What is a Statement of Work? And How to Write One

December 22, 2022
10 minute read

A well-crafted statement of work can save you time and money, as it outlines the project scope and expectations of the project. Creating a statement of work that is comprehensive and communicates your project goals is essential. To do this, you need to understand the key elements of a statement of work and the best practices for writing one. 

With this knowledge, you can ensure that your statement of work meets the needs of all stakeholders involved. So, let’s dive in and talk about what exactly is a SoW and how to write one that can help put you on the road to success.

What Is A Statement Of Work?

Definition of statement of work: A statement of work (SOW) is a document that outlines the scope of the project, the tasks to be completed, the timeline, and other details. It’s an important tool in project management because it helps ensure that the project is done correctly and on time. It also helps ensure that the work is done within the project budget and that all parties involved are on the same page. Most importantly, a statement of work can help protect the project team from potential disputes that may arise during the production phase.


Components Of A Statement Of Work


The glossary is a list of technical terms relevant to your project. This ensures that you and your clients speak the same language, facilitating alignment and communication. 

Especially when you’re working with a client who isn’t versed in marketing terms the glossary will be useful in helping them understand the terms you use in your work. But even when you work with clients who have a lot of experience working on marketing, terms can still have slight differences. 

For example, some client teams may be using “content plan” and “content strategy” interchangeably. If you want to ensure clarity in differentiating them, it would be good to include them in your glossary.


To help the reader better understand the contents of your statement of work, provide context through a brief background. 

Talk about your client’s product or service and where it is right now in its industry. You can also breeze through trends and growth opportunities relevant to your project and campaign.

Problem Statement

Simply put, your problem statement talks about the need you want to address for your client. Tying it to the project background, what support does your client need and what is their next goal? They may be launching a new product or service or wanting to increase their reach and influence in their segment. Perhaps, they are even looking into expanding their audience.

Get specific on what problem your project intends to solve and document it clearly in this part of your SoW.

Goals And Objectives

Goals and objectives are a critical part of any successful project. They provide a clear statement of work, outlining what needs to be achieved and how it will be accomplished. Goals should be ambitious and measurable, with specific milestones that help track progress. Objectives, on the other hand, are smaller, actionable tasks that can be completed in a set amount of time. 

When setting goals and objectives, it's important to define success to know when you've reached it.

Scope Of Work

A project’s scope of work is important because it indicates what a project covers and what it does not. 


Scope of work should outline the project in clear and precise detail so that all parties involved know what is expected of them. It also serves to protect both parties against any potential issues that may arise because of the agreement.  In the long run, a well-defined scope can save you time, money, and headaches.

Project Deliverables & Requirements

When beginning a project, it is important to understand the project deliverables and project requirements. A project deliverable is an item that is produced during a project. This could be anything from a document, a website, or a presentation, to an event or product. 

Project requirements are the criteria that must be met for the deliverable to be deemed successful. Requirements can include things like a timeline, budget, tasks, and other parameters. 

By understanding the deliverables and requirements of a project, you will be more likely to achieve your desired result.

Task List & Resources

A task list and resources are essential components of any successful project. A task list outlines all the tasks that need to be completed to reach the project's objectives, while resources are the people, materials, and money required to complete the tasks. 

Be sure to review the list of tasks and resources to ensure they are sufficient to complete the project. It’s also advisable to assign specific tasks to individuals to make sure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. This will also help you create better-estimated schedules –which we will talk about next.

Project Schedule

A project schedule is essential to keep any project on track. It typically outlines the tasks that need to be completed and the deadlines associated with them. It also identifies any risks and dependencies, as well as any resources required to complete the project. 


Plan your project timeline with Workamajig


It’s an invaluable tool for keeping a project organized. With a good project schedule, project managers can stay on top of project operations and ensure that it’s completed on time and within budget.

Cost & Payment Terms

The project cost is the amount of money that a client will pay for a project, and the payment describes the method and terms of how it should be delivered. Many marketing project contracts would include a down payment at the beginning of the project, and a final payment once all agreed deliverables have been sent and approved. Retainer fees can also be involved depending on the type and scope of work.

Project costs can be computed in many ways –output based, time-based, etc. Be sure to document these clearly in your SoW document to ensure that there is no confusion when it comes to the financial aspect of your project.

