Scope of Work Building Blocks
A well-controlled Scope of Work program is an integral part of a robust framework for planning and communication between client and agency.
Although there is a wide variation in client SOW’s, there are some common building blocks that appear in many programs (though the terminology and order may vary).
- It generally starts with a discussion around the marketing goals and objectives (Outcomes)
- It then moves to defining the set of services, including expectations, roles and responsibilities. This includes any specific initiatives or projects that have been identified. (Scope of Service)
- It describes the concrete deliverables or outputs that are needed to fulfill the outcomes sought (Scope of Work)
- The agency generally responds with the expected resources that will be needed to meet the entire SOW (Resource Plan)
- In conjunction with a Master Service agreement, it specifies a framework for how compensation will take place (e.g. labor, deliverables, commission) and allows the agency to respond with the actual fees (Fee Summary)
Some learnings from other service-based SOW processes (e.g. IT and construction) are to review carefully the assumptions that have been made as well, as the constraints under which the agency will need to work. In terms of constraints this is especially true of budget, and we are all aware of the waste of time that can occur when an SOW is drafted which clearly will not have budget to support it.
One key piece of advice that the Association of National Advertisers recommends in their briefing paper “The Devil is in the Details” is to ensure that it is explicitly noted in the Scope of Service who has responsibility for each element; agency, client or 3rd party. This is increasingly important as multiple agency types collaborate on campaigns, considering the diverse media landscape which we all work in.
Service expectations and timing should also be clearly identified. The priority, projected timelines and expected response levels all affect the agency’s resource load and should be factored into the SOW.