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How to write an effective scope of work?

(5 min)
Peter Shubenok
Managing Director

Step-by-step Instruction: Scope Of Work For An Outsourcing Company

No matter the size of the company you have, one issue comes to mind when cooperating with an outsourcing provider. That is creating a precise project plan. As a result, both sides lose their most valuable resources like money and time, while becoming frustrated. Often the reason lies in the simple things – both parties don’t understand each other because they perceive the information in different ways.

To resolve this issue effectively, a well-developed scope of work (SoW) should be conducted.

This means that whenever the company enters into a contract with the outsourcing company, an agreement on the terms of reference will help to clearly determine what both sides can expect from future cooperation.


What is SoW?

Scope of Work (SoW) is a clear and thorough contract signed between the companies, which defines the division and the exact type of work that will be provided under the formal agreement for desired services. The contract also includes specific tasks together with deadlines and other requirements.

The agreement records the project requirements, responsible people, and obligations that are expected to be provided by both parties during the project activities. Furthermore, the document assists the companies in avoiding ambiguities which can lead to disputes on both sides.


Tips to write an efficient scope of work 

Your scope document template should be understandable and precise. Then, try to accurately determine the scope of needed services and adequately assess the capabilities of both the outsourcing team and the project, in general, before signing an agreement. Once you do this, you can develop a contract and ensure you maximize the mutual benefit.

Now, let’s look at the main points needed to make up the scope of work:

Complete a brief statement that could describe all the business needs and provide a short description of the services you intend to use.

Make an analysis of your company’s goals. Then, you need to create a good competitive proposal of your business, while analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of the competitor’s firms. Also, do not forget to select the priorities. Consequently, you will be able to bring this important information to your IT partner and discuss the vision together with the team.

As a customer try to describe the desired results or outputs as clearly as possible. Ask your outsourcing partner to describe each functionality and process thoroughly, even if it involves a lot of time and resources. Then, you will be able to make a complete and understandable list of services or work to be done. We all know of those cases where the service is provided, and the functionality works perfectly, but the goal is not achieved.

Start with defining the governance structure and then, give an outline of the project management procedures. Furthermore, you should sync with the outsourcing team in order to assess their capabilities.

If it is possible, give examples to better illustrate your idea or desired effect. It will give a better understanding and improve communication. Share some pre-prepared ideas, which may be helpful for an IT outsourcing team to assess the project and make its own assumptions.

Try to set realistic deadlines for each part of the project while taking into consideration the number of team members, their competitiveness, workload, amount of tasks, capacity, and everything that you have to use during the project. At this point, your IT partner will help you, as they are able to provide all the necessary information about the available team for your project.

From that point, the project cost goes for developing the application, resource expenses, overheads, pricing assumptions based on fixed-prices or time and materials project, payment terms, and schedule.

Mentioning the warranty terms, the maintenance agreement, the service levels, and other conditions will facilitate the security level of the contract.

Set the list of final outcomes that are expected to be presented by the IT outsourcing vendor to fit the company’s goals at the end of the project.


Scope of work vs statement of work 

Companies tend to get confused about these two quite similar combinations of words. However, they are absolutely different in terms of meaning.

The statement of work is a more general legal document that defines the goals and objectives of the project while also including the detailed scope of work.

The scope of work provides particular details such as lists of tools, resources, deadlines, examples, and purposes.



To summarize, the scope of work documents lays the foundation for a future successful project. Each paragraph of this document requires careful attention, however, do not forget to keep the facts and the most important information understandable. The language to describe your scope of work will present your organizational values and professionalism.

Ensure that the scope of work complies with all the above-mentioned points review this instruction.


Peter Shubenok
Peter Shubenok
Managing Director
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