Signatures Of Involved Parties

When entering into any business deal, it is essential to get the statement of work signed by all parties involved. This makes your SoW a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions of your agreement. Without a signature, either party could potentially invoke the terms of the agreement even if they were in full agreement at the time of signing. 

Signing a document is also a way to show that both parties took the time to understand and discuss the details of the agreement. Finally, it also shows that both parties are committed to fulfilling the obligations set out in the statement of work.


Benefits Of Creating A Statement Of Work

Protects You In Disputes

It's important to have SoW documents to minimize misunderstandings and disputes. As it includes information about the project such as the deliverables, timeline, payment structure, and any other relevant details, this document can help ensure that all parties understand the scope, roles, and responsibilities of each one. Thus, it serves as a reference point should any issues arise during the project. 

Avoid Unnecessary Work And Spending

By establishing clear expectations upfront, all parties are on the same page when it comes to identifying key activities and their success parameters. This can help avoid the need to do unnecessary reworks and incur additional spending down the line.

It also helps to ensure that everyone involved in the project is held accountable for their part. This helps to keep everyone on task and prevent potential conflicts. It also ensures that each party can deliver on their promises to avoid having to fill in gaps at the last minute and incur rush fees and the like.

Efficient Project Planning

A statement of work (SOW) can be effective in helping project managers plan and manage their projects because it indicates so much relevant information –a breakdown of project tasks, key deadlines and deliverables, task assignments, goals, objectives, scope, etc. 

Plus, the SoW can help project managers identify any potential risks or challenges that might arise over the course of the project. This means they can plan ahead and take steps to mitigate these risks before they become a problem. 

Effective Performance Management

When managing a team, having a statement of work (SoW) can clarify expectations and set the tone for the team's performance. A well-crafted SoW will include key elements such as the project's objectives, timeline, deliverables, and payment terms. It also outlines the roles and responsibilities of the team and defines the scope of the project. This will help the team stay focused and on track, and it provides a blueprint for success. 


Source: Valamis


An SoW is also a great tool for managing expectations. It’s a great way to hold the team accountable for their performance. With clear expectations and timelines, everyone knows what needs to be done and when. So if someone is not performing as expected, it's easy to see what issues need to be addressed.

Team Focus

A statement of work is an incredibly valuable tool for managing a team's focus and progress. By clearly defining the project scope, timeline, tasks, and expected deliverables, a statement of work ensures everyone involved knows exactly what's expected and when. This helps to ensure everyone is working together towards a common goal, rather than wasting time and resources on tasks that won't contribute to the project's success.


How To Write A Statement Of Work

1. Familiarize With The Project

Knowing the specifics of a project can help you be more successful in completing it. Before writing your SoW, be sure that you have a good overview of the details needed for the components of your document. Thoroughly immerse yourself in your client’s business goals and your project goals. Note relevant constraints regarding your resources internally and externally.

Take the time to research and get in touch with key opinion leaders. Asking questions can help you get a better understanding of the expectations, as well as any potential challenges you may face. Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the project particulars will enable you to be more successful in planning it.

2. Align On Purpose, Goals, And Objectives

When it comes to writing a SoW document, it is critical to align on purpose, goals, and objectives. Without a clear direction, the document could be confusing and open to interpretation. This can lead to costly misunderstandings and disputes. 

Aligning on purpose, goals, and objectives provides a roadmap to ensure that the statement of work document successfully points to the project’s desired outcome.

3. Identify Scope Of Work

Getting clarity on the scope of work for a project or contract makes it easier for all parties involved to understand what is expected. Your scope of work should include which tasks are required to complete the project, who will be responsible for performing the tasks, and how the tasks will be completed. This information can help both the client and the contractor to ensure that all parties are on the same page and that the project is completed to the highest standards. 

4. Create Task List

Creating a project task list helps provide a clear statement of what needs to be accomplished. This list should include the project objectives, milestones and deliverables, and any major tasks that need to be completed in order to reach the goal. This can be broken down into smaller tasks and assigned to specific individuals or teams. 

By having this clearly outlined, everyone would know what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and who is responsible for getting it done.

5. Plan Project With Workamajig

Planning a project is a crucial step in ensuring that it is successful. Now that you’ve gathered the essential information about your project, you can now proceed to plot them out and strategize on your team’s best approach.

To build your plan, be sure to consider the objectives of your project, the scope of work, the resources required, and the timeline for completion. It should also include a budget and a risk management plan to address potential issues. 


