Consulting Best Practices

Consulting Basics: Tips for Using a SOW

The statement of work (SOW) is a fundamental document that details what consultants propose to accomplish on a new project or project phase. It explains to clients and sells clients on why these consultants are the right people for the job. A post at Consultants Mind shares some advice on how to create the most effective statement of work.

Sell the Work

It is recommended to use a common structure with SOWs that does not throw too many surprises at the client. The post suggests something as straightforward as “introduction, background, objective, approach, scope of services, milestones, references, resources, assumptions, fees, [and] conclusion.” In this way, it answers all the major what, who, and how questions on the project. Try to include just enough detail so that clients and consulting teams both understand the scope of work being proposed. Likewise, consider how you can work graphs and other visuals into the SOW; you might find that old PowerPoint slides conveniently fit the bill for inclusion.

The tone with which you write the SOW—very rigid and professional or more breezy—may depend on the type of project, but use discretion regardless. A couple drops of personality probably will not hurt. However, it is common for an SOW to be worked on by multiple people and then get stitched together at the end. This can create risks of duplication and contrasting font styles, in addition to conflicting writing styles that make it obvious more than one person put it together. If multiple people must write the SOW, make it someone’s job to go back through the complete document and unify the pieces.

One more tip regards how to succinctly demonstrate expertise in the SOW:

In all proposals and SOWs, there is a little bit of mandatory show-boating at the beginning. Examples of where you have done the work before, how your provocative point of view differs from the mass-market, and the reasons they should hire you. As a good marketer = your job is to make it easy to understand, and more importantly, easy to buy. Remember, simplify your arguments.

The SOW makes work happen, if you are lucky, so it is important to value it. For even more tips, you can view the original post here: http://www.consultantsmind.com/2016/09/17/sow/

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