What Is the Difference Between a Project Scope & Statement of Work?

by Eric Dontigney; Updated September 26, 2017

A project scope statement and statement of work serve related and often overlapping functions in project management. Both set expectations and parameters for the project. Project scope, however, typically operates as a high-level description of boundaries, objectives and deliverables. A statement of work provides a detailed breakdown of the project and often serves as a legal document.

Project Scope Statement

The project scope statement sets out the general agreement between stakeholders. In this case, that means those most likely to be affected, or those with vested interests about the purpose and output of a project. It specifies the deliverables, such as a time and attendance software that integrates with QuickBooks or Intuit. It also specifies what the project does not aim to accomplish. For example, a project scope statement will explain the software will operate in the cloud, but not on a local server. The project scope also identifies what problem the project is supposed to solve. The project team leader typically writes the statement.

Statement of Work

The statement of work, which often includes the project scope statement, deals with the nuts and bolts of how the project team will accomplish the goal. It sets out where the work happens. A research and development team, for example, may work at an off-site lab, while IT works on-location. It sets out schedules and milestones, as well as the applicable industry standards. The statement of work also needs to define specifics, such as quality assurance metrics and testing minimums.The project team, which can consist of employees drawn from one or several departments or a group of outside contractors, writes the statement of work.