A Scope of Work (SOW) template is used to define and document the work to be done on a project as agreed upon between a client and project manager. An SOW should align parties on the project’s deliverables, timeline, costs, and acceptance criteria. It is commonly used in construction projects to protect parties from going beyond scope, over budget, and into legal disputes.
This article covers 1) Why you should use an SOW template; 2) 5 critical guide questions for an effective SOW template; 3) Cloud software for digital SOW template creation; and 4) Top 3 SOW templates you can download and customize for your next project.
Click here to download Top 3 Scope of Work Templates
Why Use a Scope of Work Template
A well-defined SOW template serves as a blueprint for keeping construction projects within agreed-upon boundaries. It can help project managers avoid scope creep —a dreaded reality that could lead to conflict, an unsatisfied client, and potential legal/ financial risks.
In a 2015 study by the auditing firm KPMG, found that almost 70% of construction projects were not able to stay within budget limits and, 75% of which, did not meet their original deadlines. This shows that scope creep is a reality in construction projects, making the creation of an effective SOW document a critical skill for construction project managers. It can provide project managers with a project roadmap so goals and milestones can be easily achieved within schedule.
5 Critical Guide Questions for an Effective Scope of Work Template
A well-written SOW is critical for project managers to manage scope and client expectations. But, an SOW can be very time consuming and difficult to create. To help you out, here are 5 guide questions you can ask yourself when writing an SOW for your next project. We have also provided free SOW templates to help you create your own SOW.
1. What is the project's goal?
This is the reason you are doing the project for the client—expressed as the Project Statement. Begin by knowing why the project was initiated in the first place and what exactly the client wants to achieve when it is completed. To help prevent miscommunication and disputes down the line, project managers should craft a glossary of terms and ensure that everyone involved is on the same page regarding the project’s purpose.
2. What are the project deliverables and who are the people responsible for them?
Simple and straightforward language must be used when defining deliverables to avoid confusion. A project can have a number of deliverables, which can range from simple documents to complex tasks such as planning and procurement. Having specific people accountable for certain deliverables can help project managers avoid delays and track progress.
3. What is the project’s timeline?
Defining the schedule is critical as it sets out the project’s different development phases. It can also help identify important milestones, like approval of execution plan and post-construction equipment tests.
4. How much is the budget?
Projects often have a tendency of going over budget, making it more important for project managers to do a cost-benefit analysis beforehand. This can determine the right mix of resources (e.g. labor, machinery, safety facilities, and security) and their optimal price. Consult experts to get precise costing for manpower, tools and equipment, and other requirements.
5. Who are the signatories?
Never begin project work without securing critical signatures/approvals; these make the SOW enforceable. Project managers must get all key signatories to agree on each project objective and milestone before finalizing the SOW. This will help protect all parties in case of legal disputes.
Click below to see sample completed SOW for a kitchen remodeling project.
How can iAuditor Help in Creating a Scope of Work Template?
iAuditor is the world’s #1 digital form software platform and replaces paper SOW templates and forms with a powerful and easy to use mobile and web app.Using iAuditor, project managers can:
- ✔ Build and customize SOW templates online using iAuditor web app
- ✔ Prepare SOW documents while onsite using the iAuditor mobile app
- ✔ Create better SOW documents by easily taking and attaching photos with the mobile apps
- ✔ Gather quick electronic signatures from clients
- ✔ Automatically save all SOW documents in the cloud for easy access