Work Statement

What Is a Work Statement?

Work statements form and define the scope of work involved for the vendor to specify the timeline, fees, and deliverables. This official document is also considered as a formal agreement between a client and an organization, contract, agency, or service provider to explain in detail what is part of a project and what isn’t. So from how to meet the objectives, how much the services cost, down to what terms and conditions will be observed in a binding agreement, SOW ensures commitment to fulfill the entire work or project in the end.

It has been reported that only 21% of businesses follow standard project management systems

Meanwhile, Statista confirmed that the leading construction project in the US is the Hudson Yards project in New York, which cost up to $20 billion in 2017.

Why Are Work Statements Important?

A work statement is essential for many reasons. Let us start with how the statement itself is a reliable reference when you need a copy of the significant details like the cost estimates, project plans, deliverables, and more. Work statements remind you of your project’s purpose and details so you won’t lose track along the way. Indeed, it takes some effort and time to complete it but all its information guarantees you to understand what to deliver or accomplish in a project and how to succeed it. More so, work statements tailor a project’s performance by ensuring you never go out of scope. In short, a well-written work statement promises you a higher success rate than pursuing a project without it.

What Are the Elements of a Work Statement?

You already know what SOW means and why it is vital. But are you familiar with what’s inside a work statement in the first place? Projects may have different work statements but they contain similar elements. And a standard work statement would contain the following:

Introduction: Right from the title of a document to its introductory statement, it should set off a clear introduction of your work statement. Since the introduction is placed at the beginning, it should give an important message regarding what the project is about, who are the parties involved, who are governing the project, etc.Background: An introduction is just a quick summary. Meanwhile, you explain the background further in your SOW’s background statement. Expand the content more like discussing the organization’s goals and history, including its needs. And this background slowly makes the project more understandable to whoever reads it.Purpose: Of course, your project should have a clear purpose. Why is that project necessary in the first place? Answer it here. Your statement of purpose answers the consequential questions from the deliverables, key objectives, and more.Scope of Work: One of the essential ingredients of SOW is the scope of work. This part is the official declaration that details what type of work should be achieved, what the planned outcome is, the timeline involved, and its steps arranged in the proper sequence. Do not forget to incorporate the software and hardware necessary to manage the entire work too.Location: Yes, you are about to do a project. But where exactly will it be done? Location matters because you might have to consider if you are working on a project within the city with lots of establishments nearby or in a remote area somewhere far away. Besides mentioning the specific address, you also highlight other concerns to manage in the location. Examples include the electric systems, plumbing, and other structures that might be affected at work.Schedule: Insert a schedule in your work statement. Examples include the deadlines of the enlisted deliverables and also who are obliged to complete such tasks. The problem without setting deadlines and a clear assignment of tasks is people might wait for instruction before they do the work. So since SOW already contains complete instructions, everybody should be responsible for their job on time.Milestones: Be sure you are tracking your performance regularly. Recording milestones or your current progress is beneficial to be aware of how much work is still needed. Without such records, people might not know if they did enough already or there still needs to be some work. Also, people become more productive in tracking performance. Because if they have no progress to report, then it signifies that they were not working nor being productive at all. Also, milestones can organize projects by dividing them into smaller tasks.Task List: You cannot forget the list of tasks in SOW. You can summarize the steps into more specific tasks into a work breakdown structure (WBS). Be detailed in terms of how to accomplish the project, what approach to take, and other phases or specifics to note down. And a task checklist format can suffice.Payments and Estimates: Remember that financial statements from the payments, estimates, earnings, tax deductibles, budget, and more should be written in your work statement. Recognize every payment related to projects and how to deliver them. Some projects are even quite costly so no expense must be wasted. Fun fact: one of the leading construction projects in America was the Hudson Yards project in New York back in 2017. It totaled $20 billion.Requirements: Work requirements or personal requirements might be needed to mention. This section applies to the tools and equipment to gather, government certifications, travel time, and more. And for development projects, you have to state functional requirements.Closure: Just like a standard letter, SOW’s beginning kicks off with an introduction and ends with a closing statement. This part clarifies how to accept the deliverables of your project. The same goes for who governs or reviews the project. Ensure that all the project documents are approved to continue with the work. Also, note what conditions would cause termination in the project.

How to Make a Proper Work Statement

Writing a work statement has never been made easier when you use our sample work statement templates above. With each downloadable template, you can also edit its content, format, style, etc. Premade SOW templates also let you avoid working from scratch. Just follow along with its structure since it will guide you on how to formulate a proper work statement. And if you need a more thorough guide on how to make SOW, we got you covered. Kindly follow these steps:

Step 1: Break Down the Scope of Work

First things first, summarize the scope of work. Scoping the work which you do not fully know about is bad news. A full breakdown of the overall work will eventually lead you to be aware of what to include or not in the work statement. Thus, put some effort into understanding the work itself. A tip is to breakdown the work into phases. It would be complicated to manage the SOW for a whole project unless you divide it into phases. Those separated phases would make the job more manageable and practical. So aim to complete each phase during every project’s progress.

Step 2: Plan What to Do and How to Do It

A work statement should clarify the decisions on what must be done and how. Provide a thorough explanation in writing the statement instead of leaving whoever reads the statement with more questions than answers. From defining the deliverables, what procedures to push through, down to what is in and out of the project scope, finalize your strategic plan. Bear in mind that a flawed plan hardly leads you to the desired outcome. So write what and how to do everything similar to how we gave you the steps in making the SOW.

Step 3: Incorporate a Context to the Whole Work

Input some context to the whole plan by explaining the reason or purpose of why you are doing it. A clear purpose will benefit the work statement a lot so that everyone who follows it rigidly would know that there is a desired direction on where everything ends up. Yes, there are plenty of decisions and information in a work statement but everything will be worth it when processing it guarantees success in the end.

Step 4: Keep It Simple and Specific

Everything gets clearer and more concise by ensuring you just observe simplicity from start to finish of your document. Write in words that can simply be understood and that everything is specified. That way, misinformation and misinterpretation would be avoided. For example, specify the project’s boundaries and lay out the rules and assumptions directly. People would have similar expectations if everyone understood the statement mutually, and that is what your SOW should aim for. Rest assured, a short and simple work statement can be processed much quicker than something more complicated. And finally, don’t forget to share all the details with everyone involved so everybody is mutually aware of the SOW.


What is the difference between a work statement and a job statement?

Work statements define all the work involved in a specific project. But sometimes it can be mixed up with a job statement, which is commonly mentioned in a job posting or vacancy. Don’t interchange the two statements because job statements are more concerned with job-related data, specifically the parameters and information that an employer wants to remind new workers about their specific job, income, employment policies, termination conditions, etc.

What is the quickest approach to start off a work statement?

If you are in a hurry, then the quickest way to begin a work statement is by identifying why you chose that work or project in the first place. Explain why and break it down into one or two sentences only. In making that right from the start, you will slowly get the idea of how to proceed with your statement.

Who is the target audience of a work statement?

The work statement’s target audience depends on what is written in the contract or statement. But generally, work statements concern clients, buyers, government agencies, contractors, vendors, and other stakeholders.

A work statement is, no doubt, one of the best tools to provide a narrative description of any project requirement. The same goes for defining the activities, timelines, and deliverables appropriately. Although there are many different styles and formats for SOW documents, rest assured, you can have the best examples that fit professional standards from our collection of sample work statement templates. Outline the whole work of a project in just a few steps by downloading now!