Scope of Work: Definition, Examples, and How-To
Scope of Work: Definition, Examples, and How-To
How to write an effective Scope of Work for any project. Plus, some examples and a template to get you started.
What is a Scope of Work?
A Scope of Work is a document that summarizes project tasks, assignments, and deliverables and is an invaluable tool in project management.
According to the Project Management Institute, one of the top five reasons for project failure is poor planning. In fact, organizations waste about $97 million for every $1 billion invested, due to this poor planning. Ouch.
Producing an effective Scope of Work can guarantee that projects are properly planned and outlined, resulting in less wasted revenue and a higher rate of efficiency.
Read on to find out how to write a Scope of Work, as well as an example of how Collato can write your Scope of Work document for you!
Scope of Work definition
A Scope of Work is an agreement of the work needed for a project. It brings together all the most important elements of your project foundation, including tasks, assignments, and deliverables. They define what needs to be done in order to reach the project goal.
Statement of work vs. Scope of Work
A statement of work (SOW) is an all-encompassing document that lays a foundation for your project. The contents include goals, timelines, schedules, payment agreements, etc. But most importantly, your SOW consists of a Scope of Work.
But, when it comes to the difference between SOW and Scope of Work, there is a debate within the creative industry. Some argue that they’re identical documents, and others allege that they’re interconnected but still different.
We like to think of it like this: a Scope of Work is a section within your statement of work. Your SOW lists out all the criteria to make a project successful and your Scope of Work describes how exactly you’ll accomplish this. For example, if the project goal is to redesign a website, then the Scope of Work might include detailed information on how to create a new sitemap or better map out an ideal user flow.
Regardless of whether an SOW and a Scope of Work are the same or not, we can all agree that they both serve a similar purpose, to fulfill the project goals and objectives!
How to write a Scope of Work
Similar to any product document, every Scope of Work is unique. Let's dive deeper into the elements that should be included in your Scope of Work, with examples. Already want to get started? Ask Collato, and see for yourself how your Scope of Work docs can be written instantly.
It’s no secret that task management is a fundamental part of any project, especially if your project requires cross-departmental collaboration or multiple stakeholders. That’s why you’ll need to include a breakdown of your project goal into smaller and applicable steps, or tasks, in your Scope of Work.
To better understand your project tasks, let’s create a hypothetical situation. Say you’re planning a vacation to Australia (uh, wouldn’t that be nice☀️). What needs to be done?
- Apply for a visa
- Book the flight
- Find an Airbnb
- Rent a car
- Plan your daily excursions
These are the things (tasks) that you need to do in order to go on your trip (goal).
Deliverables are the end-product or service of your tasks. In other words, it is what your client will receive at the end of the project.
Using our last example, if your task is finding an Airbnb, a deliverable would be the booking confirmation. You completed this task, and there is a quantifiable service or product. The completion of your tasks and the accumulation of your deliverables make up a finished creative project.
Your deliverables can also be “stacked,” meaning that one deliverable can have its own deliverables. For instance, if the project goal is to build a website, your deliverables might be a website wireframe and website mockup.
3. Point of Contact
Another helpful element of a Scope of Work is point of contact. Who will complete each task? By including a person for each task and deliverable, everyone knows their role in the project, right from the start. This leaves little room for miscommunication and unfinished assignments.
How to avoid scope creep
Watch out for scope creep, the sneaky way a project transforms from one thing to another. Scope creep is defined as “adding features and functionality without addressing the effects on time, costs, and resources, or without customer approval” (pmi.org). It can be the root cause of wasted money, low customer satisfaction, or unreached project goals.
Scope creep happens for a variety of reasons:
- Unmanaged and undocumented collaboration between clients and team members
- Lack of a solid initial project scope
- Uninvolved stakeholders
- Poorly defined assignments and requirements
- Unattainable or unrealistic tasks and deliverables
- Overall poor communication and collaboration
While project changes are inevitable, there are a few ways to avoid scope creep.
1. Document everything
Keep a track record of your internal and external interactions, whether that’s through a phone call, an email, or a meeting. This may seem obvious, but if a stakeholder requests a change to a design or a feature, then you want to document that in your Scope of Work.
2. Make a schedule
Create a schedule to show any requirements, assignments, or due dates that need to be fulfilled. You can always refer back to this schedule to make sure the project is on its way.
3. Get sign offs
Make sure your Scope of Work (and better yet, your statement of work) is signed off by all participating parties. If you notice a stakeholder asking for something more than what was agreed upon, then you can deny the task or create a new project that incorporates it.
