The Work Authorization System is an important aspect and you can definitely expect atleast a question around it in the PMP exam. The Work Authorization System is basically a subsystem of the overall project management system. It is a collection of formally documented procedures that define how project work will be authorized (committed) to ensure that the work is done by the identified organization (or resources), at the right time and in the proper sequence. The work authorization system might also be used by the project manager (and his or her designees) to approve all the project work throughout the course of project.
Work authorization procedures specifically detail who may authorize work to be completed and how those authorizations may be obtained. These procedures will include which documents must be completed prior to work being initialized and whether there are any other prerequisites to work being performed at any particular level during the project.
It should be noted that a work authorization system is not just an application or a tool. It includes both the process/rules and a tool/application to enable and track the project work. A PPM tool, a Sharepoint or even an excel spreadsheet could be used as the tool but for it to become a Work Authorization System, the formally documented procedures needs to be defined.
Below is a sample PMP question,
Q. A formal procedure for authorizing project work is a:
A. Project Charter
B. Scope Statement
C. Statement of Work
D. Work authorization
The answer is D
Yes, Project Charter does authorize the Project Manager but the question talks about the “formal procedure” here. The procedure is indeed called the work authorization system. Do note that the Work Authorization System is an EEF (Enterprise Environmental Factors)