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Effective Steps to Write Statement of Work (SoW) Document in Software Development

Tapan Patel

Jan 28, 2022

8 min readLast Updated Jan 20, 2023

Effective Steps to Write Statement of Work (SoW)

It is inevitable for the companies and clients to be on the same page before beginning any work. Let us imagine a scenario: as a client, you have picked the best outsourcing development company in India. There is no problem with the quality of the team or their work experience. But even in that case, don’t you want to know whether the software development service provider understands your expectation? If the answer is yes, you would require a solid Statement of Work (SoW).

What is a Statement of Work (SoW)?

Statement of Work (SoW) is a project management document that streamlines the work operation between two business organizations. This document clarifies everything related to schedules, work standards, payment method, etc. related to the concerned assignment. Moreover, SoW is a part of a service agreement or a contract.

The purpose of Statement of Work is to resolve ambiguous issues and any misunderstanding between the company and the client. Moreover, since it is an initial step, having a SoW software will help both the involved parties a great deal.

Statement of Work: Its main objective

The main objective of Statement of Work is to enhance cooperation and minimize conflict between the company and the client. The document covers every nuance of the information that covers miscellaneous information such as: software and hardware restrictions, post-project maintenance, penalties for late deliveries, etc.

Although SoW is more of a business document than a legal one, it defines everything related to the level of collaboration with the firm. Therefore, it should be explicit and written in understandable language. This custom software development agreement must have clear facts with very little left to interpret.

Read More: Request for Proposal: How To Write a Sample RFP document for Software Development

How to write a Statement of Work (SoW) software contract?

SOW Checklist | Title: What should a Statement of Work Template contain?

For a productive partnership, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the objectives, deadlines, and responsibilities of the project. In this case, a custom software development company in India will help your cause as it will understand all the requirements in a profound way.

The Statement of Work (SoW) lays the groundwork of the plan. Thus, it must comprise of the following points:

·         Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): WBS is essential as it will have details about how the project will be delivered. In addition, it will provide information about the phase split, the approach taken by the company, etc.

·         Project overview: It will have information about the crux of the project and the expected result

·         Responsibility: Understanding who will be responsible for the entire workflow and final outcome

·         Work requirements: process, tools and the kind of SoW software used, etc.

·         Deliverables: What is the final product that will be delivered

·         Deadlines: list of milestones with time limit during the project development process with the final delivery date

·         Cost: The estimated price of the project development process

A custom software development agreement should contain even the minutest of the details related to the project. It will help in keeping both parties streamlined in their thinking process.

How to write the Statement of Work (SoW) in software development?

SoW(Statement of work) to RFP(Request for proposal)

The Statement of Work (SoW) in a software development arena is written by the outsourcing development company. Hiring a competent outsourcing development company in India will ensure that a quality SoW is promptly given to the client right at the beginning.

Compiling an effective SoW can be quite wide. And it is only possible when the author of the document understands the specificity of the project completely. The sample SoW software development should be comprehensive and contain effective information to boost the business partnership. A comprehensive SoW includes:

·         Author: There can be one or many authors in the Statement of Work (SoW). They can create and draft the document

·         Coordinator: This person is responsible for planning the document’s content

·         Editor: Analyses the SoW document and incorporates the changes to develop the final draft.

·         Reviewer: This person is responsible for reviewing the SoW draft and offers changes that will be included by the editor

·         Final approver: This person signs the final SoW document and then it is good to go

Read more: 7 Tips to Ensure your Business is GDPR-compliant

Different sections included in the Statement of Work (SoW) document

If the SoW is well documented and detailed, there are high chances for the organization to meet the customer requirements. Although the format of the document can vary according to the vendor, the majority of the SoW in software development follow some specific guidelines:


The document begins with listing the things required by the involved parties. The SoW software will indicate the location of data and drafting to avoid any confusion.


This section states what will be the goal of the software development process and what the client wants to accomplish. Stating the purpose upfront will increase the level of collaboration and effectiveness.

Scope of work

Since defining the scope for SoW for software development is a little complex task, it is always advised to have custom software development and consulting. Through consulting, it will be easier to define the outline of the project and divide it efficiently from discovery to development to testing.

Moreover, it is also possible to divide these comprehensive tasks into smaller parts depending on the complexity of the project. Also, it is necessary for the scope of work section to have this information:

·         Expected tasks

·         Budget overview

·         Phases of the tasks

·         Roles and responsibilities of the involved parties

·         All key representatives

·         Conditions about the work process

·         Requirements and certifications for the developers, etc.

