For anyone considering an outsourcing project, I would suggest that the creation of a Statement of Work should be one of your first steps. It is essential to invest time in creating the SOW as it is the foundation for the outsourcing project.
The SOW describes the requirements of the work. It is analogous to a job description, as if you were going to hire someone to do the work. The SOW clearly defines the work to be performed, expected tasks, how the tasks should be performed, and how the work fits into the overall business strategy. It should specify milestones/timeframes, expected results, and specific criteria for measuring performance. As Stephen Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind”.
At times the SOW is not given proper attention, which is unfortunate considering its importance and ease of creation. Below are some important components of a SOW:
- Scope of the project – a comprehensive, detailed description of the work along with background information on how the work fits in the big picture of the organization.
- Details of the work assignment – provide details on how the work will be performed. Includes specifications, requirements, standards and workflow. Quality control processes and measures are included plus all items that materially affect the work to be done.
- Service Level Agreement (SLA) – the SLA must be specific, measurable and must include the most important indicators of success.
- Roles and Responsibilities – must be defined for both the vendor and client. This step is essential to holding both parties accountable.
As a final check, be sure that the SOW is comprehensive, clear, and detailed but as concise as possible.
Bottom line, we highly recommend that you invest some effort in the Statement of Work. It is time you will spend and will make the remainder of your outsourcing journey much easier.