When you’re creating or optimizing your statement of work (SOW) program, outlining clear standards is essential. It helps you to understand and document your requirements, ensuring everyone is on the same page and helps you to achieve your program goals.
There are two main types of standards to consider:
- Program standards
- Project standards
Let’s look at each in more detail.
Further reading: ‘Controlling SOW Spend: How to Assess Your Active Projects’
How to Create Program Standards That Achieve Your SOW Goals
Program standards are important to help you determine what you actually want to achieve with the implementation of a SOW program. You can either come up with these on your own as an organization or draw on experience from contingent workforce experts to help you set your goals based on industry best practices. Regardless of who aids in the development of the goals, you should consider the following overarching aspects of SOW management:
1. Approval Requirements
- Who can approve SOW requisitions and engagements for both capital and expense projects
- Determine who can approve overages or scope increases
- Outline your budget levels and purchasing authorities
2. General Workflow Needs
- Outline which projects have to be competitively bid
- Clearly define the sourcing process
- Integrating systems to reduce manual work
3. Payment Terms and Pricing
- Set standards on most used job classes to standardize rates
- If a project has resources, make sure markups align with market standards
You may also like: ‘Temp vs SOW: Why Contingent Workforce Classifications are Essential’
How to Create Project Standards That Achieve Your SOW Goals
Once you have your overarching program standards in place you can define the project standards. These standards are more about the actual creation and design of the service project rather than the strategy behind them. Your projects are the individual assignments that occur within the program.
Think about the following when defining your standards for your projects:
Outline Process Requirements
- Who will put in the SOW?
- Who can approve the requisitions?
- Which user will review the proposals?
- Can the same person engage the project?
- Who can approve the payment to the vendor?
Payment and Scope Definition
- Set expectations of what type of projects are allowed
- Will you allow for time and material projects?
- Are there maximum amounts of resource spend?
- Will timesheets be tracked only or invoiced as well?
- Outline when a payment can be approved and by whom
- What will the payment process be like? Does it sit with your team or with your MSP?