Definitive standards

Reading a SoW, one must have a clear understanding on what will be the overall nature of the project. This section will render the information on how the operations will be done during the course of work. It will have details such as:

·         CI/CD pipeline diagram

·         Coding languages and platform limitation of the SoW software

·         Tools used for client communication

·         Procedures for conducting major and minor changes

·         Accepted criterions for devices, testing process, screen resolution

·         Basic industry standards that the software development process must follow

·         Penalties for late deliveries

Geographic location

If you outsource a custom software development company in India, you will get a wide range of talent to choose from. But as the rules and laws of working in any country is different, the SoW must address that. The client must have a clear idea about the working parameters and the time-zones the company will operate. Moreover, if the project requires real-life meetups, the SoW must define the places where the meetings can be held.

Monitoring method

The custom software development agreement must state the deadlines for performance reviews. After this, the software development vendor must stick to the deadlines and provide regular insights and reports. Businesses can also opt for custom software development and consulting to carry out the monitoring process in a fruitful way.

Some of the most popular monitoring applications are Basecamp, Asana, Jira, etc. Moreover, along with this, it is necessary to state all the application management tools in the document.

Details to scheduling

To obtain the desired results, it is necessary to have a streamlined software development process. And for this, it needs a set of schedules and deadlines. It will allow the software developers to work with a clear state of mind and be flexible in their approach as well. A full thought out schedule will keep the project up and running and will leave room for trial and error.

Therefore, for the sake of streamlining the entire process, schedule and deadlines are necessary. Moreover, the SoW must have information about the estimated time taken to develop the project.

Defining the criterions

There must be certain magnitudes to define success and failure in the project. The custom software development agreement must have a complete list of tasks and deliverables. In addition, it must contain the information under which the contract can be terminated.

Moreover, the Statement of Work (SoW) must have everything related to the process of submission. In addition, a detailed explanation of the accepted features will be handy as well.

Mode of Payment

It is necessary for the software development service providers to list their preferred payment terms in detail. In the realm of software development outsourcing, there are two payment models depending on the scope, they are:

Dedicated team

In this model, the team of developers would work on a project of a particular kind. This payment model is appropriate for clients who have a complex projects and an undefined scope of work. This method allows both clients and companies to work according to the requirements, feature replacement, etc. Moreover, the client can easily monitor the progress of the project and manage the engineering team.

Fixed price model

This model is best suited for clients who are fully aware of their scope of work. It is the best fit for smaller projects as the development service provider takes full responsibility. But this mode will lack flexibility as compared to the dedicated team model.

Add ons

Apart from the above-mentioned things, there can be some other queries or information that might get left out. This information can be project-specific thus becomes important to be included in the SoW. The list of questions might include:

·         Details about the code ownership

·         What will be the security standards and regulations?

·         Size of the team (development and program evaluation)

·         Maintenance and support. Client communication and testing

·         What will be the effort level?

·         Warranties and a liability cap

·         Time required to do the changes if any

Read more: The Importance of a Robust Software Service Requirements Document

What is ‘NOT’ a Statement of Work for software development?

It is always important to know and understand the flip side of any situation and writing an SoW is no different. ‘ What is SoW in software development’ might have many answers such as project charter, the scope of work, contract, etc. But it is necessary to understand the basic difference between each of them. Here is the explanation of what is not a Statement of Work for software development.

Statement of Work (SoW) and Contract

Businesses must understand that Contract is a part of SoW as SoW is an entire document. Thus, one must not confuse it with the full document.

Statement of Work (SoW) vs Scope of work

Like Contract, Scope of Work is also a part of SoW. It focuses on the goals of the software development process and how to achieve them. The entire SoW Is much more than that.

Statement of Work (SoW) vs Project Charter

There is a very thin line of difference between Project Charter and Statement of Work. Project Charter is an internal document while SoW is an external one. SoW has detailed information about the list of expectations from both the client and the vendor whereas the project charter has information from the vendor’s end only. Project Charter is just an overview of the general objective and outcomes. On the other hand, the Statement of Work has detailed information about the schedule, costing, deadlines, etc.

Final thoughts

Statement of Work (SoW) document has all the necessary information about the work at hand. Thus, it is vital in fostering a fruitful partnership between the client and the vendor. Moreover, using a SoW software will streamline the process further as it leaves the very little scope of mistakes to happen. In software development, the SoW is a confirmation of the business goals and results. Thus, it becomes necessary to hire a custom software development company in India like us as we have in-depth experience in rendering best-in-class solutions.

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