Align Project Expectations with Free Statement of Work Templates

Smartsheet Contributor Kate Eby

August 28, 2018

A statement of work (SOW) is a document that describes the terms and objectives of a project or service contract, including the scope of work required to meet the objectives, costs, deliverables, timeliness, and other expectations. In this article, we’ve rounded up the top SOW and project scope templates in Microsoft Word and Excel formats, all of which are fully customizable and free to download.

Consulting Statement of Work Template


Consulting Statement of Work

If you are a consultant or are providing professional services as a contractor, you may need to supply clients with a statement of work that can serve as both a proposal and binding contract. In addition to outlining the work to be completed, a consulting SOW template may include terms and conditions for expenses and payment, project dates, legal considerations such as confidentiality, and other requirements. You can offer clients an overview of total costs and project scope, along with more detailed information on deliverables and assumptions. Additionally, you must attain final authorization of the SOW before starting the planned consulting services.

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Project Management Statement of Work Template


Project Management Statement of Work

In project management, a statement of work can be a vital tool for clarifying and communicating a project to outside vendors or contractors who are contributing their services. A mutual understanding among all parties of what tasks and deliverables are expected and when, as well as budget, equipment, and any other pertinent information, will help ensure a successful outcome and prevent future disputes. If you need to make changes to the scope of work during a project, the statement of work can also describe the process for handling changes to help adjustments go smoothly. Depending on the complexity of your project and your business needs, you can edit or add sections to this statement of work template.


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Statement of Work Outline Template


Statement of Work Outline Template

Use this statement of work outline if you need a thorough SOW document in Word format or if you need a simple guide for creating your own customized SOW. Sections include introductory information, scope of work, tasks, scheduling, and payment terms, and preformatted tables, so the template is easy for you to use and to highlight important details. Consider inserting bullet points in the template sections that don’t have tables to break up the text and create a more readable document. This template could be suitable not only for a project, but also for a particular role or job.


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Project Scope Template


Scope Of Work Template

Use this scope of work template as part of a broad statement detailing the job or as a standalone document, such as an SOW agreement. The template sports a simple format and provides sections to add information about deliverables, tasks, and scheduling, along with other project scope details. Use precise language in this document to help ensure mutual understanding and prevent future issues. You can edit this template for any industry-specific projects, such as business, construction, architecture, or audits, and scale it for any size or project, large or small.

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Simple Statement of Work Template


Simple Statement of Work Template

This simple statement of work template provides the basic information in an easy-to-read layout. You can customize this template to create a more in-depth SOW, but the format gives you a straightforward starting point. Even small projects can benefit from an SOW that clearly outlines work and requirements, and this template may be appropriate for projects requiring brief documentation.


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Project Charter Template

Project Charter Template

A project charter is a high-level overview of project requirements, deliverables, and responsibilities. This project charter template, available in both Excel and Word, provides space for general project information, project goals and objectives, scope and schedule, costs, benefits, intended audience (customers), risks, constraints, and assumptions. Consider creating a project charter to synthesize all the preliminary documentation of your upcoming project, and add or remove sections to fit your needs.

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Project Review Report


Project Review Template

Learning from past successes and challenges can help your projects improve over time. This Excel template offers a space for team members to give feedback on a project once it has been completed: They can leave comments on project successes, failures, challenges, frustrating and gratifying aspects, and opportunities for growth, as well as rate the project overall. The template comes with sample prompts, but you can edit them to fit your project. Additionally, a second worksheet is included for project managers or team leaders to synthesize the information from the response form into a project review report and use it to improve their future endeavors.

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Project Scope Statement


Project Scope Statement Template

This straightforward template in Word provides an in-depth outline for you to create a project scope statement. In the included sections, you can describe project deliverables, key project tasks and/or a work breakdown structure, out-of-scope responsibilities, project assumptions, constraints, cost estimates, and stakeholder approval. Follow all the steps in this template and you’ll create a detailed, comprehensive project scope statement to hold all relevant parties accountable.  

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Product Scope Statement Template


Product Scope Template

This template is very similar to the project scope statement above, but it is designed with products in mind. A product scope differs from a project scope in that it identifies the requirements of a forthcoming product, rather than of a process-oriented project. Therefore, this template includes space for detailing product features and functionality, rather than tasks.

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IT Statement of Work Template


IT Statement of Work

This statement of work template focuses on the scope of work and logistics for IT projects. There is room to include a high-level summary of the project’s purpose and history, information on the team members and stakeholders involved in the project, resources and itemized costs, security issues, and more. You can specify software requirements, describe any training that might be required, identify which teams are responsible for which operations, and define expectations for deliverables. A comprehensive IT statement of work can help your project run smoothly and ensure that objectives, budget needs, and safety issues are addressed.

