A service agreement is a formal agreement between two or more parties that articulates the terms and conditions of a particular service relationship.
Service agreements serve three primary functions:
- Articulating the expectations of the parties to the agreement.
- Providing a mechanism for governance and issue resolution.
- Acting as a scorecard against which to examine performance and results.
Service agreements can enhance governance, accountability, and service quality by clearly defining roles, responsibilities, processes, and performance expectations. The practice of establishing service agreements is strongly recommended in any type of client / service provider or collaborative service relationship.
In most cases, the parties reach a thorough understanding of the service relationship before specific details found in a supporting service agreement are finalized. Aspects of the service relationship that are typically documented in a service agreement include scope, governance, operations, finances, performance, and implementation