How to Write a Scope of Work: With Templates & Examples

December 20, 2022
10 minute read

Writing an effective scope of work is critical for project management. Your scope affects your project’s budget and timeline. This means that managing project scope is essential to ensure your project’s success.

Planning, analysis, and collaboration are needed to craft a thorough scope of work. Done right, it can help you ensure clear client communication, manage your team’s focus, and oversee your project’s scope.

In this article, we will discuss how you can do that for your next marketing project. But let’s start with the scope of work definition.

What Is Scope Of Work?

The scope of work meaning is as follows: it is a formal description of the work you need to accomplish for your client. It defines what the client should expect and what they should not.

Your project scope will help you identify your project budget and timeline. It will also help you plan the resources needed to complete your project tasks.


Components Of A Scope Of Work

The most important details you need to include when defining scope of work are the following:

  • Problem Statement
  • Project Objectives
  • Timeline & Milestones
  • Deliverables
  • Exclusions

Problem Statement

A problem statement concisely describes the issues a project needs to address. By outlining the problem that needs to be addressed, you’ll be in a better position to identify what needs to be done to meet the project's objectives. It's also a great way to get everyone on the same page and ensure everyone is working towards the same goal.

For marketing projects, your problem statement should support your client’s business goals. What hindrances do you intend to address with your campaign? Starting with a relevant problem statement is an excellent way to illustrate your investment in your client’s success.

Project Objectives

Project objectives are the goals a project needs to achieve to deliver a successful project. They are often included in the scope of work for a project and, once agreed to, should be the basis for all decisions made in the project management process. 



Goals and objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART). Clear and quantifiable objectives allow you to track and report progress. They should also be attainable and realistic, given the available resources. As the project progresses, objectives should be re-evaluated and adjusted if needed. But from the beginning, the end goal for a project needs to be precise.

Milestones & Deliverables

Milestones mark the progress of a project, while deliverables are the actual products or services to be produced as part of the project. For example, if you’re organizing a product launch, a milestone can be booking all the sponsors. The deliverable that corresponds with this milestone can be the sponsorship contracts and the full delivery of the items or cash the sponsors promised.

Milestones provide an overview of the project and its progress, while deliverables give the scope of work or tasks to be delivered at a particular time. By tracking milestones and project deliverables, project managers can ensure that the scope of work is completed according to the plan. It's a great way to keep everyone on the same page and to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget.


A project timeline (also known as a project schedule) is a document that outlines the scope of work and the timeline for completing it. It typically includes details such as the start date, end date, milestones, tasks, and resources needed. Crafting a project timeline is essential to keep a project on track and ensure that deadlines are met and all tasks are completed when they should. 

To make your project timeline, you should list your project milestones and deliverables and identify the tasks needed to complete them. You can then assign them to your team to determine which ones can be done in parallel and which must be done one after the other.



This can be tedious to do without project management software, so it’s best to use a tool like Workamajig –the only project management tool built specifically for agencies and creative teams –to make Gantt chart to organize your work.


A project budget is a crucial component of any successful project. It is a detailed plan of how much money and resources are needed to complete the project tasks. To consolidate a project budget, you’ll typically need to break down the activities that need to be completed and estimate the costs of each. 

A project budget is important because it allows project managers to identify potential risks and anticipate issues. It is an essential tool for project managers as it will enable them to create realistic and achievable plans.


Exclusions are an important part of any scope of work. They define what is not included in the scope of work. This helps avoid misunderstandings and ensures that all parties understand the project's limits. 

Exclusions can range from specific tasks or services to entire project elements. For example, when you take on a web design project, you can indicate that copywriting and populating the website with content will not be part of your scope. Or if you’re providing content creation services, you can show if creating original infographics and videos will also be exclusions to your work commitments.

Exclusions can also limit the scope of work to within a specific timeframe, such as excluding services occurring after a certain date. 

Exclusions should be carefully considered before signing off on any agreement. Knowing and understanding what is excluded from the scope of work can help ensure that all parties involved in the project are on the same page and all expectations are met.


Benefits Of Writing A Scope Of Work

Facilitates Clear Client Communication

A scope of work is essential for any successful client relationship. It removes ambiguity and helps to ensure that both parties have a clear understanding of the project. 

