Scope of Work (SOW)
A Guide to Writing a Complete Scope of Work
This guide is designed to assist Business Units in developing a complete scope of work for products and services.
June 17, 2011
TIPS for Writing a Scope of WorkWhere Do I Start?A well written scope of work can do more for the success of a contract than any other part of the contracting process. A good scope of work is clear, complete, and logical enough to be understood by a respondent to the solicitation and XXXX' staff who will administer it. The scope of work describes the details of what is expected of the vendor; it is the yardstick against which the respondent's performance is measured. That is why the business unit is the focal point for developing the scope of work. The business unit's sponsor and subject matter experts should start the process by contacting the Purchasing Department well in advance of the need for the product/services to request copies of samples from previous contracts. This will assist in writing a comprehensive scope of work. Armed with this information, they should consult with all business units that may have involvement with the solicited service, e.g. IT if a software purchase and enlist their assistance in drafting the scope of work. Purchasing can help identify resources for this purpose and should be contacted to assist in the development of the scope of work.Overview of Scope of WorkA scope of work sets forth requirements for performance of work to achieve project objectives. The scope of work must be clear, accurate and complete. SOWs have to be read and interpreted by persons of varied backgrounds, including performing vendors and their suppliers, project managers representing business units, and the business unit contract manager. Therefore, the SOW should be worded to make more than one interpretation virtually impossible.Developing a scope of work presents unique problems, because each SOW is designed for a unique procurement action. Thus, no uniform SOW format can be applied, but guidelines can be followed to achieve an end product that meets the specific objectives of the business unit needs.The difficult and sometimes controversial function of proposal evaluation and vendor selection is based largely on a scope of work, which is the baseline standard for evaluating all proposals, for reconciling them to design or other requirements, and for determining the best approach to competition. Evaluation criteria are based on a scope of work that defines project objectives and requirements for their achievement. Challenges to the proposal evaluation and vendor selection are almost always traceable to an uninformative or ambiguous scope of work.DefinitionsA scope of work describes the work to be performed or the services to be provided. It describes tasks, directs methodologies to be used, and sets forth the period of performance. It should contain only qualitative and quantitative design and performance requirements.A specification is...