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Scope of Work Vs Statement of Work – What’s The Difference

The terms scope of work and statement of work are sometimes used interchangeably, however, they are not similar. They are, in fact, two very separate things, and understanding how they function will help you enhance your project management abilities and influence a successful project outcome. The statement of work for a project is a detailed legal document. A section called the scope of work is included in the statement of work. The statement of work includes the scope of work. Let's take a closer look at both agreements, starting with the scope of work.

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What Is the Scope of Work?

The scope of the work document defines what a project includes and excludes. The scope of work usually consists of project requirements, a description of how the project’s goals will be met, and acceptance criteria.

The work you’ll complete during the project, as well as the deliverables, timetable, milestones, and reports, will all be defined in this document. If a statement of work isn’t required for your project, the scope of work may be used instead.

With the support of your internal legal team, determine whether you need to broaden your scope of work into a statement of work.

When Can a Scope of Work Be Helpful?

Scope of work is the foundation of a well-planned project and can make it run more smoothly. This document can assist your team and project stakeholders in determining project needs and identifying potential hazards that could prevent the project from being completed successfully and on time.

For example, while drafting the scope of work, your team may realize that a job’s scheduled delivery conflicts with another item that is currently in progress. You can then tweak the scope of work and make modifications to the timeline.

Scope of work can help your team agree on project deliverables, allowing you to meet deadlines, avoid backlogs, and save money.

How to Write a Scope of Work

A proper scope of work will help you discover essential business factors and communicate project goals and details to project stakeholders.

  • Be as precise as possible: Make sure everyone understands the project’s requirements and expected outcomes by using precise and clear language. Creating a list of measurable deliverables, milestones, and activities ahead of time will help you prevent confusion afterwards.
  • Make use of graphics: Visuals, such as a job breakdown structure, help everyone involved process information more easily and quickly. They also enable you and your team to identify hazards such as bottlenecks that could threaten the project’s success and timeliness.
  • Stakeholders should be involved in the process: We’ve already indicated that you should obtain legal advice during this procedure. Collaboration with stakeholders on this work can save you time in the long run. This way, you may avoid any future misunderstandings by involving everyone.


What Is a Statement of Work (SoW)?

A statement of work document is an agreement between two parties that helps in the alignment of project goals. A statement of work (SoW) focuses on your scope of work. This document is often created at the beginning of a project and contains information such as project objectives, detailed tasks, project cost and timetable, and more.

They’re most commonly used for outside projects and serve as a contract between your company and the customer, buyer, agency, or contractor you hired. When partnering on a project with an external design firm or working with a contractor on a large-scale construction project, for example, you may need to create a statement of work.

When Can a Statement of Work Be Helpful?

A well-written scope of work (SoW) combined with efficient project management techniques will help you complete a project successfully. This document helps in the management and documentation of expectations for your team and the party you hired. It’s a description of the project that can help avoid misunderstandings and disagreements.

The outcomes will be recorded on this document at the end of the project to ensure that the final performance meets the SoW. This may have other implications, such as whether your company will be paid in whole, receive bonuses, or face penalties, depending on your contract and the advice of your legal team.

How to Write a Statement of Work

For better accountability with external partners, you might turn your scope of work into a statement of work. A complete, precise, and accurate statement of work may bring teams together and ensure that all project specifics are covered.

When a statement of work is unclear, it might cause conflict between the two parties involved. That’s why it’s critical to have all of the chores and specifics are written down.

Below are some strategies to consider when preparing a statement of work:

  • Break the project up into phases
  • Write in short and clear sentences
  • Explain the purpose of the project
  • Define the goal of the project and how to reach it
  • Define project milestones and success together
  • Set clear, simple, and measurable boundaries
  • Always run your SoW by your legal team
  • Educate your team and check in regularly.

Your statement of work can address the legal side of things. Transfer all key information, tasks, and deadlines into your project plan once the statement of work is finished so you can interact and engage with your team and stakeholders in real time.

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