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The inside scoop on scopes of work

21 May 2020

My team and I been working on a few new projects recently. Even for our internal projects, we’ve been writing a scope of work. Not because we're really passionate about project management theory (even though we are 100% those kinda geeks), but because we didn’t do this well enough earlier in our business.

When I look back on our earlier projects I recognise that we were so enthusiastic about getting started, solving problems and creating change for clients, that scoping was a process to get out of the way as soon as possible. Being honest with you, we got away with it. But as the projects we were managing got more complex and we were juggling more of them, the need for precise and concise scoping documentation became clearer.

What is a scope of work then?

The scope of work (let’s call it SoW from now on) typically documents the activities, deliverables, costs and timelines for a project. It’s created in collaboration and communicated to everyone involved in the project. Ideally, the SoW is created before your contract is signed; if not, before the project commences.

In it’s most basic form it should cover the who, what, when, why and how.

If you think you might need to be using SoWs then I'm going to share with you a simplified structure to get you started...


🎯 Project objectives 

AKA the why

What is the problem you are trying to solve? What do you want to achieve with this project?


🏋️ Project team

AKA the who

Who are the stakeholders in this project? Who is responsible for which elements?


🧗 Project schedule

AKA the when

When does the project start and when does it need to be finished by? Are there any milestones in between that you can use to track progress, or ask for payments, by?


🏹 Tasks

AKA the how

How are you going to make this happen? The more detailed the better.


🥅 Deliverables

AKA the what

What is going to be handed over at the end? What does a successful project look like for everyone involved?


🏆 Payment information

AKA the how much

How much is the project going to cost? Who is paying what by when?


🤸 Terms and conditions

AKA all the bits in between

This is where you make clear anything else that is important to this project. This can cover things like confidentiality and data protection, through to expenses policies and cancellation fees.


If you are thinking of working with us in the near future then you can expect a shiny SoW so we’re all on the same page from day one. We’ve learnt that it will save us all time, money and stress over the course of the project.

To chat about your next project then slide into my diary. I work as a consultant and contractor specialing in project management and business operations. And I have an amazing team behind me to help me, and you, get stuff done.