STATEMENT OF WORK IN ACQUISITIONS
Susan M. Anstead
March 1999
 Click Here to E-mail Feedback

The Statement of Work (SOW) is a part of an Acquisitions Requirements Package which tells a contractor what work is required on the contract. According to the Department of Defense, Handbook for Preparation of Statement of Work, "The majority of government contracts include a SOW which forms the basis for successful performance by the contractor and effective administration of the contract by the government."  A well-written SOW enhances the opportunity for all potential contractors to compete equally for Government contracts and serves as the standard for determining if the contractor meets the stated performance requirements.

The Department of Defense further describes the scope of the SOW.  The SOW should clearly describe the work to be done by a contractor.  There must be an understanding of the goods or services that are needed to satisfy a particular requirement and an ability to define what is required in specific terms.  A SOW enables contractors to understand the government's needs, and this facilitates the preparation of responsive proposals and delivery of the required goods or services.  A well-written SOW also aids the Government in conduct of the source selection and contract administration after award.

According to the NASA Guidance For Writing Work Statements, an effort to produce a quality Statement of Work will:

Examples of SOWs vary, with some consisting of only one to two pages, while others are ten pages or more.  In general, the contain the following information:

1.0  DESCRIPTION AND SCOPE

1.1  Summary of Work Requested
1.2  Background
1.3  Key Personnel
1.4  Deliverables
1.5  Expected Benefits
2.0  APPROACH
2.1  Timeline Major Milestones
2.2  Publicity & Communication Plan
2.3  Assignment of Responsibilities
3.0  RESOURCE REQUIREMENTS
3.1  Hardware, software, etc.
3.2  Expected commitments
3.3  Concerns
4.0  RISKS AND CONCERNS
4.1  Project Assumptions
4.2  Constraints
4.3  Contingency Plans
4.4  Project Risks
5.0  ACCEPTANCE CRITERIA
5.1  Expected Results
5.2  Acceptance Testing Approach
5.3  Termination of Project


Statement of Work Examples:

 ATN Scientific Computing
 Large Binocular Telescope Project
 Statement of Work for Joint Interoperability Engineering Organization (JIEO) Systems Engineering (JSE) Contracts

References:

Department of Defense, Handbook for Preparation of Statement of Work (SOW); April 3, 1996; Online, available at  http://lrc3.monmouth.army.mil/cecom/lrc/pie/word/hbk245d.doc

Statement of Work Format, Example Model Text; February 17, 1999; Online, available at  http://www.airtime.co.uk/users/wysywig/sow_mt.htm

CERTAN-ITSS, Preparing the S.O.W.; February 15, 1999; Online, available at  http://www.cit.nih.gov/certan/sow.html

NASA Guidance for Writing Work Statements; December 1997; Online, available at  http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/procurement/newreq1.html