You can draft the best, most protective contract in the world, but if the statement of work (SOW) fails to adequately describe the deliverables and the services to be rendered, the project can fail, cost overruns can result, and project schedules not achieved.\u00a0 It is amazing how much time and effort goes into drafting an appropriate agreement for an engagement, but so little time spent on the key business documents, particularly the SOW.\u00a0 The SOW is the roadmap for the engagement.\u00a0 The parties should take appropriate care in ensuring it accurately reflects the specific tasks and obligations each party will have during the course of performance.\u00a0 Because so few SOWs are drafted properly, I thought it would be useful in this and the following entries in my blog to provide a checklist of key SOW elements.This week, we will talk about the scope of work and business requirements.\u00a0 In drafting the SOW the following should be kept in mind: Detailed explanation of each party\u2019s tasks and obligations.\u00a0 This explanation should be written such that someone unrelated to the project who is familiar generally with technology could understand the services and deliverables to be provided by the contractor.\u00a0 Avoid excess use of jargon and our terms, unless such terms are clearly defined in the Statement of Work. Include a project plan with a clear project schedule.\u00a0 All dates must be able to be readily calculated.\u00a0 Avoid referring to dates as \u201cestimates.\u201d\u00a0 Avoid calculation of all dates from the \u201cbeginning of the project,\u201d without the date of that being clearly defined. \u00a0Include functional and technical specifications\u00a0 \u00a0 Remove or limit extensive lists of contingencies on the contractor\u2019s performance.\u00a0 Carefully review and limit any contractor \u201cassumptions\u201d in the SOW. The vast majority of contingencies are very general in nature and would create a substantial \u201cout\u201d for the contractor or, at least, provide the means for the contractor to charge additional fees. Avoid references to an associated proposal.\u00a0 Proposals may contain legal terms that could conflict with the negotiated agreement.\u00a0 If content in the proposal is relevant, it should be directly incorporated into the SOW.\u00a0\u00a0 Remove language that would allow the SOW to override or conflict with the underlying agreement.\u00a0\u00a0 Ensure the language in the SOW conforms to the underlying agreement.\u00a0 This means making sure defined terms used in the agreement are also used in the Statement of Work.