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Statement of Work

The Statement of Work (SOW) is the contract between the team and the client that describes what the team will do. The SOW explains the what, why and how of a project, before it starts.

Please interact with your company contact when developing your SOW as you and your client must agree to the scope of work.

Many organizations, including companies and branches of the U.S. government require a SOW as part of the project proposal process. While every SOW will look different, they all share the sections described below. There is no page limit on your SOW so make it short (but not too short) and complete. A typical SOW for NPDBD is two pages.

Use these headings for your SOW:

Background

This section describes the problem to be solved and the context of the problem. It should have a general statement about the project, a specific statement about the problem to be solved, a description of why the project exists and its relation to other projects, and a description of how the end result of the project will be used

Scope

Two paragraphs. The first describes, in general terms, what will be done on the project. The second describes what is out of scope and will not be done on the project. The scope section is exceptionally important because it is the agreement between the team and the client on what is in and out of scope for the project. 

Tasks

A list of  four to five major tasks that the product development team will undertake during the project, and the approach that the team will take on the tasks. The purpose of this section is to describe the top-level work plan for the team.

Deliverables

A list of the three or four major end-of-project deliverables that will be turned over to the client at the end of the project. If the deliverables include documents, the title, contents and purpose of the document is described. If the deliverables include apparatus or a physical prototype, the purpose and functional capabilities of the apparatus are described. If the deliverables include a computer model, the capabilities of the model are defined. 

Developing the SOW

Because the SOW is an agreement between the client and the team, there will likely be a few rounds of review and revise as versions of the document are sent to the client for review and comment. Allow sufficient time for this process.

The first version of the SOW is due a few weeks into the Fall semester. A revised version is due at the start of the Spring semester.

Submitting the Assignment

Email (PDF format) to your company contact and to your faculty mentor. Upload (PDF) to the course Moodle site. Only one member of the team has to upload to Moodle. 

Tips

  • Use simple words and sentences. No jargon.
  • Be concise. No gratuitous or extraneous words.
  • Use active rather than passive voice.
  • Define technical terms.
  • Use figures, diagrams and images to make your point.
  • As with any document you produce, date the document, state the authors' names and include page numbers. 
  • Copy edit to eliminate typos. A good way to catch errors is to read the document out loud to yourself.