Prince2 header
products page

PRINCE2 - Controlling a Stage (CS) part 2

Authorising Work Package (CS1)

Fundamental principles

There would be chaos if people started work activities just when they felt like it without approval.
There will be a level of autonomy within the teams but there are likely to be issues that individuals may be unaware of that may have an impact on the work involved and the resource required.
Hence, it is important that Work Packages only begin with the consent of the Project Manager.


This sub-process will be running throughout the stage.
It interfaces with Managing Product Delivery (MP) which handles the production of the products involved and provides plan updates to

Assessing Progress (CS2) during the project.

In addition, the process Taking Corrective action (CS7) may trigger new Work Packages or require modification to existing Work Packages.

Process description

The objective is to maintain control over the work of the team(s) by:

  • Issuing work instructions (work triggers) to the Team Manager(s) to start work
  • Revising the instructions as required following management decisions

The set of instructions issued to the Team Manager is called a Work Package.

To achieve the objectives various steps are needed:

  • Review the Product Description for each of the product(s) to be delivered. Make sure that they describe what is required and add any constraints and responsibilities required
  • Brief the Team Manager(s) and distribute the Work Packages with all relevant documentation and information, including ‘terms of reference’ covering
  1. The cost and effort that the work is expected to consume
  2. The timescale for completion
  3. The progress reporting arrangements
  4. Any individuals, group or products with whom it is necessary to interface in the performance of the work
  5. Product Descriptions
  • Update the status information to ‘under development’ in any affected Configuration Item Records
  • Ensure that the Team Manager has a valid Team Plan covering the Work Package requirements and the correct resources to carry out the work
  • Identify any problems or risks associated with the work and incorporate any necessary changes or other measures to handle these
  • Ensure the Team Manager is committed to completion of the work within the ‘terms of reference’ laid down
  • Instruct the Team Manager to proceed via an appropriate form of Work package
  • Confirm the entries made in the Quality Log during Planning a Stage (SB1) for planned quality checks and who will chair these checks

The work here could be carried out within the customer organisation, outside suppliers or by a combination of the two.
This could involve the supply of products or services that do not require any actual effort.

The steps apply just the same.

This sub-process must be done in conjunction with Accepting a Work Package (MP1).
There will be an overlap with the Team Manager on dates and other parameters.

For the first Work Package agreed the Project Manager should check that the Team Manager understands the change control procedures.


The Project Manager is responsible for this sub-process assisted by any Project Support roles and in agreement with the relevant Team Managers.
The Configuration Librarian will update the Configuration Item Records. Project Assurance might wish to confirm that suitable quality checking arrangements have been planned.

Information needs
Management informationUsageExplanation
Authorisation to proceedInputAuthorisation from the Project Board to proceed with the stage.
Product Description(s)InputDescription of the required product(s), including quality criteria.
Work triggerInputInformation from Authorising a Project (DP2), Authorising a Stage or Exception Plan (DP3), Taking Corrective Action (CS7) or Reviewing Stage Status (CS5)requiring the creation or modification of a new Work Package.
Stage or Exception PlanUpdateThe Stage Plan may need to be updated as a result of discussions between the Project Manager and the Team Manager during Authorising Work Package (CS1)or because of changes generated in Taking Corrective Action (CS).
Configuration Item RecordsUpdateChange the status of any products allocated as part of the Work Package.
Work PackageOutputFormal handover of responsibility for the detailed conduct of the work and delivery of any products from the Project Manager following agreement with the Team Manager.
Risk LogUpdateUpdated with any new or modified risks after negotiation with the Team Manager.
Quality LogUpdateThe Quality Log may need to be updated as a result of discussions between the Project Manager and the Team Manager during Authorising Work Package (CS1)to reflect any modification of entries for any planned quality checking to be done.
Product ChecklistUpdate(If used) The Product Checklist may need to be updated as a result of discussions between the Project Manager during Authorising Work Package (CS1) or because of changes generated in Taking Corrective Action (CS7).
Issue LogUpdateUpdate with any actions taken on Project Issues.

These are given in tabular form in the file ‘CS1 authorising work package.doc’ in the product package.

Key criteria

  • Is the Team Manager clear what is to be produced and what has to be done to produce it?
  • Is the Team Manager clear about the effort, cost and timescale expectations in connection with the work involved?
  • Is the Team Manager clear about the expected quality of the work and products and also clear about how that quality is to be checked, as defined in the relevant Product Descriptions?
  • Have the quality checking procedures been put in place and resourced?
  • Is the work achievable within the ‘terms of reference’ laid down?
  • Is the Team Manager committed tot eh achievement of the work?
  • Has the Stage Plan been updated as required, based on the agreement on the Work Package?
  • Should any Project Assurance involvement be planned, especially in quality checking?

For many small projects Work Package authorisation may be informal although it is useful to record an individuals work and performance for appraisal purposes.

Work Package authorisation should always be documented when third parties are involved.

It becomes difficult if a Work Package spreads over more then one stage.
If this is likely to be the case it should be broken down into parts that fit easily into each stage.

It is good practice for those receiving the products from Work Packages to get involved with writing the Product Descriptions and especially the quality criteria. If this is the case, they should be reviewed by others.

If there is a contract in operation between the customer and supplier, this may have an impact on the terms of the authorisation.
The reverse is also true, so the authorisation of Work Packages should be considered during contract preparation.

When a Work Package is negotiated with a Team Manager or team member the Project Manager should make sure the change control procedures are understood.

This product contains EVERYTHING in the publications:

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 - 2005 edition
Managing successful Projects with PRINCE2 – 2009 edition
Directing Projects with PRINCE2.
The Complete Project Management package.

And much more besides - at a fantastic price.