The University of Iowa

Guidelines for Preparing the Statement of Work

FileStatement of Work template

Don’t use ambiguous statements or words with multiple meanings, such as “include,” “average,” “adequate,” or “equal.”

Don’t repeat requirements described in other parts of the subcontract, and don’t include unnecessary narrative.

Don’t use “catch-all” phrases such as “to the extent necessary,” “as required,” or “as applicable.”

Don’t infer a requirement or state a requirement as an adjunct to another requirement.  The subcontractor may overlook the inference or true objective.

Don’t tell the subcontractor how to do the work unless the work is to be performed under specific design specifications.

Don’t include an “agreement to agree” provision.

Do use mandatory language when stating a firm requirement (i.e. "shall").

Do describe the work and associated requirements as fully and clearly as possible to assure a complete understanding, but don’t overspecify.

Do include specific requirements made in the original grant or contract.

Do describe the extent of the need, how the extent is to be determined, and the maximum not-to-exceed extent.

Do use simply constructed sentences and phrases to describe the intended meaning.

Do use the same descriptive terminology each time a part, component, or item is referenced.

Do include illustrations, diagrams, tables, and charts if they assist in describing the work or related requirements.

Do have the Statement of Work critiqued by others.  Such reviews often uncover discrepancies, inconsistencies, conflicts or ambiguous descriptions.