DoD Handbook for Preparation of Statement of Work (SoW)

Keywords DoD handbook preparation of statement of work SOW statement of work

3.1 Purpose

The SOW should specify in clear, understandable terms the work to be done in developing or producing the goods to be delivered or services to be performed by a contractor. Preparation of an effective SOW requires both an understanding of the goods or services that are needed to satisfy a particular requirement and an ability to define what is required in specific, performance-based, quantitative terms. A SOW prepared in explicit terms will enable offerors to clearly understand the government's needs. This facilitates the preparation of responsive proposals and delivery of the required goods or services. A well-written SOW also aids the Government in conduct of the source selection and contract administration after award. A Data Requirements Review Board (DRRB) may review each SOW to ensure compliance with the policy, guidance and procedures contained in this handbook (see DoD 5010.12-M for requirements for conducting the DRRB). The SOW is aligned with the acquisition milestones and phases discussed in detail in Section 4.

3.2 Relationship between Statement Of Work and Specification

The SOW defines (either directly or by reference to other documents) all work (non-specification) performance requirements for contractor effort. Qualitative and quantitative design and performance requirements are contained in specifications developed according to MIL-STD-961. Such specifications are typically referenced in the SOW, but the specific qualitative or quantitative technical requirements should not be spelled out in the SOW. For example, the referenced specification may cite reliability and maintainability requirements in terms of quantifiable mean-time-between failures (MTBF) and mean-time-to-repair (MTTR); the SOW should task the contractor to establish, implement and control a reliability and maintainability program.

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1. This handbook is approved for use by all Departments and Agencies of the Department of Defense.
2. This handbook is for guidance only and cannot be cited as a requirement in any DoD contract. Contractors may, at their option, utilize this document for guidance in preparing responses to Government requests for proposals.
3. This handbook provides guidance to enable personnel to create a completed contract Statement Of Work (SOW) applicable to any material acquisition life-cycle phase. It also covers the SOW preparation for non-personal services contracts.
4. Modern weapon systems have traditionally contained many more specifications and greater detailed SOWs than those of the past. Contrast the Army Signal Corps SOW for the Wright Brothers' heavier-than-air flying machine in 1908 to the Air Force SOW for the Advanced Tactical Fighter in 1986. Requirements in the 1908 SOW (e.g., be easily taken apart for transport in Army wagons and be capable of being reassembled for operation in an hour, carry 350 pounds for 125 miles, and maintain 40 miles per hours in still air) and other contract conditions were specified on one page. The requirements section in the 1986 SOW for the Air Force Advanced Tactical Fighter is 85 pages long with 300 paragraphs of requirements. Today's SOWs are much more complex requiring greater attention to detail.

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