If handled correctly, the benefits of incorporating statement-of-work management into your CW program can include a slew of benefits including managing costs and risk. But proper planning is key.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. This adage holds especially true for contingent workforce managers taking on the challenge of incorporating SOW into their existing CW programs.

The ambitious initiative necessitates some important planning elements, so take the extra steps to ensure a good foundation. In this article, we discuss just a few.

Define quality. Decide which quality elements your initiative will focus on — then develop a structure to manage and measure that quality. This requires visibility into the overall data and standardization from a process perspective. How will your CW program improve the quality of deliverables and outputs, and how will it improve the quality of SOW consultants as well as the overall statement of work lifecycle at your organization?

Identify and engage stakeholders. Carefully evaluate who the appropriate stakeholders are in your organization’s SOW program. Who needs to be involved, and what role will they play in the program’s implementation? While executive sponsorship is critical, you also need the support of other stakeholders such as leaders from the legal, finance, IT and tax departments, as well as any shared service centers that may be managing back-office operations. Identify them and what their needs are — and then engage with them with open communication and project updates.

Focus your message to sell the concept. One size does not fit all, so tailor your message toward each specific stakeholder. What is in it for them? The value of your initiative will differ depending on the needs of stakeholder and the role that they hold. Understand what the value proposition is for the different stakeholder groups and communicate it accordingly.

Educate the organization. Ensure the people in your organization know the differences between staff augmentation and SOW; it’s important that they understand that this is a different kind of service. Educate them on the type of value your program will bring by incorporating SOW, which will differ depending on you speak with and what their role is.

If you’ve taken the proper steps and prepared well, your CW program will see improvements in cost and talent management, best practice compliance, risk compliance management, SOW solution quality management and more.

“This is a different animal and depending on the scope you have, will also define maybe more lengthy planning,” says Stephen Clancy, SIA’s senior director, contingent workforce strategies, knowledge and research. And if you’ve planned properly, you’re better situated to manage through any unexpected events that arise during implementation as well as any push-backs that you could experience, Clancy says.

A helpful resource available to members is SIA’s guide for CW program managers entitled, “Ten Steps to Designing a SOW Management Strategy and Business Model.”

This article is based on the SIA workforce solutions webinar, “SOW and Services Procurement — A CW Program Guide to Success.” A replay of the webinar is available online to CWS Council members.