How a Good Statement of Work Can Improve Your eDiscovery

A statement of work is fundamental to the success of any eDiscovery project. A good statement of work will actually improve your eDiscovery, because it sets the tone for the entire project, starting at its inception. It is a tool that helps all parties understand:

  • Processes
  • Role of the Project Manager
  • Integration Management
  • Scope, Schedule, and Cost Management
  • Resources
  • Communication
  • Risk Management
  • Stakeholders

A good SOW will house all the information required for a Project Manager, OR a Stakeholder, to facilitate the requirements of their role in a project. A bad SOW will house the bare minimum information and require extra time to gather and document the information as the project progresses.

Here are the key elements of a SOW that will help improve your eDiscovery project:

  • Project objectives. This section covers the purpose of the project and what you hope to achieve.
  • Scope of work. This section states what work needs to be completed, how it will be done, and how much time it will take.
  • Place & time of execution. This section is especially important if you have data stored in global locations and/or different time zones. It identifies where the project will take place.
  • Milestones. This section defines expected progress and is important for very long eDiscovery projects.
  • Tasks. This section lays out the activities that need to happen to achieve milestones.
  • Schedule. The timeline includes milestones, tasks, and resources throughout the project’s lifecycle.
  • Deliverables. This section quantifies what is due and when it is due.
  • Expected outcomes. This section defines what success will look like when the project is complete.
  • Special terms, conditions, and requirements. This section will include payment terms and other parts of the project that don’t fit into other categories.
  • Closure. This defines how the deliverables will be accepted, and who will deliver, review and sign off on them.

When is the best time to start making a statement of work? Ideally, it should start to be drafted when you and your vendor start exploring your business needs. A draft outline should be started after the discovery call or meeting and revised with more detail as you learn more. If your current vendor is not providing you with a SOW that will improve your eDiscovery project, make sure to ask them for more information similar to what is suggested here in the next SOW they provide.