How To Remember ITTOs of All 49 PMBOK Processes?


ITTOsQuick note from Shiv: I’m happy to announce that this post was included in one of the PMP books published by Cornelius Fichtner recently. Yay! 🙂

Trying to remember ITTOs (short for ‘Inputs, Tools and Techniques, and Outputs’) is most stressful task for anyone preparing for PMP exam.

For my study I was trying out different means of doing so, including mnemonics, mind maps and so on – till I realized that it is a futile exercise.

There are 49 processes (much lesser when I prepared for my exam) and on an average say 10 ITTOs per process, making it around 500 ITTOs (I haven’t ventured out to count really).

So, I went around various online forums looking for a solution and discussed with several people who have passed PMP.

What I learned is that it is not necessary to try to remember all of them.

As I thought through more, it made sense to me. PMI wants to test whether we have internalized the processes and what it takes to accomplish certain project management activities.

PMI’s intention is not to test whether we can remember every input, tool and technique, and output from 49 processes.

PMI only tests if we are able to apply our understanding of a particular process.

With this realization I went about understanding each process, what is it supposed to accomplish, how it relates to previous and next process in sequence (in the same Knowledge Areas as well as across other Process Groups and Knowledge Areas).

Next, I found another nice way to understand ITTOs.

That is to understand the Data Flow Diagram of every process.

In PMBOK you will find a DFD at the beginning of each process. It shows where does the input for the current process come from and which processes do the outputs go into. This is a great way to understand the flow of project management work in a process across PGs and KAs.

A caution though – don’t try to do this for too many processes at one time. One way to approach PMP study is to take one process at a time and study it across all of the study resources you have chosen (PMBOK, PMPrepCast, PMESN blog notes, Rita, HeadFirst…– but hopefully not more than 3, for the best returns on your investment of time, efforts, and money.)

The best way that has worked for me is to study DFD as part of the study of a particular process itself.

For instance, during my first round I focused on understanding one process every day, so I would spend a good amount of time on DFD of that process. Just understand and them move on, don’t stress yourself to remember it.

You will be able to deduce it quite easily once you do a couple of rounds of study.

During the exam I realized that our knowledge of ITTO is tested in a way that if you have understood the process you will be able to deduce the right option among the 4 options.

In essence, the 3 ways to remember ITTOs –

  1. Understand the process and its preceding and succeeding process in the KA as well as across PG and KA
  2. Understand DFD of every process as part of its study, do not skip it. It might look a bit overwhelming at the beginning, but once you spend few minutes with it, it starts to make sense.
  3. As you study a process, think how you can apply the same to your own project (or previous projects). If possible even implement what is possible at your work. This practical aspect of the study makes it quite easy to remember the ITTOs.

To summarize,

My suggestion is NOT to try and remember ITTOs of 49 processes, it will stress you out. Rote way learning is a stresser.

Understand the process, its DFD, its relation to other processes across KAs and PGs – this should be sufficient to tackle any ITTO related questions on the exam.

Do you want to use the same PMP preparation products that I used to pass my PMP exam? Click here to get them and a PMP prep course I am giving away for Free!

Note –

You might find these posts useful in your PMP exam preparation:

Do not hesitate to write to me at(at)shiv@pmexamsmartnotes(dot)com if you need any help with your exam preparation.

Good luck!

Cheers and all the best,
Shiv

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Denise Hicks June 2, 2015, 2:14 am

    I just purchased my PMbok 5th edition online and was searching other materials, what does KA and PGs stand for?

    Reply
    • Shiv Shenoy June 2, 2015, 1:18 pm

      Hi Denise,
      You need not have purchased PMBOK separately, by being PMI’s member you could have got it for free – in addition to a discount on exam fee.

      KA stands for Knowledge Area and PG stands for Process Groups. Pls refer to table 3-1 in page 61 of PMBOK-5 to understand how they are related to each other.

      What would be best for you is to go through ‘Start Here’ menu option above. It explains how you can get the most out of PMESN and Fb community.

      Let me know (email/Skype) if you need any help with exam preparation.

      Good luck!
      Shiv

      Reply
  • Muhammad Zulqarnain March 12, 2014, 10:17 am

    Thanks Shiv its really informative for me as my exam date is fix and only one month to go for exam thank you very much

    Reply
    • Shivshanker Shenoy March 12, 2014, 11:37 am

      Thanks Muhammad, good luck for the exam. Go ace it!

      Reply

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