I’ve just come across a poorly written Statement of Work from a vendor, and there are so many red flags that I am mentally awash with exploding poppies in my head.
Absolute clarity in clear, unambiguous language makes for a strong SoW.
Executive summary was a blurb and sales pitch, when in fact it should be a high level briefing of the problem statement, and the recommended solution including any critical items that need to be raised.
It should be able to stand on its own – and a busy exec can scan and quickly decide if they should jump into the details within the body of the document.
Requirements, scope, dependencies, assumptions were all mixed up and mixed in with each other.
The author clearly did not understand what the differences are.
Requirements are what the clients want out of you (the vendor) and you can either place them in-scope or out-of-scope in your SoW for a specific phase depending on agreement with the client.
What you need the client to have in place for the SoW to be valid (such as procuring the correct licenses, providing on-site access or admin authorisation) are actually Client Obligations.
They are not Assumptions.
Assumptions are items that you have no control of, that might impact the SoW significantly.
Examples might be – assuming that the project will not be impacted in any way by any new laws from the Brexit negotiations, or the latest Salesforce release.
Everyone who has to author an SoW – an account executive, a Project Manager from the Consulting Partner, should go on a course led by a lawyer on how to write them well.
The SoW is a contractually binding document.
Yesterday, I felt slightly ill when I saw that document claiming to be a Statement of Work but which felt more like something that an actor playing a lawyer in a bad tv show might throw together.
Just… really really bad.
I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole.