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Work Authorization System

Yet another way to control a project is through a work authorization system (I find it unusual that this term didn't get a three-letter acronym). The PMBOK defines a work authorization system as "a collection of formal documented procedures that defines how project work will be authorized to ensure the work is done by the identified organization, at the right time, and in the proper sequence." This is most often a written authorization to begin a specific activity or work package that is part of the project plan.

PMBOK suggests that determining whether to use a formal work authorization system is a question of balancing cost against use. If putting a formal system in place will take too long or will actually be a cost that the project must support, there certainly will be times when verbal authorization will be used. Verbal authorization is used most often in smaller projects where a formal work authorization system may be too costly or complex to install.

The work authorization system can easily be confused with other procedures and systems. The question will be phrased something like this:


A formal procedure for sanctioning project work is a:






Scope Statement



Statement of Work



Work authorization

The answer is D. Notice that the key words are "formal procedure." The document that allocates work is actually the Charter. But the procedure is called a work authorization system. This is a case of memorizing the definition. You will see it on the test.

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