Statement of Work Example

Mar 1, 2023 business

Whether you’re on the side that just landed the big deal - or you’re the business eager to get your project launched - you need to know what a statement of work is. Let’s talk about contracts and statements of work for developers.

You should know that I am not a lawyer. Take this entry as advisory only. Your locale or business situation may require you to work with representation to draft your contract.

What is a Statement of Work

A statement of work, sometimes also referred to as a contract, is really simple: it tells what the project entails from features to timelines and costs. It doesn’t have to be overly complex. In fact, the simpler you make it, the easier it is for both sides to agree and work together.

Let’s talk about what’s in one.

Summary / Executive Summary

The first part should be a quick summary or bullet points that highlight the main parts of the agreement. That should be what the project work entails (like make a website, update an app, etc), the deliverable format, the rate and potentially the timeline.

Details and Responsibilities

Then, try to break down the project into it’s functional parts like design, development, testing, production. In each section, describe what is the responsibility of the business and what is the responsibility of the developer.

This is important. Sometimes a business could think that the developer will write copy and create interfaces for something they’re not familiar with. If this is out of scope, indicate so.

Other times, developers might think they understand the graphical design elements that are needed. Here’s where you can indicate who develops and supplies the assets, and on what timeline.

Timelines and responsibilities are important. It’s hard to reach due dates when you’re working in a group - so be explicit.

Technical Limitations / Scope

Make sure to indicate things that are technical limitations (for example, you won’t be supporting an old browser) and which things are in scope. (For example, you might integrate with Okta for sign in, but individual services like Google and Facebook alone are not supported.)

Publicity and Intellectual Property Rights

Make sure to cover who owns the product and which parts may be used/re-used. In addition, you may want to indicate the client’s agreement to be a featured partner on your portfolio.


Detail the payment methods and the schedule of payments/milestones.

What to Do With a Statement of Work

Like all of parts of a technical project, the statement of work needs to be fluid and flexible. You may not need to change things like milestones and dates, but you’ll need to negotiate in best effort to stay within scope and aligned with your initial agreements. This may change as the project goes on, though.

Consider the statement of work as a guide, not a wholistic bible. That being said, you can always augment the statement of work with written addendums. For example, after a meeting with stakeholders, you should email a follow up summary of what you understand any changes and agreement are. You don’t necessarily need to update the statement of work each time.

The document should be shared with all stakeholders so that everyone is on the same page. Literally! (Document joke)

Can I See an Example

Sure. I’ve created a fictional requirements document for ACME corp that shows the format and some of the content that a statement of work could include. you may edit it as you wish.

The End

A statement of work can be critical for a large project or with new clients. It simply states what work has to be done, by who, for how much, in what manner and when. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but it needs to be detailed.

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