It outlines the objectives, deliverables, timeline, and expectations of the project, which helps avoid any confusion. It also sets up clear expectations for payment and costs, helping to prevent any unnecessary disputes. 

When there’s clarity and alignment, it’s easier to build trust between your team and your clients. It shows your client that you are professional and organized and understand their needs. 

Enhances Team Focus

Writing a scope of work is one of the best ways to ensure your team stays focused. By having this document in place, you can ensure that everyone knows what they’re working towards and that they clearly understand their role. 

Writing a scope of work may seem tedious, but its importance cannot be overstated. When your 

team is aligned, they can be more empowered to take the initiative and think critically when faced with issues. This can increase overall productivity and minimize your need to supervise all the time.

Provides Legal Documentation

One of the best ways to document your scope is by creating a scope of work (SOW) document. A SOW is a written agreement between two parties that outlines the work that will be done, the deliverables, and the timelines. 

Having a clear and detailed SOW ensures that everyone involved in the project is on the same page and that expectations are clear. Plus, in case of disputes, you will have legal documentation to help refresh the initial agreement. It can protect you from scope creep and unwelcome revisions on your project’s completion and success criteria.

Helps To Manage Scope Creep

Scope creep is when unplanned changes are made to the project’s scope during the planning or execution phase. This can result in tasks comprising the team’s initial workload and compromised timelines and budgets.

Many things can cause scope creep –poor communication, project manager ego, project complexity, unclear goals, etc. While writing your scope of work may not address all those issues, it can help mitigate a vast majority.

Writing a scope of work is essential if you want to get the most out of your project. It will help ensure everyone agrees on what's included in the project and that you don't get taken advantage of.


Tips On How To Write A Scope Of Work

Be Clear On Objectives And Constraints

When it comes to writing a scope of work, clarity is key. Manage the amount of detail you include so that it’s highly informative but not confusingly overwhelming.

Knowing the objectives and constraints of the project is essential to create a thorough and accurate document.

For example, planning an effective campaign may take 2-3 months. But if your client is gunning to launch on a specific month that cuts your original lead time, you may need to hire additional resources or pay for extra work hours for your team. This will significantly increase your budget if you want to fulfill your objectives.

With a clear understanding of the objectives and the constraints you need to work with, it's easier to define the full extent of effort your team has to exert to fulfill your commitments.

Study The Intended Outcome And Strategize

When creating a scope of work for a project, it's crucial to think about the project's objectives and the intended outcome. Knowing what success looks like will help you prioritize which efforts are essential and which are simply nice-to-haves.

Not all constraints can be anticipated. If you encounter one along the way, clarity on your intended outcome and your strategy will help you negotiate and decide how to move forward.

Moreover, a clear vision of the project’s intended outcome will help the team stay focused on the end goal. It will also aid in communication between the team and the client, as everyone will better understand what is expected of them. 

So when writing a scope of work for a project, remember to focus on the intended outcome. Knowing what success looks like will be key to achieving it.

Align With Your Team

When writing the scope of work for a project, it's essential to take the time to align with your team. This step is often overlooked, but it's essential for ensuring a successful outcome. 

By taking the time to discuss every aspect of the project, you can ensure that your estimates are accurate, given your team’s skill level and capacity. This can help you create more reliable timelines. Furthermore, planning can increase your team’s investment in your project, positively impacting their commitment and productivity.

Include Visuals If Needed

Visuals are a great way to illustrate and explain the scope of a project, making it easier for readers to understand and interpret. 


Source: Shifte Learning


Studies have shown that visuals can increase comprehension by up to 400%, so it's worth the effort to include them. Visuals can be used to illustrate a timeline, show the process of a project, or even explain complex concepts. They can also help break up long text sections and make them easier to read. They can also add a touch of creativity and color to a document. 

When choosing visuals, remember that they should be consistent with the project's scope. For example, if you're writing a scope of work for a website redesign, your visuals should focus on the website - not the company's logo or branding. So feel free to use visuals when writing a scope of work.


Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing A Scope Of Work For Marketing Projects


Not Understanding The Project

Writing a scope of work for a project can take time and effort. One of the most common mistakes project managers can make is needing to understand the project before starting to write. Supporting tasks may need to be noticed. Specific dependencies can be accidentally left out. This will inevitably result in additional work unaccounted for when the slightest detail doesn’t go according to plan. (And let’s face it –so many things don’t go according to plan.)

Take the time to research the project, talk to stakeholders, and get clarity on the deliverables. Doing this upfront can save you a lot of time and hassle later. So don't be afraid to ask questions and do your research - it will pay off in the end!


When writing a scope of work document for a project, it can be tempting to overpromise. After all, it's essential to show that your team is up for the challenge and can deliver excellent results. 

But overpromising can be a slippery slope. If you promise too much and can't deliver, it can damage your reputation and create a lot of frustration with your clients. That's why it's essential to be realistic when writing a scope of work document. Make sure the timeline and deliverables are achievable and that you have the resources and manpower to meet the expectations you've set. 

As a rule of thumb, it's better to underpromise and overdeliver — that way, you can exceed expectations and keep your clients happy. 

Regarding project management, it pays to be honest and realistic. So take some extra time to ensure your work scope is accurate and achievable. You'll be glad you did!

Leaving Room For (Mis)Interpretation

When writing a scope of work contract, it is important to be as detailed as possible. The more information you provide, the less room there is for interpretation. This is especially true when it comes to defining objectives and desired outcomes.

It is essential to be as specific as possible regarding the timeline, deliverables, budget, and other expectations. By providing clear and concise instructions, you can avoid any potential misunderstandings.

Additionally, when writing a scope of work, it is essential to remember to include information about resources, communication protocols, and how changes will be managed and reported.

When it comes to the scope of work, the more detail, the better. Leaving room for interpretation can lead to costly mistakes and unnecessary delays.

Not Collaborating With The Project Team

When writing a scope of work contract, it can be tempting to pretend to know everything and give yourself a lot of credit. After all, you want your organization to look good and be seen as the expert. 

However, this is a mistake. It's important to be open about what you don't know and outline areas that you will need to research further or consult with an expert. This will help ensure that you accurately describe the project and set realistic expectations. It will also help to build trust with your clients or colleagues. 

Being honest and transparent with your scope of work will ensure that you don't overpromise and can deliver on what you said you would. So feel free to ask questions and be open about what you don't know when writing a scope of work.

Leaving Out Research And Iteration Time

Working on marketing campaigns, it’s essential to be observant of how your audience reacts to your output. Social listening is also essential to spot trends you can take advantage of. This ever-changing landscape makes research and iteration vital to succeed in your work.

When you don’t include research and iteration time in your project scope, you're not cutting short the time it takes to understand the task, come up with solutions or ideas, and ultimately create effective deliverables. This will often lead to a scope of work that is under-budgeted and unrealistic, leaving both parties feeling frustrated and disappointed. 

So when you're writing your scope of work, ensure you're taking research and iteration time into account. This will help you ensure that the project runs smoothly and all parties are happy with your results. It's a simple step that can make a huge difference!

Ignoring Tools, Templates, And Formats

Your scope of work proposal should be clear and comprehensive so that everyone involved in a project understands the work that needs to be done. Tools, project scope of work templates, and formats can help ensure that everything is present. Using a scope of work services template can also make writing a scope of work much easier and faster. 

Scope statement formats, sample scope of work templates, and free scope of work templates can help ensure your documentation is consistent and organized. Try to look for a scope of work template word document, a scope of work template excel file, or a scope of work example PDF online (or scope of work template PDF file) and you will surely find something you can use as a basis. You can also look for a simple scope of work example to double-check, in case you need additional references

By leveraging the right tools, scope of work samples, templates, and formats, you can write a great scope of work that clearly outlines the project and leaves no room for confusion. 


How Workamajig Can Help You Manage Your Scope of Work

Writing a scope of work is a collaborative effort between the client and the creative agency. It requires researching, strategizing, planning, and aligning, which can result in tedious back-and-forths. 

However, writing your scope of work can help you maximize several benefits, such as a great client relationship, a motivated team, and a protected scope agreement.

To make your writing your scope of work more efficient, take advantage of templates and tools like Workamajig, the only project management software for creative teams.


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