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Statement Of Work: Definition, Template & Comparisons

A statement of work, or SoW, is a definition of the work required of a supplier such as an outsourcing partner. This is typically referenced by procurement and planning artifacts such as a master service agreement, request for proposal and project plan.


A statement of work explicitly states the work that is required of a supplier in unambiguous detail including a list of detailed requirements, deliverables and acceptance criteria. This sets expectations for performance and output with a supplier. The statement of work is attached to procurement artifacts and contracts.


A typical statement of work contains the following sections.
Explain the strategy and goals of the project.
Give context to the project.
Technical Environment
Details of the technical environment including platforms, infrastructure, systems and facilities that are relevant to the work.
Scope of Work
A detailed list of functional and non-functional requirements. This may include a work breakdown structure that outlines activities, dependencies and milestones. The scope of work may also reference various requirements documents such as use cases, business rules, diagrams and mockups.
Special Requirements
Any requirements you have that relate to the performance of the vendor such as the requirement that the vendor provide certain tools, locations and infrastructure.
Location of Work
State the location of work and requirements that the vendor be physically present at a particular site or work offsite from their own facilities.
Period of Performance
Any requirements you have that relate to schedule such as a business calendar and daily work schedule.
A project schedule or list of key dates such as due dates for deliverables.
A list of standards and principles that must be followed such as a style guide for a user interface, quality standard or security principles.
A list of everything the supplier will deliver.
Specifications of how work will be measured, validated and accepted. This may be listed at the deliverable level and may reference details at the requirement level such as test cases.
Commercial Terms
Commercial terms such as the type of contract and a payment schedule. Keep in mind that a statement of work is often attached to a full contract and legal terms need not be stated in detail. The commercial terms in the statement of work typically reflect the terms required by business units and project teams.

Statement of Work vs Statement of Objectives

A statement of work includes a detailed list of tasks, requirements, deliverables and acceptance criteria. This is used when you know exactly what work is required in advance. A statement of objectives is a similar document that specifies requirements of a supplier in terms of objectives. This is used when you don't have a specific list of requirements or tasks but will manage the vendor based on measurable objectives.
Overview: Statement Of Work
A detailed and specific definition of the work required of a supplier.
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