In our recent blog post, Make Your Scope of Work Statements Stand Out, we talk about how good scope of work statements help establish boundaries and responsibilities. Today, Brad Malone, of Navigate Management Consulting, continues this discussion, describing what your scope of work documents should look like.
I have heard many terms used to describe the contractual aspects of an audiovisual integration project: bill of materials (BOM), scope of work or statement of work (SOW), work order, proposal, and contract, to name a few. But often, when I ask key project stakeholders (sales, clients, project managers, technicians, procurement, warehousing, service, etc.) where these documents are and whether I can look at them, I often get blank stares or embarrassed smiles.
“Oh, you want to read the SOW? I don’t know where it is,” one person might say. Or they’ll say, “I didn’t get a copy,” or “We don’t have time to read them,” or (worse yet), “Management doesn’t let me read them.”
When I can get my hands on a scope of work, I find that the document being circulated is usually one or two pages long, with a list of equipment and pricing (maybe) — no assumptions, no client responsibilities, no change-order procedures and often no sign-off or escalation procedures. It is as if AV integration companies don’t want to hold clients responsible for anything, including payment for the completed work.
If integration companies want to be more respected by clients in the marketplace, their contracts should be the starting point for creating credibility and professionalism.
The salespeople must create an expectation that a comprehensive scope of work will be adhered to. They should spend time with the client, covering change-control procedures, client responsibilities, escalation processes and sign-off and payment procedures.
The project manager should further ensure their counterpart has read and understands the pertinent parts of the contract. Personally, I always keep a copy of the contract or statement of work in my project notebook so I can refer to it, if necessary, during discussions with the client, general contractor, or other interested party.
Some of the best AV integration companies I have worked with train everyone in their organization on the purpose and details of each section of the contract. This kind of education provides a holistic knowledge of how the company sustains itself and generates its revenues and profits. It also gives individuals a context for supporting one another during the project, from design to purchasing, shipment to staging, installation to programming, and change orders to commissioning.
Here is an outline of the major components of a comprehensive scope of work. All the sections below should be used for the three major types of AV integration jobs (hang and bang, design/build, and bid), employing varying degrees of complexity. At the end of the day, it is better to have documentation and not use it than not have it and need it.
Each of these sections serves a purpose and reflects on the AV integration company’s professionalism in fulfilling its obligations. Taken as a whole, the scope of work will hold other parties (client, GC, other subcontractors) responsible for their actions in complying with the contract. The scope of work does not have to be filled with onerous legal-sounding jargon; in fact, straight-forward language is better.
This article comes from our partners at Navigate Management Consulting, and has been published with their express permission.
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