Part II: What is the Scope of Work for an Executive Operations Role?

Maïa Cybelle Carpenter

Part I of our series reviews the Executive Operations role and its importantance in an organization with successful, effective and innovative leadership.

In Part II of our Series below, we'll review the details of a clearly communicated and documented Executive Operations role. We'll also share some pointers of why you will want to implement a Scope of Work as soon as a role is created and why it's important to update it regularly.

If you’ve hired consultants or worked with project managers you may already be familiar with the term “Statement of Work”. Often abbreviated as SoW, it is easy to confuse it with the “Scope of Work” which may also be abbreviated SoW! Let’s define a Scope of Work: what it is and what it isn’t. 

A Statement of Work is quite simply a document that outlines a project plan and its expected deliverables, outcomes and goals. Project managers typically create SoWs using a narrative structure that clearly defines a project's requirements, tasks, workflows, timeline and costs. This document may include multiple sections that describe specific areas of the project, such as vendor services, pricing, regulatory or compliance guidelines and industry standards. It may also outline potential project risks, such as timeline delays, and the necessary workflows to overcome those challenges.

A Scope of Work may be included within a Statement of Work. It is a much more detailed document of how the individual would achieve the work objectives. Simplified, the Scope of Work is a detailed breakdown of the role responsibilities.

Below we've outlined some broad categories of work, however the actual document should be more detailed. At any given point, one should be able to share what percentage of their role is dedicated to specific types of activities and outcomes. This is a living and breathing document that an EO/EA/EBP will maintain and check in on regularly with their manager. It should also be shared with others in leadership and on the team so that everyone knows the EO/EA/EBP's role responsibilities. This sets up the EO/EA/EBP and executive stakeholder for success. Everyone agrees on what the role responsibilities are and approximately how much bandwidth they take up. As they will likely change over time, it is important to note when a role may be expanding or contracting with the ebbs and flows of business. Career EO/EA/EBPs  are strong operational generalists and sometimes they take on special projects which eventually need to be owned by another employee once the business scales. 

With continued maintenance, this Scope of Work can let us know when is it time to hire an additional employee, or promote or even re-scope a role. This is also a guardrail against burnout which supports employee retention. The Scope of Work should be used in conjunction with company career levels (called career lattice in some organizations).

Carpenter Consulting Partners works with clients to help them retain the talent that we've recruited for them. We have several add-on packages you can purchase when you are a search client. A part of this retention strategy is ensuring that an Executive Operations/Executive Business Partner/Executive Assistant has a clear Scope of Work. This is not a job description for Executive Operations. Carpenter Consulting Partners can also advise on the creation of a levels chart - that's within our Scope of Work!

Executive Operations/Executive Business Partner/Senior Executive Assistant
Scope of Work Template

Workpiece - may be dynamic due to the nature of the business. We acknowledge that for many EO/EA/EBPs that Program Management and Project Management may have some overlap - feel free to indicate the overlap in your scope of work.

Scheduling - % on average of my workload
  •External - can include business partners, clients, interviews, conferences, Boards, etc…
  •Functional team programs

Project Management*- % on average of my workload - detailed task/schedule management, usually includes deliverables
  •Exec client’s  external brand/thought leadership/media prep
  •Production of the Board meeting and board activities
  •Document/information management/slide decks
  •Contracts/signatures/compliance -  process flow
  •OKR/Roadmap planning
  •Headcount /Annual Planning
  •Recruiting (agencies, follow up with passive candidates, gifts, etc..)

Program Management* - % on average of my workload - broad oversight, managing interdependencies between sub-teams on behalf of executive client. Majority of this for EA/EO/EBPs is under ‘team culture and engagement’.
  •Team events, offsite events, recognition
  •Team onboarding & off-boarding
  •Team communications
  • Oversight of cross-functional or matrixed team processes
  •Agendas, action items, tracking and running team meetings

Travel Management - % on average of my workload
  •Air, ground, hotels‍

Expense Reports - % on average of my workload
  •My own expense reports
  •My executive client’s expense reports

My Professional development  - % on average of my workload
  •learning new software, business-specific skills, coaching, trainings, mentorship,  notary certification

Other - Anything not captured above - add it here! - % on average of my workload

Coming soon on this blog
In Part III we'll talk about how to recruit for and compensate for these roles (the beginning of the talent lifecycle).
In Part IV we'll talk about career development for these roles (continuing the talent lifecycle).

If you have questions, comments or feedback, please contact us here.

Also, check out this "In Conversation" series blog post featuring an Executive Operations role. We'll have more interviews posted in our blog soon!

Maïa Cybelle Carpenter

CEO, Carpenter Consulting Partners, Inc.

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