Statement Of Work (SOW) example
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Statement Of Work

A Statement of Work (SOW) is a narrative description of the required work. It stipulates the deliverables or services required to fulfill the contract, and it defines the task to be accomplished or services to be delivered in clear, concise and meaningful terms.



Wikipedia has good introductions that explain these related concepts:

The rest of this page is a statement of work template. The template is based on work by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, using this statement of work document.

Statement of work template


The official title of the project.


Summarize the work, ideally in one paragraph.

Include the most-relevant information about the project, objectives, issues, etc.


Summarize the estimated value of the work, ideally in one paragraph.

Include the most-relevant information about costs, including costs of products, services, materials, etc.

If you prefer to provide more information about the value, then add an appendix section "Value".


Summarize the range of the work, extent of the work, and parameters of the work, ideally in one paragraph.

Include the most-relevant information about any requirements, such as people, processes, tools, etc.

If you prefer to provide more information about the value, then add an appendix section "Scope".


Summarize the type of work, ideally in one paragraph.

Include the most-relevant language, such as "This is a work for hire as described by U.S. California law.".

If you prefer to provide more information about the type, then add an appendix section "Type".


Summarize the payment for the work, in one paragraph.

Include the most-relevant budget requirements, payment schedule, transfer methods, etc.

If you prefer to provide more information about the payment, then add an appendix section "Payment".



Describe the objectives of the work: what is to be achieved and delivered by the completion of the contract.

We recommend Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

Identify the most relevant goals and outcomes. Es and intended uses of the completed work.


Describe the performance of the work: how the work is measured, what performance indicators are relevant, and what measurments and metrics are relevant.

We recommend Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Indentify the most-relevant performance measurements and metrics, for the business aspects (e.g. net revenue, customer satisfaction) and for the technical aspects (e.g. average daily users, percent uptime).


Describe the factors that are most-relevant to success of the work.

We recommend Critical Success Factors (CSFs).

Identify business factors (e.g. personnel availability, budget allocation) and technical factors (e.g. tool availability, software allocation).

Who does what


Identify all the people who are involved a.k.a. the participants a.k.a. the stakeholders.

Include employees, contractors, consultants, partners, vendors, customers, auditors, investors, advisors, etc., and provide relevant contact information, such as phone numbers, email addresses, messaging usernames, web links, availability hours, etc.

We sugggest creating a document named "people" that contains this information, then continuously improving it.


Identify the roles that are involved.

Include employee roles, contractor roles, consultant roles, partner roles, vendor roles, customer roles, auditor roles, investor roles, advisor roles, etc., and provide relevant role information, such as what the role does, its capabilities and limits, etc.

We suggest creating a document named "roles" that contains this information, then continuously improving it.


Identify the responsibilities that are involved.

We recommend using a responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) a.k.a. linear responsibility chart (LRC).

We suggest creating a document named "responsibilities" that contains this information, then continuously improving it. We use a RAM called a RACIO matrix. The matrix colums are roles. The matrix rows are areas of responsibility, such as task groupings. The matrix cells are role-task assigments. A matrix cell indicates the role-responsibility assigment as one of Responsible, Accountable, Consultable, Informable, Omittable. A matrix cell may also provide any assigment notes and details.



Describe the context leading up to the work, such as events and circumstances that led to the need for the work.

Identify any relevant past work, and any of its successes, failures, learnings, issues, etc.

Identify any relevant past people, such as previous particpants, earlier stakeholders, etc.


Identify how the work is involved with the overall organization, its objectives, its projects, and its industry.

Describe the organization, end users, bibliography, references, technical experts in the field, etc.

Include anything that will assist the contractor in formulating a good bid, and the client in achieving shared understanding.


Describe how the work relates to the future, such as of the project, organization, industry, etc.

Identify any relevant future roadmaps, future objectives, future work, etc.

Identify any relevant future people, such as follow-on participants, potential upcoming stakeholders, etc.



Describe the tasks or activities to be performed by the contractor.

Include a detailed description of what is required for each of the identified deliverables.

Provide sufficient information so that all parties will be able to understand what signals completion of a phase, or milestone, or deliverable.

In most situations, this section will identify what methodology and sequence each of the deliverables will need to meet, how the deliverable will need to be delivered and what will be the relationship of one deliverable with another. This section will provide information on the language, format, version and content requirements for each task or activity and each deliverable or milestone in the work.

It will also reference the Schedule and Estimated Level of Effort expected for completion of the work; any Specifications or Standards which will be used; and the Method and Source of Acceptance which will be applied by the Client to the deliverables. This information may help to establish a progress payment schedule.

You may see all this information included in a table and/or text.


Identify the manner in which the work is to be delivered, and to be measured as completed.

In some cases, the information provided in the Deliverable or the Method and Source of Acceptance Sections of the SOW will be sufficient.

In other cases, specific reference will be made to the details and qualitative and quantitative measures which will be used by Client to determine completion and satisfaction with the work.

Work breakdown structure (WBS)

To be determined.

Applicable standards

Describe any industry standards that need to be adhered to in fulfilling the contract.

Identify any guidelines and templates that must be followed or used by the Contractor in completing the work.

Some relevant examples might be the reference to specific sections of authoritative sources, governmental regulations, or best-of-breed practices, peer organization processes, and guidelines.

Technical, operational, and organizational environment

Provide details on the technical, organizational and operational environment in which the work will be completed. It is more significant in work where technical compatibility issues may arise. In some cases, it is important to describe in this Section how the work will fit within other initiatives and who will be the ultimate end user of the requirement.

Method and source of acceptance

Provide a description of the performance, quality, format and testing requirements which will be used to measure whether the work is acceptable or not.

