Statement-of-work solutions have long been known within buyer organizations as an area of immaturity prone to blind spots for things like spend, resource allocation and, often, misclassification of staff augmentation. However, as CW programs have matured they have looked to SOW as the next step in growth. The question is, how does a program get its management of SOW to a mature level where it can begin to remove those blind spots? Here are some steps to take.
Area of focus. First, buyers must assess what portion of the organization’s SOW they can, or should, attempt to impact. Cafeteria, groundskeepers and security personnel are more than likely well managed and have strong oversight through contractual requirements. SOW management criteria can be categorized into things like spend thresholds, specific business units or geographical locations. There is no single best approach when determining what is in and what is out of scope from a business perspective. In some rare circumstances, buyer organizations will support all SOWs that impact the buyer’s brand. This means someone subjectively determines what will/can impact the brand and what does not; if the SOW impacts the brand, then is it in scope regardless of the spend and/or the business unit. Regardless of your area of focus, you must build a “fence” around areas to which you intend to deliver value.
The path to maturity and improved capability. Within the cycle of SOW, there is much debate on where and how the Program Management Office (PMO)/MSP provide value. When we look at the process steps in a general sense, it can be difficult to ensure the PMO/MSP can provide real value. The accompanying image shows samples of SOW models that vary by where the PMO/MSP can insert resources to add value.
It is not uncommon for programs to start small and only provide administrative types of support for SOW, such as payment and closing of an SOW contract. It is less common to see support in the beginning of the SOW process and more difficult to have the confidence that your program can deliver real value. A good way to determine whether your program is in a position to offer such support is to conduct the VICA methodology, which is a strategic methodology necessary to making the right decision for your program. By taking your program through the methodology, you can determine if you should aspire to support SOW in a more mature manner — if the program has the capability to execute. In any case, having a strategy to evolve is an important step in improving the maturity and capability of the SOW program.
The right talent. Once you identify areas where value can be added to the SOW process, it is important to have individuals with the right skillset to be successful. If your aim is to support the review of SOW scope, as an example, and to help determine what good and bad look like, then it is required those individuals have a strong business acumen and potentially a strong procurement understanding/background. More than likely, these individuals have skills beyond what your team members have when supporting staff augmentation. It is a common mistake for buyers to miss the skillset requirements to be successful within SOW and be unprepared to invest in the right skillsets.
Moving forward. How do you move forward and how do you know what to do? At SIA we have a few recommendations for you to consider:
- Look at SIA’s CCWP Statement of Work (SOW) Management Expert certification and training program. This program supports CW managers of all experience levels with regard to SOW to build the framework and deliver value to their organizations’ SOW programs.
- Map out your current steps in the SOW life cycle and start to build a business case for your path forward. Look for areas in the process that do not work well currently and/or provide areas of frustration for users to determine if your SOW solution can solve these frustrations.
- Leverage SIA research and buyer tools, available to CWS Council members, to help you make the best decisions for your SOW program as it relates to required skills, the amount of resources and what is defined as in scope versus out of scope.