Statement of Work in a Gig Economy

With all the attention on the gig economy I thought it would be a good time to discuss the importance of understanding what a Statement of Work (SOW) is and how you can write an effective one.
A SOW is the foundation for hiring a contingent worker who is going to be paid upon completing a designated project. At its most basic, it defines the scope and context of work to be performed, timelines, deliverables, milestone payments and more importantly, it aligns expectations of all parties. Without this document it would be akin to asking a builder to extend your house and leaving it to them to decide what type of extension you want, what the budget is and how long it would take to complete the project – not the smartest move, I would say.
It is also important not to confuse the SOW with a Position Brief. The key focus for a Position Brief is to present key attributes of a successful candidate who you would want to hire to fulfil a position. This is different from a SOW, which emphasises solely on the outcomes/deliverables. Do note that outcomes/deliverables could be present in a good Position Brief and it is also possible that these can evolve as the job develops.
So let’s take a website developer for example. Some deliverables that should be included in the SOW for hiring a contingent worker to develop your company’s website may include:

  • Undertake discovery and develop a needs assessment;
  • Develop a site map and an outline of the project;
  • Develop wireframes and content outline;
  • Develop the codes for the website;
  • Set up the Google analytics;
  • Conduct user testing, troubleshoot and validate website functions;
  • Develop plans for launching the website.

In addition to these deliverables, the SOW will also set out how the project should be managed and the timeline for completion. These could be:

  • Preparing a weekly report on the project status;
  • Participate in a fortnightly onsite meeting;
  • Meet with key stakeholders and demonstrate the completed website.

It is also important for the SOW to stipulate what resources will be provided by the hiring company to support the contingent worker, as in this case the website developer. They may include:

  • Provision of a dedicated project manager to work with the website developer;
  • Provide subject matter experts to outline their needs and provide content;
  • Arrange weekly progress update meetings with the developer.

Lastly, the SOW needs to define what represents success. As in the above example, it may be gaining a net positive promoter score through every deliverable and an increase of 25 percent of unique visits to the website within a timeframe of three months. Payment milestones should also be attached to the deliverables and be fair to all parties.
[bctt tweet=”Do you know the difference btw a Statement of Work and a Position Description?” username=”ATCevent”]
As you can see there needs to be a fair amount of work and research done when developing the SOW and it will require the buy-in from key stakeholders in the business. It is useful to note that the more confident you are in the SOW, the more likely the project will be a success.
With that in mind, this brings us to the next step where we ask questions on who should:

  1. Be responsible for writing the SOW – will it be the business, recruitment or procurement functions?
  2. Decide where to send the SOW to find the required skills?
  3. Manage the delivery of the SOW?

It is also important to decide how to track the progress of the SOW. Will it be in the Applicant Tracking System or Vendor Management System? I realise that the answers to these questions will be situational-based and it depends on an organisation’s existing structures and its evolving needs.
As such, getting a full understanding of your organisation’s needs and wants before commencing the search of the contingent worker is crucial. This will help to manage the expectations of all parties involved and make sure everyone is on the same page.
And with a growing gig economy on the horizon, I reckon there be no better time than now to start exploring into the intricacies of a SOW and the workings of a Contingent Workforce.
Image: Shutterstock
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