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Writing a Statement of Work


Department of
Administrative Services
State Procurement

Presented by:
Melissa Canfield, Procurement Compliance Analyst

l Describe the differences between a
statement of work, scope of work, and
l Identify the elements to consider when
writing the final contract statement of work.
l Write a basic statement of work.

What is the Scope of Work?

“The purpose of the scope of work is to

describe the overall project purpose and
specific objectives of the requirement to
help the contractor understand the
magnitude of the anticipated effort.”
- Peter S. Cole
How to Write a Statement of Work

OAR 125-020-0140 (24)

What is a Statement of Work?

A written statement that specifically describes…

l Phases of work or services, major tasks, or areas
of responsibility.
l Specific objectives that the Contractor must
l The deliverables that the Contractor must
l A stated schedule of deliverables aligned with

OAR 137-030-0000 (36)

What is a Specification?
“Any description of the physical or functional
characteristics, or of the nature of a supply,
service or construction item, including any
requirement for inspecting, testing, or
preparing a supply, service, or construction
item for delivery and the quantities or
qualities of materials to be furnished under
the Contract. Specifications generally will
state the result to be obtained and may, on
occasion, describe the method and manner of
doing the Work to be performed.”


è The contractor uses it è After award, it is the

to develop and price basis for contractor
their proposals. performance.

è The agency uses it to è Provides how changes

evaluate the bids or can take place with the
proposals. work being delivered.



è Establishes the è Details performance

performance standards standards and
and a contractual
baseline. contractual obligations.
è Heart of the solicitation è Heart of the contractual
action. obligations.
è Provides a proposed è Solidifies the delivery
schedule for delivery. schedule.



è Estimates cost. è Establishes cost and

ties payment to the

è Communicates clearly
to all potential è Communicates with
bidders/proposers. specific language to all



è Provides objectives è Defines the objectives

and expectations. and expectations.

è Establishes an è Sets and defines a

understanding of a clear & concise
clear & concise framework.

Planning and Preparation
Some questions to ask before writing the
scope of work are:

Ø What is the agency trying to achieve?

Ø What is the use, needed functionality, or
outcome expected?
Ø What is the existing environment or
framework that must be considered?

Planning and Preparation
Steps to determine procurement objective:
§ Analyze the market
§ the competitive climate,
§ resources or research availability on the product or
§ Gather and analyze data
§ the agency’s intended use for the product or
§ how often it will be used, and
§ the quantity of the item needed.

Objectives continued…

Planning and Preparation

§ Analyze any statutes, rules, policies,

procedures, or legislative action that might
affect the procurement.
§ Analyze the tasks necessary to complete the
scope of work drafting process.
§ Analyze the current organizational framework
to understand the need.
§ Analyze what controls need to be in place to
ensure successful performance.
Writing the Statement of Work

A well-written SOW should be able to

meet the SMART test.

l S = specific
l M = measurable
l A = accountable
l R = reasonable
l T = time-based
Deliverable-based SOW

Deliverables are defined as anything that

can be physically delivered or validates
the work requirements have been met.

l A prototype
l A design
l A report
l Computer software
l Training class
Deliverable-based SOW

Deliverables are key to measuring

successful work requirement outcomes.
l Describe each deliverable fully.
l Clearly identify when the deliverable must be met.
l Deliverables should signify the a completion of a
task or group of tasks.
l Tie acceptance of work & payment to the
deliverables identified in the SOW.

Developing a “Good” Deliverable
l Binary (pass fail)
l Unique
l Complete (stands alone)
l Unary (no compound or multiple requirements)
l Observable or measurable
l Testable
l Unambiguous
l Purpose
l Priority
l Risk (added after technical assessment)

Model format

Writing the Statement of Work

Part I. General Information

Part II. Work (Tasks); Acceptance Criteria;

Deliverables; Delivery Schedule

Part III. Special Considerations

Part IV. Payment Provisions

Part V. Travel and Other Expenses


Writing the Statement of Work

Although time may be short, these tips may

minimize problems once the contract is in place.
l Organize paragraphs
l Keep sentences short and concise
l Use logical format, sequenced & numbered
l Do not use bullets
l Use easy to read font
l Have 3rd party proofread and edit your SOW
Common Problems

Writing the Statement of Work

l Contradictory terms or statements = confusion of SOW
l Ambiguity = project delays, amendments, cost overruns
and/or less desirable outcomes.
l Too many acronyms = confusion and difficult reading
l Minimal active voice = questions who needs to take
l Phrases or words that have multiple meanings = more
confusion and ambiguity.

Courts usually favor the contractor when

ambiguity or inconsistencies exist in the SOW.

A well-written statement of work …

l Meets the SMART test.
l Provides a complete definition of the work
l Withstands changes in staffing – both contractor
and public agency.
l Minimizes interpretation errors.
l Details obligations, expectations & deliverables.
l Identifies acceptance criteria to ensure desired
outcomes are achieved.
l Ties deliverables to contractor payments.


l The Definition of Quality is:

100% Conformance to the Deliverables!