Example language:

  • All deliverables and services rendered under any contract are subject to inspection by the Work Authority. Should any deliverables not be to the satisfaction of the Work Authority, as submitted, the Work Authority shall have the right to reject it or require correction before payment will be authorized.

This may also describe quality assurance in terms of processes, goals, automated testing, user testing, etc.

Reporting requirements

Describe any performance or status reporting requirements which will be expected of the Contractor during the life of the Contract. Includes the format, frequency, number of copies and specific content requirements. It will also identify the need for presentations, conferences or status meetings, if required between the Contractor and the Work Authority.

Project management control procedures

Provide details of how the Work Authority will control the work (progress meetings, demonstrations, prototypes etc.). It will identify how the payment schedule will be matched to the measurement of performance throughout the contract. Contract management and controls in the SOW should be specific to the work and tasks.

Example language:

  • The Work Authority shall ensure the contract will be brought in on time, on budget and of an acceptable quality; i.e. submission of progress reports, system tests, etc.

Change management procedures

Provide a description of the process by which any changes to the Scope will be handled. It clearly defines that no changes will be implemented without first obtaining the approval of the Contract Authority in writing and as required the complete processing of a Contract Amendment.

Example language:

  • Client does not anticipate any changes to the requirements detailed in this SOW. However, if changes do arise they must be done in writing by the Work Authority, and an amendment must be prepared to reflect these changes.

Ownership of intellectual property

Describe who will own any intellectual property created as a result of the Contract. This may include aspects relating to work-for-hire, confidentiality, open source, derivative works, etc.

Example language:

  • The Intellectual Property will be owned by Client as a work for hire.

Other terms and conditions


Identify who will perform the role of the Work Authority and the Contracting Authority and the person who will handle Administration and Invoicing Questions. It also clarifies how the Contractor is to interact with and obtain direction from the Work Authority.

Client's obligations

Identify the access to facilities, the loan or use of Furnished Equipment, the access to documentation, networks, etc. which Client will provide to the Contractor. The following are examples of the contents that may be included under this heading:

  • access to the Client's policies, procedures,publications, reports, studies, etc.
  • ensure availability of staff with whom the contractor may need to consult;
  • access to appropriate guidelines, standards, industry regulations;
  • provide comments on draft reports within five working days from receipt of report;
  • schedule teleconferences, if required;
  • provide applicable documentation;
  • provide other assistance or support.

Contractor's obligations

The following are examples of the contents that may be included under this heading:

  • keep all documents and proprietary information confidential;
  • meet all tasks, deliverables and milestones;
  • return all materials belonging to Client upon completion of the contract;
  • delete all electronic forms of correspondence (e.g. emails, etc.);
  • submit all written reports as PDF electronic files;
  • attend meetings with industry, if necessary;
  • participate in teleconferences, as needed;
  • maintain security clearance with no conflict for the duration of the contract;
  • conduct and maintain all documentation in a secure area;
  • attend meetings at Client's site, if required.

Location of work, work site, and delivery point

Identify where the work is expected to be completed. This also specifies the location of hardware and software and where people will meet to perform the work.

Example language:

  • Due to existing workload and deadlines, all personnel assigned to any Contract must be ready to work in close and frequent contact with the Client's personnel. The work will be performed at the Contractor's location.

Language of work

Identify if the work must be conducted in a particular language, or languages, and if so by which role or for which task.

Special requirements

Indicates if there will be any requirements for special licenses, information on patents, permits, bonds or import/export details which may be required of either Party.

Security requirements

Describe any security requirements and policies that the Contractor will need to meet in advance of Contract Award, and how the Contractor will need to demonstrate compliance.

Example language:

  • It is a condition that, prior to performance of any obligation under any contract, the Contractor and sub-contractors and their employees assigned to the performance of such contract will be cleared by the federal government at the Reliability level.

Insurance requirements

Describe any insurance that Client or Contractor may need, or want, or provide, such as bonding, on-time completion guarantors, etc.

Include any understandings about insurance, such as industry practices, peer practices, policy coverages, etc.

Expense requirements

Estimate any expenses and their costs, such as travel expenses, living expenses, materials expenses, etc.

Include any understandings about expenses, such as limitations, restrictions, guidances, policies, etc.


Expected start date and completion date

Identify the period in which the work is to be performed.

More details are provided in the section of the SOW which identify the specific schedule which will be required for completion of the work.

Example language:

  • The services of the Contractor will be required for a period of approximately (weeks, months or years), commencing on or about (day, month, year), and with expected completion on or about (day, month, year).

This section may also specify allowable time for work, such as number of hours that can be billed per day, week, month, etc.


To be determined. This section uses the work breakdown structure (WBS) above.

Required resources or types of roles to be performed

Provide a brief description of the roles to be performed by the Contractor's resources, if applicable and the specific expertise or minimum requirements for each role.

Example language:

  • Current Licence from a particular regulatory body.

  • Member in good standing with an industry organization.

Applicable documents

Append any relevant background documents, drawings, specifications, samples or information which will be important to demonstrate what, how and when the work will need to be completed.


Explain relevant terminology. Provide any reference wordbooks, glossaries, dictionaries, etc.

Include any intialisms, acronyms, and specialized wording revelant to the work, the organization, and the industry.

We recommend creating a file named "wordbook" that contains this information, then continuously improving this file.

Example language:

  • SOW: Statement of Work

  • OKR: Objective and Key Result

  • WBS: Work Breakdown Structure


The following phrase will appear at the end of each Statement of Work:

NOTE: Before signing the Statement of Work, if you have any questions or concerns, please call the Work Authority indicated above to negotiate any issues.

If you agree to the requirements of this Statement of Work, please sign and date the document which will be accepted as your proposal by Client, and return to my attention.

Please return an original signature copy by mail.

Printed Name: