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Statement of Work vs. Work Breakdown Schedule

written by: Lucinda Watrous • edited by: Marlene Gundlach • updated: 4/21/2013

Want to find out what the deal is with the Statement of Work and the Work Breakdown Structure? While it's true that both are important to Project Management, there are specific reasons for both documents. Take a look at this to find out about each one so you can decide which one is best for you.

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    Statement of Work

    A Statement of Work, also known as SOW is a simple narrative statement of all the work needing to be completed on a project. Using concise and clear terminology, the statement of work discusses the services required in order to complete the project, the deliverables throughout the course of the project, and defines the tasks that need to be accomplished.

    Information in a Statement of Work is presented in an outline format and includes:

    • Project Scope: Information on the project in terms of what it is supposed to be, who it is for, etc.
    • Title: The name the project is to be referred as.
    • Introduction: Brief Description of the services required to complete the project.
    • Estimate Value: The estimated total cost of the project.
    • Objectives: What the project aims to accomplish when it is complete.
    • Background: Lets everyone know what happened to cause need for the project.
    • Requirements: What will be needed in order to complete the project:
    • Tasks and Deliverables (Work Breakdown Structure): A small chart of everything that needs to be done and the deliverables expected.
    • Project Specifications: Specifics regarding how the project is to be completed.
    • Technical Organization: Information on the technical requirements and organization of where the project will be completed.
    • Method and Source of Acceptance: How the project deliverables and deadlines will be approved.
    • Reporting Requirements: Requirements of the project status in reporting to the client.
    • Project Management Control Policy: Discusses how the project will be handled in terms of meetings, demos, and prototypes.
    • Change Management Control Policy: Discusses how changes will be handled.
    • Copyright Information: Information regarding who the copyright of the project will belong to when it is complete.
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    Work Breakdown Structure

    The Work Breakdown Structure, also known as the WBS, is a task by task breakdown with a time estimate to completion for the entire project. It is included in the Statement of Work, and serves as the basis for most of the project Gantt Chart. For more information on the WBS, consider reading some of these Bright Hub articles:

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    Both Are Integral

    As the Work Breakdown Structure is included in the Statement of Work, both of these documents are integral parts of Project Management. With each of the documents thoroughly completed, you will have a plan of action completely sorted out, and a well planned project is a large component of the project success.


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