With the aim of IT service management being to serve the business or the organisation funding the IT, it’s crucial that business requirements drive ITSM projects and procurement.
The tool used for this is often the Statement of Work (SOW), which lays out what is wanted and what is planned.
The challenge comes in making sure that these components are properly linked, and they also relate back to the originating business need.
Formats and contents of statement of work vary, but you can expect to find sections like these:
- Business need and background
- Overall goals of the work to be done
- Project owner/customer contact details
- Key assumptions (if any)
- Scope of the work, based on measurable deliverables
- Tasks, per person and with a description of resource(s) required
- Place of performance, travel arrangements (possibly)
- Additional requirements, including security
- Applicable standards
- Delivery schedule, what will be delivered and when
- Acceptance criteria
- Period of performance with timeframe for task completion, daily/weekly/monthly hours otherwise
- Any specific exclusions to the work/tasks
- Contract payment terms and schedule
When dealing with external providers, customers may limit the amount of information in the first section on the business need, for reasons of confidentiality.
If the rest of the information follows on logically, the provider should be able to carry out the work. However, somebody on the customer side must remember (document) why the project is being done. Business needs often change and any follow-on SOW should not systematically assume the same needs and assumptions as the first.
Contractors or even the IT department “bidding” to the rest of the business can also create a SOW as a proposal for doing work. If so, the business need must be clearly linked to the overall work goals, which are in turn clearly linked to the scope of work and the tasks to be done.
This increases the chances that the most important objective will be met, which is making IT services serve the business goals of the entity paying for them.