The scope of work is an element within that statement which more narrowly defines what work is to be done by the employees or contractor.
Think of it like the difference between retinol and vitamin A. Technically, they’re different compounds, but they’re used interchangeably because consumed vitamin A becomes retinol in the body. The scope is consumed within the statement and becomes one and the same.
The SOW as a whole is a planning tool that allows project managers to develop performance-based work relationships with vendors because all aspects of performance and subsequent assessment are laid out upfront.
It can be a standalone process OR written in conjunction with an RFP, or request for proposal, asking the freelancer to respond with a proposal.
What is a Statement of Work Used for?
So, to be more detailed, a statement of work is used by project managers to give a wide description of all the work that needs to be done. They list off all the key expectations, so contractors know what’s expected of them. It’s almost like giving an artist a blank canvas - they need directions to know what to do and how to do it. Without any, you wouldn’t get the picture that you desired. The same goes for a statement of work; with it, the project is effectively a guessing game for the contractor.
Statement of work and scope of work, both commonly abbreviated as SOW, are often confused, interchanged terms. And, as straightforward as each sound, they’re often anything but easy to write. Make it too vague and broad and it leaves room for interpretation error; make it too convoluted with detail and it leaves room for the reader to get confused and distracted. Either case can lead to fiscal, safety, efficiency, and legal woes, especially when freelance workers are involved.