The PMBOK(Project Management Body of Knowledge) reminds us, projects are temporary with a definite start and a definite end; they do not go on forever. This means that the realization of a project should be based on the achievable boundaries set forth prior to a project kick-off.
For starters, the product and project deliverables must be clearly defined, as eventually this basic framework will forge the Project Charter for the project team’s scope definition and guidance. The question should be asked: WDDLL? (What Does Done Look Like?).
Next, all internal and external influences should be evaluated. It is important to make sure that all key stakeholders are considered and what role of influence and involvement they offer. This assures that there is an awareness and agreement on why the project is needed along with the return of investment each stakeholder is particularly interested in.
After successfully collecting all these specific project characteristics, a statement of work (SOW) can finally be delivered, either internally within an organization or externally, such as to a customer or supplier and/or contractor. This SOW document can also be commonly known as a request for proposal (RFP) or request for quote (RFQ). The SOW essentially is a comprehensive document that fully captures the project requirements, such as:
- Schedule milestones
- Quality expectations
- Type of work to be performed
- Budget allowance and/or cost targets
- Regulatory compliance
- Custom specific tasks related to the project
As the project’s governing document, a SOW summons the response for a scope of work, where a proposal is generally created in response to the SOW. This process involves the activity where both parties enter into an agreement on the project objectives that will be carried out and executed. If the SOW has been thoroughly crafted, the scope of work should be fairly easy to comprehend and without the gaps from ambiguous statements and undefined criteria, allowing for the ability to formally address the SOW.
Related: Avoiding the Trap of Scope Creep