The two attackers netted in the first half of the game at Windsor Park as Michael O'Neill's men recorded their third win from five matches in Group C.
Northern Ireland went into the game knowing that they required a point or more to regain second place behind Germany, and they needed less than two minutes to open the scoring.
After collecting the ball inside the penalty area, Ward switched it onto his right foot before curling an effort into the far corner of the net from 16 yards.
It was a stunning start from the home side but they struggled to build on it with only Steven Davis threatening a second, his half-volley being fired into the stands from the edge of the area.
Despite falling behind, Norway had looked lively and before the half-hour mark, they enjoyed their best spell of the first half with Joshua King testing Michael McGovern from distance before Alexander Soderlund struck the crossbar with a volley from 20 yards.
However, Northern Ireland rediscovered their confidence in the final third and they doubled their advantage through Conor Washington, who latched on to a through-ball from Davis before slotting his shot through the legs of goalkeeper Rune Jarstein.
The visitors needed a response after the restart but it was Northern Ireland who continued to press for a third, with Stefan Johansen almost diverting the ball into his own net.
Northern Ireland remained in control of the match but like at the start of the first half, they were not creating many openings and when the game entered the final quarter, Norway were beginning to find a way back into the contest.
Substitute Adama Diomande got a header on target from 14 yards before minutes later, Havard Nordtveit forced a brilliant save out of McGovern, who had to dive to his right to prevent the West Ham United player's 35-yard free kick from finding the bottom corner.
Northern Ireland would have expected more pressure from the visitors, but they slowly began to reestablish their earlier dominance and substitute Niall McGinn almost caught Jarstein out with a volley after the goalkeeper's clearance had gone straight to the winger.
The home side were more than content with just the two goals, however, as they strengthened their bid to reach next summer's tournament in Russia.