25.8 VITA recommendations for a successful IT contract

25.8.17 The IT statement of work

A strong statement of work (SOW) should define precisely, clearly and completely all the obligations of the parties with respect to the IT effort to be performed. The SOW details what the supplier agrees to do, what the agency agrees to do, the instructions to the supplier and the technical, functional and performance and reporting requirements and specifications of the contract. All SOWs must be in writing and agreed to before any work begins. The SOW should be an exhibit to the contract. The SOW should be sufficiently detailed so that a person who is unfamiliar with the contract will be able to clearly see everything that is included and what is not. Please refer to manual Chapter 21, Performance-based Contracting, SOWs and SLAs and Chapter 12, SOWs for IT Procurements for more in-depth discussion and details on creating effective and complete SOWs. Chapter 12 also includes a link to a SOW template and Change Order template. A strong SOW should include the following elements, as applicable to the procurement:

  • A detailed statement of the purpose, objective or goals to be undertaken by the supplier.
  • Limitations of the services being provided.
  • An identification of all significant material to be developed by supplier and delivered to the agency.
  • Project reporting requirements (i.e., project status, sales status, monthly/quarterly, service level/performance). SWaM and IFA sales reporting do not need to be included in the SOW if they are elsewhere in the contract document.
  • List of all deliverables with due dates and submission requirements.
  • Estimated time schedule and/or milestones for the provision of products/services by the supplier.
  • If not a performance-based contract, include the methodology for how the products/services will be provided.
  • Travel and meeting attendance requirements.
  • Testing requirements.
  • Completion/acceptance criteria for the work to be performed.
  • Maintenance that will be provided.
  • Support that will be provided.
  • Service level requirements.
  • Name/Identification of supplier personnel to be assigned, if specific personnel are key to the engagement. (Some may also require job classification or skill level of the personnel to be made available by the supplier.)
  • Supplier work hours required to accomplish the purpose and goals.
  • Invoice procedures, if not in the contract document.
  • Supplier's total cost if not included in the contract's pricing schedule (perhaps in a new purchase order situation). Scope of work must have breakdown of costs, including billing rates. Divide the supplier services into billable tasks or billable units such as price list of equipment or supplies or a list of hourly rates for services.
  • Safety, data privacy and return, confidentiality, audit and liability requirements, if not in the contract.
  • List of required specifications and any supplier professional certifications or licenses.
  • Place of performance (agency onsite, supplier location, other)
  • Special work hours, if any.
  • The agency's responsibilities, such as facilities, equipment for supplier performance and information, data, documentation to facilitate the supplier's performance.
  • Any special security requirements; i.e., transmittal of data, government facility access, etc.