into play in the event of disputes resulting from non-delivery, financial charges, discrepancies in the final delivered product, missed due dates, etc.

Scope of Work vs Statement of Work

The scope of work ensures that all stakeholders are on the same page regarding the project deliverables. It covers a brief project overview, task list, detailed description of services, members or teams responsible for tasks and services, due dates, expected results and deliverables.

On the other hand, SOW encompasses the scope of work as well as other aspects of project management such as budget allocation, funding, resources, equipment procurement, training, processing payments, performance management, etc.

What is a SOW agreement in software development?

A SOW (Statement of Work) document is particularly useful when managing software development projects, as it regulates service agreements between two or more teams, between developers and vendors, or between IT companies collaborating to create software. a software product. Although it is not written as a legal document, it can have legal repercussions if it is not followed.

A clearly written SOW model in software development project management includes explicit descriptions for the following crucial points:

1. Project scope

Includes an introduction, a brief overview and indications of the reasons and objectives of the project, the processes involved, the end goal and what it would take to get there.

2. Project Location

Where will suppliers, contractors, managers, developers and other stakeholders be working from? Offices, remote sites or abroad?

3. Daily Workflow

This section describes the task list, task due dates, responsible teams and members, reporting structure, and task results.

4. Project Schedule or Timeline

Project start date, task due dates, project milestones and completion dates.

5. Deliverables

This section defines what should be delivered, when and how.

6. Quality assurance

This section discusses quality testing, feedback loops, and other standard procedures to maintain the integrity of deliverables.

7. Resources

A list of all facilities, equipment, dependencies, technical know-how, project management tools and other resources such as training, development, etc., necessary to ensure the success of the project.

8. Finance

This section deals with the budget allocated to the project, the payment schedule, the purchase of services and goods, invoicing and other financial aspects of the project.

9. Miscellaneous

Items not covered in the eight sections above, such as travel expenses, payment for short-term external services, security issues, confidentiality clauses, etc., are generally covered under separate subject headings. .

10. Success

This section discusses what constitutes project success. It mentions the standard of acceptable deliverables within the agreed time frame, along with the allocated budget and all other aspects, so that there is no confusion or miscommunication between what is expected and what is delivered .

11. Closure

The closing section discusses the procedures for completing the project and lists all the documents, product releases, and other paraphernalia to close the partnership.

Sample Statement of Work Templates


Screenshot of SOW Editor for Better Proposal Software Development

Here is a quick list of downloadable templates for different types of SOWs.

Online SOW document generation portals and applications

If you are in the business of developing and managing projects or creating software products and services, you will frequently need clearly written SOW documents. While you can easily plan a project using tools like Dropbox Paper, it doesn’t help you write a complete SOW document. Instead of drafting one from scratch for each project, you can rely on web portals that specialize in generating proposal documents, scope documents, and SOW agreements.

Better known as digital contracting apps, these portals provide everything from ready-to-use software contracts and legal documents to tools to manage a project, negotiate terms, customize documents based on project requirements and measure the progress of your software development project. Here is a shortlist of these digital apps to help you with your SOW deals.


Screenshot of DocuSign SOW features
  • PandaDoc—Create, approve, track and digitally sign documents online.

  • DocuSign: Automated SOW agreement generation, contract lifecycle management, negotiations, analytics, and electronic signatures.

  • Concord: Easily sign and manage contracts, including document drafting, approvals, negotiations, electronic signatures, search and storage, as well as deadlines and reporting functions.

  • Juro: unique tool to create, approve, electronically sign and manage contracts.

  • Outlaw—Ease of use focused team contract management.

Step up your job statement game

Whether you are an independent software developer, a member of a development team, or a software company that hires vendors, it’s obvious that you will need to write or sign a SOW document sooner or later.

You can use the free downloadable templates listed above or outsource this process to software services that facilitate the process and also provide free scope of work templates.


A pen on contract paper

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