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Instructions for Developing a SOW
Using Work Elements
There are two parts to the development of a SOW:  

1. Determining the content of the SOW in terms of work elements, deliverables, milestones, etc.

2. Entering the SOW into Pisces.


Starting in FY05, all SOWs were developed using work element format.

The following instructions outline how to develop the content of the SOW:

Step One - Choose the Work Element
Project work will be defined by describing each major task in the project by choosing from a list of work elements. The work elements are standard project tasks that describe all of the work the F&W program does. Examples of the work elements are: Install Fence, Maintain Vegetation, Produce Hatchery Fish, etc. The work elements have been compiled by project managers and are intended to cover all work performed in the Fish and Wildlife program. If you are unable to find a work element that fits, or are unsure which one to use, contact your COTR or support@cbfish.org for assistance.

All contract work must be described using work elements. Activities like report writing, gathering metrics as part of biological reporting, and work that the contractor performs to obtain environmental compliance should all be described in the SOW using the appropriate work elements.

Some work elements are common to most SOWs. These include:
  • WE #165, Produce Environmental Compliance Documentation. This WE must be used whenever a SOW includes a work element that requires environmental compliance (EC), except when the BPA project manager can confirm that all EC-related activities are already covered by previous documentation. When in doubt, use this WE to describe any work done by the contractor to obtain environmental compliance. Even when this WE is used, each EC-related WE should also have a milestone that EC documentation has been or will be completed before on-the-ground work can begin.
  • WE #119, Manage and Administer Projects. This WE covers activities like submitting documents for new contract or contract renewal, preparing and submitting accrual estimates, and general contract management duties.
  • WE #132, Produce Progress (Annual) Report. The annual report provides the clearest and most accessible documentation that the contract successfully accomplished its WE objectives/deliverables or reasons why it did not. Milestones should reflect all of the review activities between 1st draft and upload to the BPA website that will occur in the current contract period. If the first draft of the annual report is due after the contract period ends, do not include it as a deliverable in the current contract period. Rather, you may have to include the draft annual report for the previous contract period, and perhaps milestones leading up to the annual report for the current contract period.
  • WE #185, Produce Pisces Status Report. This WE should be included in all SOWs with very few exceptions. The contractor need not enter milestones or deliverables for this WE. Once "Produce Pisces Status Report" has been added to the SOW, Pisces -- with the input of the BPA COTR -- will automatically create milestones for either monthly or quarterly status reporting. Monthly/Quarterly reports are due 7 and 15 days after the end of the month, respectively (5 Jan, 5 Feb for monthly reports; or 15 Jan, 15 Apr for quarterly reports).

Other Work Elements: Conventions and Special Conditions


One of the major challenges in choosing a work element is dealing with "lumping versus splitting" issues: how much work can be included in a single work element. In some cases, BPA requires portions of work to be split out into separate work elements to assist with project management or reporting needs. For a detailed guide on how to approach lumping and splitting see Lumping vs. Splitting work elements (PDF).

All contract work must be described using work elements. This includes:
  • Contractor work to write reports
  • Contractor work to and gather metrics as part of biological reporting
  • Work that the contractor performs to obtain environmental compliance

Step Two - Name the Project Action
Because a project may conduct a number of the same activities, it is important to name each in the work element line in Pisces. For example, a project that installs two fish screens may use names such as "Southern Diversion Screen" and "Eastern Diversion Screen" to distinguish between the two.
  • Choose a name that will make sense when viewing the SOW.
  • Consider including the objective in the name, if desired.

Step Three - Capture the Details
In Pisces, each work element line item has a description field where you can capture details about the work. This section is the place to document everything from descriptive location information to prescribed scientific approaches. This area can accommodate a large amount of text and can be used just like SOWs that were constructed in text documents.

Besides the work element description field, there is another opportunity to document information about the work element in the milestone section. However, any significant information must be in the work element description, and can be in two places, if necessary.

Writing a detailed description of work element activities will save time during the permitting process. Please refer to this guidance for things to consider including in your description.

Guidance for Writing Project Descriptions for Work Elements

The work element pages have examples of information that might be part of the description and milestone fields.

Step Four - Define the Deliverables
In Pisces, each work element line item has a deliverable field where you can capture specific information about what the work element is to produce.

In some cases, information in the deliverable section may overlap with information in the description field.
  • NOTE: No work element can have more than one deliverable.


Step Five - Establish Milestones
Milestones are important steps or events associated with a work element and deliverable.
  • All milestones must have both start and end dates. The only exception is the "Deliverable" milestone, which has an end date only.
  • All milestone dates are within the contract period.
  • Milestone dates should be consistent with the work described and with each other.

For most work elements, the Deliverable milestone is automatically inserted by Pisces and cannot be deleted. Use it to specify dates and specifications for completion of deliverables.

Before you submit your SOW, make sure to "validate" by running the SOW Validation report in Pisces. Pisces uses this checklist to verify that your SOW meets BPA requirements; you may want to have this checklist handy as you prepare your SOW.

Questions? Your COTR (Contracting Officer's Technical Representative) is available to offer guidance about content, structure, and level of detail. If you encounter any technical difficulties in Pisces, or would like help understanding and using the application, please contact support@cbfish.org during business hours, and our knowledgeable and friendly Pisces expert will assist you.