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Statements of Work Done Right

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In Statements of Work (SOWs) we spend a lot of money while many products and services are bought. Oftentimes SOWs fail, causing delays, financial loss and other damages. Some SOWs written by a customer can be so unclear that acceptance testing is almost impossible. SOWs that are written by a vendor are often riddled with fuzzy words that shift all the risk to the customer. Additionally, vendors will use SOWs to modify key terms of a Master Agreement that inevitably put the customer at an increased disadvantage. Even customers with the best templates and negotiated SOWs still get burned by skilled vendors adept at managing the engagement and in turn, bypassing any written protections.

This highly interactive SOW workshop uses classroom discussion and group exercises to develop and improve skills in the following areas:

  • Best-practice elements of great SOWs
  • Getting input from stakeholders for SOW requirements
  • Preventing vendors from using SOWs to modify master agreements
  • Revising vendor-written fuzzy wording that might shift risk to the customer
  • Licensing principles that maximize protections and money savings for customers
  • Drafting SOW acceptance tests so customers get what they pay for
  • Countering practices used by vendors to defeat customer protections in SOWs

Attendees will also come away with sample templates and checklists providing a solid foundation for negotiating, drafting and managing SOWs.

Workshop Outline

  • Barriers to good SOWs
    • Why some SOWs fail
    • What makes a great SOW
  • Defining what’s in scope and out
    • Why customer stakeholders are often unclear
    • Achieving proper input and alignment from stakeholders
    • How vendors use scope creep
    • Principles to prevent scope creep
  • Scope vs. terms and conditions
    • How vendors can use SOWs to modify master agreements
    • Allocating content: SOWs vs. master agreements
    • How they are connected
    • How they are different
    • What content goes where?
    • What applies to both and why?
  • Drafting technical requirements
    • What harm can a vendor-written SOW do?
    • Art vs. science of drafting SOWs
    • The role of templates
    • The role of vendors in drafting SOWs
    • Roles for customer stakeholders
  • Licensing and maintenance in SOWs
    • How vendors use licensing principles to control SOW outcomes
    • Recognizing how SOWs with licenses differ from other SOWs
    • What licensing principles in SOWs can save money
    • How can licensing principles help maximize customer protections?
  • Acceptance criteria, milestones, and deliverables for technology buys
    • Acceptance clauses that don’t work
    • Elements needed for acceptance
    • How milestones can steal your leverage
    • Using milestones to maximize customer success
  • SOW management
    • How vendors defeat good SOWs
    • How customers mismanage their way to failure
    • Elements of successful SOW management
  • Keys to successful SOWs
    • 10 Do’s and Don’ts for great SOWs

Click here for a print friendly course outline