The Keys to a Comprehensive Joint Statement of Work

Staffing Master Service Providers like CSSvSource and their clients are leveraging SoWs for clear work agreements and mutual accountability.

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Statements of work are indispensable documents that staffing MSPs and their clients should complete before engaging with candidates and defining hiring goals. An SoW traditionally follows a much more general master service agreement (MSA), a reusable contract adhered to by a client and the staffing MSP tasked with filling roles.  


An MSA outlines overarching principles like general services, warranties, and Indemnification, but cannot get to the granular level of oversight needed on a particular project. This is where SoWs come in.  


What is an SoW and what is its purpose?  


SoWs are legally binding contracts between a client and a hired MSP that outlines what capital, resources, time, and considerations go into a specified project. Even though it is legally binding, SoWs are subject to change upon the mutual agreement of stakeholders if the project scope requires new or varied goals. If it turns out a client needs five more project managers than previously expected, the two parties can flex the SoW as needed. An SoW can be included in a request for proposal (RFP) by a client or as a response to an RFP by an MSP looking to partner with the client to meet a need.  


The primary purpose of an SoW is to serve as an added layer of security for both the MSP and its client. It states exactly what is expected in a specified amount of time for an exact price; all of which are priorly agreed upon by all parties involved.  


Why you should never start a project without an SoW  


“SoWs, from a birds-eye view, establish price, governance, timetables, resource allocation, non-disclosure agreements, and much more that sculpt a project from inception to completion. Without an SoW, every single element mentioned above is ambiguous,” says Andrea Micucio, Managing Director of CSSvSource.

The client may see things one way and the MSP another causing catastrophic miscommunication that sometimes leads to legal proceedings. Agreeing on an SoW cleans up a mess before it happens. If a going rate for a team of data analysts is agreed upon in writing at $50 dollars per hour, the client is not blindsided by multiple resources asking for $60 dollars per hour. In the same vein, the client can’t surprise the MSP by cutting resource wages to $40 dollars per hour.  

The major benefits of implementing a joint SoW  


The benefits of structuring and signing an SoW are irreplaceable and give direction and clarity to all involved. As previously stated, SoWs are pre-approved and legally binding, ensuring that whatever is established for project deliverables is rock solid. Beyond the legal field, SoWs provide full transparency about processes and deadlines to stakeholders, de-silos teams who are not usually in contact, and streamline the overall planning process and pricing structure in a digestible manner.  


Key components to SoWs 


Here is a general list of subsections found in every SoW. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives a solid understanding of the most important components.  


1. Project Background

General notes on overarching goals, context, requirements, and business needs being addressed by said requirements.  


2. Ultimate Purpose and Objectives 

The long-term implications that the project goals and requirements will fulfill, like building out a successful HR team for example. 


3. Governance and Acceptance Criteria 

Who determines project approval both at micro and macro levels as well as the criteria required for a completed stage. 


4. Scope of Work 

Often interchanged with the actual statement of work document, the scope of work more specifically defines what exact work will be done, how that work will be divided up between team members, who are responsible for what deliverables, and usually includes budgeted resource allocation for each sub-team.  


5. Deliverables 

What is being produced; deliverables can be broken down into subsections to track micro deliverables along the project journey.  


6. Timeline 

A calendar of milestones taking the project from inception to completion.  


7. Estimates and Payment 

How and when work will be invoiced including a payment schedule predetermined by milestone checkpoints.  


8. Special Requests

Any unique hardware, software, or resource skillset that will be required to complete the project.  


How to write a bulletproof SoW 


A comprehensive, successful SoW is consistent with terms and includes just the right amount of detail that avoids ambiguity while giving it flex and leeway if necessary. It should read as a technically sound document with coherent terms, stated acronyms, and simple verbiage. Here is a complete list of literary guidelines for writing an SOW.  


  • Keep all sentences and sentence structure concise. 


  • Use the same action words and descriptors consistently.


  • Include a glossary of terms in the background section to explain any niche terms and acronyms.


  • Speaking of niche terms, limit their use as much as possible to avoid confusion.


  • Always spell out an acronym, like “Statement of Work (SoW)” the first time it is mentioned. 


  • Avoid open-ended statements that allow for subjective interpretation. This will cause scope creep and misinterpretation by the client, MSP, or both.


  • Include visuals like tables, charts, or graphs to give readers another method of consumption.  


  • Schedule regular SoW formal reviews with all stakeholders to approve the document through its progressions. 


Partner with CSSvSource for the best MSP staffing experience on the market 


Outsource your hiring needs and partner with CSSvSource to establish your contingent labor pipeline. CSSvSource offers all-inclusive Managed Staffing Programs to align multiple vendors under one system simplifying your recruitment process. Reach out to CSSvSource today to source and staff the best people on the market!   

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