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Software Project Statement of Work


Software Project Statement of Work

Use this template to detail the scope of a software project. There is space to provide information on project background, team, and resource and budget requirements, as well as to list deliverables, milestones, and a project timeline. In addition, include notes about risks, responsibilities, and support plans (i.e., communications, quality management, and training). Of course, you can customize the template to sections to detail implementation or delivery, if necessary.

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Web Design Statement of Work Template


Web Design Statement of Work Template

Create a web design statement of work with this template. The scope of work for a web design project may include tasks related to design and development, hosting and maintenance, content, and testing. You can include detailed information about site features to be included, a schedule for deliverables, and key assumptions about the project and the completed website. As with any SOW, provide thorough information and specific requirements to help the web designer and client avoid misunderstandings and create a successful final product on budget and on time.

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Project Plan Template


Project Plan and Gantt Chart Template

Once you’ve completed your statement of work, you may want a tool to track your project’s progress through completion. This project plan template provides space for basic information (project name, manager, deliverables, and start and end dates), as well as a table where you can list each task, the responsible party, and status. In addition, the built-in Gantt chart lets you visually track progress of each task and of the project as a whole.

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Project Lifecycle Plan


Project Design Cycle Diagram

This template provides a visual display of your project lifecycle, from initial problem analysis to design, implementation, appraisal, evaluation, and continual monitoring. The template simply offers a graphic of the standard project lifecycle for you to use as a reference when designing your project plan, but you can add notes to each phase or add and delete phases to meet your needs.

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Excel | Word

What Is a Statement of Work (SOW)?

As mentioned earlier, a statement of work (SOW) is a document that lists project expectations, deliverables, budget, and preliminary timeline. You can use an SOW for any type of undertaking, be it business, construction, IT, or creative. The purpose of an SOW is not only to define the scope of a project, but also to document an agreement between a client and a vendor or contractor. In this sense, the statement of work can serve as a legal contract.

An SOW is often included as part of a request for proposal (RFP), which solicits business proposals from potential vendors. In a government setting, an SOW may be replaced with a statement of objectives (SOO), which highlights high-level objectives, or a performance work statement (PWS), which focuses on desired and measurable outcomes rather than the specific tasks and requirements a contractor will need to follow in order to complete a project.

By contrast, a project scope or scope of work contract defines what is expected from vendors, including deliverables, end products, and reports. While you can include the project scope as a section within a statement of work, it can stand on its own as a separate document that represents a formal agreement between a customer and vendor. Details about scheduling and payment terms are also typically included.

Note: In the construction industry, scope of work and statement of work are often interchangeable terms that refer to the detailed project statement provided to a contractor.

A Statement of Work Outline

Regardless of the type of project, a statement of work document will include similar information. Here’s a closer look at some of the typical elements of an SOW outline:

  • Objectives: This introductory section may include general background information about the project and describe why the project is necessary. This provides a high-level picture of the project’s objectives.
  • Scope of Work: The scope of work defines what work is to be done and how, and it may include work requirements, deliverables, and assumptions. It will also include specific tasks, detailed information about what deliverables are expected, and any assumptions related to the project’s scope. It’s important to provide sufficient detail and to communicate assumptions to help ensure mutual understanding between a customer and service provider.
  • Period of Performance: This section can specify the start and end dates for a project, allowable billing hours on a weekly or monthly basis, and any other information pertinent to time.
  • Place of Performance: This information can be included if certain requirements related to the work location or equipment will be used.
  • Deliverables Schedule: This detailed schedule for deliverables, either in table or list format, provides an overview of milestones, tasks, and deadlines.
  • Pricing: This section will cover expenses and payment terms, including a schedule of how and when payments will be made. Remember: A statement of work is not a negotiation tool, but rather a place to document terms that have already been agreed upon, so ensure that all parties are on the same page about pricing and payment before listing them formally in the SOW.
  • Acceptance: There may be a section describing the acceptance criteria for deliverables — how acceptability will be measured and by whom. A statement of work also includes a section for signatures from all relevant parties, such as the customer and the contractor or agency providing the work. This section signifies that everyone involved has agreed to the SOW before moving forward with the work.

A statement of work may also include key assumptions that are not directly related to the scope of work and therefore need to be listed separately, along with any other special requirements that have to be documented, such as security restrictions, travel, or other requirements.

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