Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Project Work Plan (PWP)

This document is developed between the government sponsoring organization and CMU-SEI. It describes the scope of work, period of performance (PoP), detailed tasks to be performed, and corresponding costs, schedules, and deliverables and allows the customer to name a point of contact for AFLCMC/AZS to contact. The cover page of the PWP becomes the coordination sheet for routing through government approvals.

The following items must be included in the Project Work Plan to be considered for approval:


Period of Performance

The period of performance must be supported by the detailed information contained in the PWP.


Total Estimated Cost

The total estimated cost must be supported by the detailed information contained in the PWP.


Breakout of Total Estimated Cost

In order for AFLCMC/AZS to determine the price of a project to be fair and reasonable, the total estimated cost must be broken out to include (at a minimum) the following cost categories:

  • Headcount/Duration of Labor – Total technical labor cost in terms of FTE and the associated cost.
  • Outside Procurements – Anything that the Institute must procure outside of CMU-SEI to support your project is considered outside procurement;only a top-level breakout is required.

For example, a proposed outside procurement total of $260k without additional information would require a further breakdown into the types and quantities of anticipated materials/sub-contracts/travel;however, $200k for materials to support a satellite build, $50k of subcontracted research effort, or $10k for travel is sufficient analysis.


Severable vs Non-Severable Designation

  • Severable – A project is considered severable if the research services provided by CMU-SEI are continuing and recurring in nature and provide the Government a benefit each time the service is performed (ex.: ongoing/recurring software maintenance or monitoring). Learn more.
  • Non-Severable – A project is considered non-severable if the research represents a single undertaking with a defined end-product that cannot feasibly be subdivided for separate performance.The PWP must include a statement identifying the research will provide a final report, brief, etc. Learn more.


The person who signs on behalf of the government sponsoring organization must be an organic government employee (not a contractor) and have the authority to determine technical acceptability on behalf of their agency.

Visit the General Requirements section to find out what other documents are part of the requirements packages for unclassified and classified projects.