WordPress powers 43% of the world’s websites. Its flexibility and ease of use make it a popular choice for business websites. You might consider booking a WordPress design and development team if you have complex needs for your site or simply want a professional touch.
A professional WordPress design and development firm can help you achieve a powerful, effective digital presence. However, it’s rarely a matter of “book it and forget it.” Web design and development are complicated, so you and the firm must know which tasks will or won’t be done on your site.
A “Scope of Work” is critical for ensuring that your project turns out the way you want it to. In this article, we’ll give you a crash course in everything you need to know about Scope of Work (SOW) documents in WordPress web design and development.
What is a Scope of Work?
A Scope of Work is a subset of a Statement of Work, which describes the overall arrangement you make with a company. The Statement of Work accompanies your legal agreement with the firm. It describes the rates, intellectual property transfer, and other key elements of your project. (Learn more about creating a Statement of Work for web design projects.)
The Scope of Work details the specific services you’re booking and associated tools and deliverables. Here’s an example of an SOW:
Redesign Company XYZ’s public-facing website and support the migration to WordPress. Following the discovery process and a deep dive into website flow, preliminary data, and user experience, user insights will be infused into the new design, page layouts, and site architecture. The new public-facing site will also be augmented with tools that support organizational functionality, including tools for user login, and so on. The anticipated deliverable will include a multi-page website built on the WordPress content management system with eCommerce functionality, a visual editor for website management by Client, and other features determined in the discovery process.
As you see, this description clearly outlines the project and what the WordPress firm will provide.
Putting this into writing has two primary purposes:
Benefits of a Scope of Work (SOW) Agreement
Clarity for You as the Client
If you’re not familiar with WordPress (or web development in general), you may not realize all that goes into it. An SOW agreement helps you gain clarity on the web design process. You can better understand the timeline, tools needed, and what’s expected of you.
You’ll also see the value of your investment because you know exactly what you’re booking. This helps you identify further services you may need down the line.
Clarity for the WordPress Company
A lack of clarity could cause WordPress firms to spend time on tasks that don’t serve the current objective. The SOW agreement helps them form a sound project plan. They know what you expect and how they’ll meet those expectations.
Preventing Scope Creep
Scope creep is when a project extends beyond the initial agreed-upon tasks or deliverables. This is a significant concern for WordPress design and development firms because many tasks are tedious and complicated. Spending time on them when the client has not booked or doesn’t need them hurts their efficiency.
It also harms your project’s progress. When the scope isn’t clear, it’s too easy for a feedback request or extra deliverable to open a rabbit hole. The WordPress company may delay or block critical tasks to meet that request.
In sum, scope creep is undesirable for both you and the WordPress firm. A clear Scope of Work agreement helps avoid this issue.
How the Scope of Work is Used
As mentioned above, a Scope of Work (SOW) is a precise description of the services and deliverables you’ll receive from the company you booked. This can be part of your Statement of Work and the legal contract that details your payment obligations, relationship, etc.
However, the SOW is also a rough sketch of your project itinerary. It explains how and when the WordPress firm will meet your goals.
For example, many tasks will be dependent on others. This means certain activities must happen first. Tools such as Gantt charts can map out the timeline of required tasks, including when the firm needs your review or input.
The SOW also lets the company set milestones, i.e. key achievements that drive the project’s success. Depending on your needs, the firm may need several months or longer to fulfill your deliverables. Milestones reassure you that the project is moving forward.
So, “Scope of Work” refers to both the concise description and the foundation for a strong project plan. In either case, the SOW limits the services and deliverables to what’s critical for your objectives. Project management tools further define the company’s tasks, preventing the project from going out of bounds.
Planning a Scope of Work in Web Design
Creating or updating a website typically entails many complementary tasks. It’s easy to miss the nuance from an outsider’s perspective. One might assume these tasks are a simple matter of checking off boxes. That can lead to confusion about a project’s progress or whether certain items are necessary.
A Scope of Work clarifies what’s needed to achieve your goals. A good WordPress firm will develop a web design Scope of Work after consulting with you. As you may not realize all that’s needed, this process minimizes confusion and sets expectations for both you and the company.
For example, it’s never enough to say your website needs “updating.” This could mean:
Those are just a few options. Let’s say you book a web design and development firm to transfer your site to WordPress. Based on your discovery call, they propose building a WordPress theme and importing your content from your static HTML site. The SOW describes their design and development tasks. It states they will add your current pages as-is to the WordPress content management system.
Thus, you won’t receive additional SEO improvements or content creation in this agreement. Without a clear SOW, those tasks could creep in.
In sum, it’s vital to clarify precisely what you want for your website before you sign any agreement. The WordPress firm should also clarify its proposal and ensure it suits your goals and budget.
Conclusion: A Scope of Work is Critical for Any WordPress Project
When booking a WordPress design and development firm, ensure you have a clear Scope of Work in place. This helps guide your project timeline, ensures that all goals can be met, and prevents scope creep that could derail progress — or even incur extra costs. The better you and the firm understand the project, the more likely it is to be a success! A Scope of Work can be a specific description or the framework of a robust project plan. Either way, it’s a must-have for any website endeavor.
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Ali Jaffar has been building dazzling websites and creating amazing online experiences for over a decade. His mastery of the latest innovations in web development results in world-class website experiences set apart by show-stopping style and seamless functionality. A highly sought-after consultant—and 50-time award-winning storyteller, UX expert, and web developer—Ali lends his talents to build and bolster digital experiences for a wide array of clients, with a keen focus on web design for nonprofit organizations. When Ali’s not helping his clients grow or providing pro bono services via his Coding For Causes program, you can find him exploring beautiful open spaces with his dog, working on side projects like the new Good Jobs Guide, or writing pieces about technology and the world on Huge Thinking. Follow Ali on Twitter @al1meister or connect with him on LinkedIn.