That being said, it’s important to add a section within your Scope of Work called 'out of scope.’ You can add any small assignments or tasks to this section that don’t fit the initial agreement. You can then make a new project or write up a new contact with your client.
Free Scope of Work template
Need a little more structure when writing your Scope of Work? No problem. You can copy & paste the following template into Collato as a prompt (just make sure your work tools are connected first so Collato has enough information to source from to write your document).
"Write a Scope of Work for [project X] using the following template:
Milestones & Timeline
Out of Scope
Scope of Work example
We used Collato to write a Scope of Work for Dots, a fictional social media app. Using our Scope of Work template, we created the following example Scope of Work for the sharing feature on Dots:
The sharing feature will allow users to share content with each other in real time. This will allow users to collaborate on projects, brainstorm ideas, and share knowledge.
The objective of the sharing feature is to improve collaboration and communication between users.
The following resources will be required to develop the sharing feature:
* Engineering resources
* QA resources
* UX/UI designers
* Marketing resources
The following stakeholders will be involved in the development of the sharing feature:
* Product managers
* Engineering managers
* QA managers
* UX/UI designers
* Marketing managers
Milestones & Timeline
The following milestones are planned for the development of the sharing feature:
* Q1 2023: Design and development of the sharing feature
* Q2 2023: Beta testing of the sharing feature
* Q3 2023: General availability of the sharing feature
The following tasks will be required to develop the sharing feature:
* Design the sharing feature
* Develop the sharing feature
* Test the sharing feature
* Market the sharing feature
The following deliverables will be produced as part of the development of the sharing feature:
* Design documentation
* Development documentation
* Test plans
* Marketing materials
Out of Scope
The following features are out of scope for the sharing feature:
* Sharing of sensitive or personal information
* Sharing of files larger than a certain size
* Sharing of files with certain file extensions
The following success criteria will be used to measure the success of the sharing feature:
* Number of users using the sharing feature
* Number of shares per day
* Number of positive reviews of the sharing feature
Of course, a real Scope of Work will be much more comprehensive and will need more specific details. A Scope of Work should include, at the very least:
- Project objectives
- Individual tasks
- Payment information
- Expected outcomes
- Terms, conditions, requirements
AI to write a Scope of Work? Absolutely!
Leveraging AI to create a Scope of Work (SOW) can greatly enhance efficiency and accuracy in project management. By using Collato, you can save time and effort in composing the document, you’re provided a structured framework to include project objectives, schedules, tasks, deliverables, payment details, and more. Collato is a valuable ally in crafting and managing SOWs, enhancing the overall project's efficiency and success.
Here’s how it works:
Collato connects with your work tools like Notion and Google Drive and finds, creates, summarizes, or generates content based only on the files you choose to add. It doesn’t train on the data, so everything you add is secure. To write the perfectly tailored AI-generated Scope of Work, follow these steps:
- Connect your tools: Connect Collato with your work tools like Jira and Confluence.
- Request your document: On the Collato platform or within your Slack workspace, simply prompt Collato to create any product document, including a Scope of Work. Collato will utilize your relevant files to draft the document and even provide source citations.
- Review and finalize: Review the content to ensure it covers everything you require. If anything is missing, request a follow-up, and Collato will incorporate the necessary additions.
- Share with stakeholders: Share the document with stakeholders to clarify project objectives, roles, and responsibilities, fostering transparency and accountability.
- Archiving for reference: Store your completed SoW in Collato for easy reference, summarization, or generating new documents based on it.
Need to write more than just a Scope of Work document? No problem. Collato instantly writes any product document like PRDs, PR/FAQs, and Meeting Minutes, too.
A Scope of Work (SoW) is a pivotal document that concisely outlines project tasks, assignments, and deliverables. It serves as a fundamental tool in project management, providing clarity and mitigating the risk of poor planning that can result in significant financial losses. The SoW encompasses essential project elements, including tasks, assignments, and deliverables, offering a roadmap to achieve project goals and is closely related to a Statement of Work (SOW), sharing the core objective of guiding and fulfilling project objectives.
To create an effective SoW, follow a structured approach that encompasses task definition, deliverable specification, point of contact assignment, and inclusion of critical project details such as schedules, milestones, payment terms, and specific requirements. This comprehensive approach not only guides the project but also minimizes the risk of scope creep, making the SoW an indispensable tool in project management. Leveraging AI tools like Collato can significantly enhance SoW efficiency, as Collato can seamlessly connect with work tools, extract relevant information, and generate tailored SoWs, streamlining the process and contributing to overall project success.