PM: Creating a Scope of Work

Detail the requirements of a project


One of the responsibilities of a project manager is to deliver projects on time and within budget. Organizing a scope of work (aka statement of work; SOW) will help program and project managers to define the resources needed, identify professionals who understand the project goals and build a team, and estimate a project timeline. A SOW may include tasks to be completed, quote or budget, stakeholders responsible, and timeline to complete project milestones.

This document will help a PM professional discuss the pros and cons of taking on a project with staff from management, research and operational teams, and environmental health and safety experts. Project managers often work with upper management or clients to set the direction of the project and make sure they are on target to complete the project(s) on time. A project manager’s responsibilities depend on the organization’s size and resources that may be allocated to the work.

The Process

  1. Clients contact the organization with a proposal for work
  2. Interview the client to understand the requested services and expectations for completion
  3. Create a scope of work and budget
  4. Get feedback from internal stakeholders about the scope of work
  5. Present the scope of work to the client

The Exercise

You are a project manager for a clinical research organization (CRO) that develops antibodies based on clients’ needs. You interact with 6 teams: antigen production, animal immunization, hybridoma development, mAb development, screening assay, functional assay team.

Create a scope of work (SOW) document for the client. In this example, a potential client speaks with a team member in sales and wishes to develop a diagnostic antibody to target A. The customer provides the following information:

  1. The target A is an extracellular membrane protein with the complicated external motif
  2. The customer has already made previous attempts and been unsuccessful and hence has contacted your CRO’s sales team
  3. Target A is an extracellular protein which, when dimerized, activates some signals that cause excessive cell proliferation. Hence, the goal is to detect the protein to allow for an earlier cancer diagnosis

Task 1: Create a quote

Create a quote requirement as part of the scope of work. Prepare a spreadsheet that serves as a planning document to the sales team that includes specific items for which your organization will bill the client. Place criteria for each stage of the project on a separate line.We have provided a sample table for antibody development: (e.g., resources such as reagents, personnel, estimated cost, timeline, other factors critical for consideration).To create your own table, it may help to refer to these resources about the process involved in developing antibodies:

Stage Resource req Reagent / Personnel req Estimated cost Other critical factors
Immunization development
Animal immunization
Hybridoma development
mAb production
Binding assay
Screening assay

Also consider dependencies for the project when determining a timeline. What aspects can be done in parallel?

Task 2: Internal Team and Communication Management

An important responsibility as a program manager is to come up with an action plan and timeline that takes into account multiple teams working on a project simultaneously. The project needs to smoothly integrate several teams. Take one of the criteria above and complete a risk analysis as part of the scope of work. For this example, conduct a risk analysis for animal immunization – you injected the mice and you don’t see mutagenicity.

Determine how this affects the timeline and how you will respond to this challenge. Create a table or written document that addresses these considerations within your CRO:

  • Communication – with whom, when and what data will you need?
  • Meeting Management – with whom will you meet first, and what decisions will be made?
  • Resource Allocation – what resources will you now need?
  • Strategy and Decision Management – who is involved in the decision making?
  • Define handoffs – what is needed in order to execute a seamless handoff between teams?
  • Other factors you might consider: Risk Mitigation and Contingency Planning, Problem Solving, Documentation, Alliance Management (within the company- different teams eg. animal management team, antibody development team), and Procedures.

The Deliverable

Primarily, a scope of work is delivered to the customer who can then make decisions whether they will work with your team to develop a product (in this case, a diagnostic antibody). The SOW may also inform the customer of financial and legal considerations, and potential interesting scientific facts that may arise in the antibody development. Secondary-A Customer communication document and a timeline.


General resources about careers in project management:


For this task:

  • Budgeting and budget justification
  • Detail-oriented planning of resources, space, and people
  • Risk management
  • Customer interaction

Needed in this career:

  • Organizational skills
  • Management skills
  • Communication with internal and external stakeholders

Additional responsibilities

A professional in the field of project management may also:

  • Facilitate the scientific discussion and end any stalemate that may delay progress on a project
  • Write statements identifying reasoning your company would be best fit for projects. This first requires that a PM understand a client’s needs so that you can promote your organization’s services in a way that is most relevant.
  • Develop timelines for the scope of the project

You are viewing a job simulation. To get started, set up SMART Goals to perform this simulation in a reasonable timeline. If you have completed the task, fill out the Self-Reflection Sheet.

Simulation authors: Aparna Jorapur

Simulation vetted by professionals in the Bay Area and Boston