Scope of Work...

Jun 06, 2016


Developing a 'Scope of Work' of training initiatives can vary + vital.  Does anyone have a template you can share to create/develop a consultant/freelancer...which is not so detailed?  I learned that is best to ensure there is some type of "fixed rate" of what you will do so there are no assumptions made and/or the least hidden costs.  

Thanks so much,


6 Replies
Christy Tucker

The SOW I use is adapted from Joel Gendelman's book Consulting Basics. That book was critical to me when I made the leap to consulting. It's a little more geared towards training than e-learning, but I had a much easier time adapting from a template for developing classroom training materials than from generic templates.

My SOW has the following sections:

  • Need/Problem Summary (especially if the SOW is doubling as my proposal)
  • Overview of the recommended approach
  • Instructional Design Scope and Deliverables
    This has subsections for storyboarding, development, etc. For each subsection, I list what I'll provide and what the client will provide (e.g., branding materials, access to SME, prompt review).
  • Out of Scope
  • Risks
  • Assumptions (including who the approver(s) are)
  • Change Control (the process for changing the scope)
  • Timeline
  • Cost

I have done both project rates and hourly rates. If the scope isn't really clear (including what types of revisions are allowed, how many, and when), hourly rate is more flexible. If you're just charging for your time, you can do 8 rounds of revision if that's what they want and they're willing to pay for it.

If you do a fixed rate for a whole project, you can potentially make more money. If you work fast, you essentially get penalized for being efficient when you charge an hourly rate. Project rates require you to be accurate in estimating your own time to complete the work. You also have to clearly specify the project scope--what are you including, what level of interaction and media, revisions, etc. A project rate has more risk for you. If your estimate is wrong or you can't keep the scope from expanding, your effective hourly rate could be very low.

Michelle Buckland

Hi Christy,

Thanks so much for your insight, shared experience, and overview of SoW.

I have attached an article and learned from the e-Learning course I am taking that the difference between a project scope of ILT and e-Learning is quite extensive.  More stakeholders, more (hidden) costs, ever-changing technologies, risks such as hosting + security, longer duration, etc.

I am reaching out for a template, which is not extremely complex,  to use as a consultant "in fruition" stage of an e-Learning project.


Christy Tucker

I understand that you want me to give you the template I use, but it's not my intellectual property to give away. Joel Gendelman owns it. You can buy his book so you can have the template too.

A quick online search for "elearning sow" turned up this article with several sample contracts. You might look through these for inspiration.

Carolina Fautsch

Michelle, the SoW acts as a contract, at least in the projects I've worked on, but some people have additional documentation. The SoW alone has worked for me but I've been looking into working out something else to give clients, since nonpayment seems epidemic (I've been lucky so far). Freelancer's Union has more information, including a contract template (scroll down a little for it):

I have found a modified version of this template to be fairly simple and work for my needs:

I customize it to the client, generally speaking, and I'd love to hear other takes on what is good information to have in the SoW. Managing client expectations at the outset is very crucial!

Hope that helps. 

This discussion is closed. You can start a new discussion or contact Articulate Support.