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Writing Contracts and Statements of Work for Projects


When needed, well-written or poorly-written contracts and statements of work can make the difference between project success and project failure.


Experienced project managers know that poorly written contracts and SOWs can lead to misunderstandings, communications breakdowns, disputes, rework, delayed project completion, and added expense.

In this course, individuals will work together in teams to actually write portions of a typical SOW that can be used back on the job. At the end of the course, you will come away with a SOW template and techniques for writing good SOWs, including boilerplate for standard project management deliverables.

Earn professional development units needed for accreditation by PMI and continuing education units by attending this class.

Course Description

This 1-day course teaches the fundamentals of contracts, and more specifically how to write a good statement of work for project-type work. It will give you practical solutions to writing SOWs, including best practices for making SOWs and the work breakdown structure (WBS) correlate with each other.

This practical, hands-on approach to writing contracts and SOWs is designed to complement the information in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), 2000 Edition, published by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The result will be the ability to write statements of work that will successfully meet your project planning, management, and execution needs, while also meeting the needs of the financial accounting and legal sides of the organization.

This course will also help you understand how to successfully deal with difficult problems faced when writing contracts, such as iterative and incremental development, and dealing with unknowns. It will show you effective ways to manage change while introducing strategies to help manage cash flow and support successful contract management. Learn why writing good contracts and statements of work is a key skill successful project managers need to master.

Course Objectives

  • Understand contracting fundamentals, the basic components of a contract, and their purposes.
  • Know the 7 standard contract types and how to select the 'right' contracting model to effectively manage overall risk and pricing strategies in your organization
  • Be able to create alignment between the contract, the SOW, the work breakdown structure, and financial and performance reporting
  • Be able to write a concise, effective SOW
  • Learn strategies for dealing with the 8 common problems associated with writing and managing contracts and SOWs
  • Know the successful techniques for managing the contract, working with clients to gain approval of deliverables, interfacing with the accounting department to facilitate the invoicing and payment process, and moving the contract to formal closeout
  • Change Management Process Learn the best practices related to dealing with issues on scope, budget, schedule, and gaining necessary approvals. Learn how change orders impact financial and performance reporting in your projects

Benefits to Your Company

  • Fewer misunderstandings and communications breakdowns
  • Less rework resulting from misunderstandings
  • Avoid cost and schedule overruns
  • Write SOWs more efficiently and easily
  • Satisfy the needs of the project management, accounting, and legal stakeholders
  • Be able to better plan, manage and successfully execute the contract
  • Better manage deliverables and scope, contain cost, and meet quality standards
  • Better manage the change order process
  • Reduce financial risk

Course Outline

  1. Basic Principles
          Contract defined
          Offer and acceptance
          Elements of a contract
          Contract classifications
  2. Seven common types of contracts
          7 contract types
          Managing risk
          Picking the contract type that's right for you
  3. The contracting life cycle
          Planning purchases and acquisitions
          Planning the contracting strategy
          Requesting seller responses
          Selecting a seller
          Contracting Administration
          Contract Closure
  4. Roles and responsibilities of those involved in the contracting process
  5. Writing a statement of work
          8 problems associated with writing and managing contracts/SOWs, and how to solve them
          Understanding the 5 components needed to define a deliverable
          LAB: Write a deliverable specification
          Correlating the work breakdown structure with contract deliverables
          Writing deliverables for project management activities/services
          LAB: Write a deliverable specifications for project management services/outcomes
          Dealing with difficult problems, such as iterative and incremental development
          Dealing with unknowns
  6. Managing contracts and statements of work
          Managing situations where the buyer and seller must work together
          Techniques for managing cash flow
          Scope management
          Managing contract revisions
          Relating cash flow to earned value analysis
  7. Contract closeout

Who Should Attend
Project managers, program managers, proposal & contracting personnel, business owners, contract administrators, and those needing to know how to effectively write and/or manage contracts and statements of work.

Course Information
Instructor: Course will be taught by a senior project manager who is accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI) as a PMP (Project Management Professional).
Course fee: See Pricing, Packages, and Discounts for more information.
Course Includes: Course handouts. CD containing statement of work template, work order and change order, contract closeout checklist.

For more information, contact Spectrum Consulting Group, LLC at:
503.780.4758, or

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