A good way to go about this is by using a tool like Workamajig. Workamajig is the only project management tool built specifically for agencies and creative teams. Its many features include: project management, CRM, task management, resource management, as well as billing features which can help you plan and monitor all the moving parts of your campaign.

Staying on top of all the details and studying different scenarios can take time. To help you maximize your efforts, consider using tools and software like Workamajig.

6. Consolidate SoW Document

Now that you have all the details you need for a statement of work in project management, simply compile all of them into a clean and readable format. Here are sample statement of work templates and project statement of work examples you can opt to use to speed up the process:

7. Request For Sign-Off

Once everything is compiled, polished, checked, and re-checked, you can now send it over to key stakeholders. Before sending the document out to be signed off, be sure to have it checked by your team leads to ensure that information is accurate.

When identifying your signatories, it’s good to involve key decision-makers even though they won’t be directly involved in project operations.

Types Of Statement Of Work + Examples

SoW documents indicate what the project team needs to accomplish for the project to be considered complete. The terms for a project’s completion can be defined in different ways, which will also reflect the type of SoW document you need to write. Here are three project SoW contract variations you might encounter.

Amount Of Time Or Effort

The statement of work document based on the amount of time or effort needed to complete the project is often used in many industries. Especially in software development, it’s common for teams to provide specific tasks that correspond to effort estimates. These estimates will then equate to rates that are used to compute the total worth of a project. This type of SoW document is often used for short-term contracts. 

Examples of SoW for marketing projects that can use this type of statement of work document are those for website development, marketing consultation, etc. 


The second type of SoW document is one that’s based on intended results and/or quality level of deliverables. Unlike the previous type, a performance-based SoW does not outline the processes and methods the project team intends to deploy to fulfill their commitments. Clients are charged based on their final outputs and deliverables.

SoW examples for marketing projects that can use this type of statement of work document are those for PR services, copywriting, event management, etc.

Design/Detail Specific

The last type of SoW document is more often used for purchases and manufacturing projects. Design/detail specific statement of work documents go into detail about key features that a supplier’s output needs to contain. For these types of projects, the requirements will control the process that the project team will use.

An example of SoW for marketing projects that can use this type of SoW document is one for website development. It can also be used for event production.


Best Practices For Creating A Statement Of Work Document

Get The Team Involved

When it comes to writing a statement of work, it's important to get your team involved. After all, the statement of work in project management is a document that outlines the expectations, roles, and responsibilities of everyone involved in a project. This means that everyone should be involved in the creation of the SoW. 

By involving your team in the process, you can ensure that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and that the SOW accurately reflects the project requirements. Additionally, getting your team involved will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that any potential issues are worked out before the project begins. So don't be afraid to involve your team in the process - it will help to create a smoother project and a better SoW.

Be Thorough And Specific

As the statements of the work contract will be the blueprint for your project, it should be as detailed as possible to ensure that everyone involved knows what is expected of them. Visuals can be extremely helpful in this process. 

For example, if you're talking about an integrated marketing campaign, try plotting all initiatives on a calendar. This can help your client visualize how they all work together to get your key messages across. 

Visuals are helpful for showing the relationships between different elements of the project or for organizing complex tasks. They can make your statement of work easier to comprehend to keep everyone on the same page. 

So when writing a statement of work, including all important details. But more importantly, make sure they’re understandable to all parties.

Write Clearly

When writing your statements of work, it's important to use simple and clear language. This will help ensure that all parties have a good understanding of the expectations and responsibilities associated with the project. Avoid complex words and jargon unless absolutely necessary.

When proofreading your SoW, try breaking down the statement into smaller, simpler components. This will help to ensure that each clause is clearly understood. Additionally, it's a good idea to include examples to illustrate your point and help clarify any potentially confusing points.

Evaluate Success With Benchmarks

Deciding what success (and failure) looks like is an essential step to preparing for your project. A good way to do this is by establishing benchmarks. These benchmarks can be based on industry standards, historical data, or expert recommendations.


Source: Best Practices


Quantitative and qualitative measurements help you assess whether the work performed is acceptable according to standards. These also tie the project with the goals and acceptance criteria you have set elsewhere in the SoW. 

Wrapping Up

A statement of work document is vital to help set your project up for success. It helps you align all involved parties on what is to be expected and can protect you from potential disputes. It also encourages a thorough assessment of project risks and requirements before you start production.

Taking the time to accomplish a well-crafted statement of work document can spare you from many issues in the long run.


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