To start with, you don’t need to memorize all of the PMP 5th Edition ITTO (Inputs, Tools and Techniques, Outputs) for all 47 processes. In fact, if you tried, you may drive yourself crazy. There are roughly 7 ITTO per process, which amounts to over 300 ITTOs altogether.

Additionally, the purpose of the PMP exam is to test your understand of project management concepts, not your memorization skills. What you do need to know for your PMP exam is what each of the ITTOs does, when to use it, and how they relate to one another.

It’s natural to feel a bit of anxiety around the ITTOs. Many candidates do when they see it for the first time, but if you are able to translate the ITTO into words, you will start to see that PMI is trying to tell a story with those complex diagrams.  

What is an ITTO?

The ITTOs are the building blocks of the processes. They tell you everything you need in order to complete the process and what the end result will be. They are a standard for how processes are developed and executed.

An ITTO analogy that will help you understand how they work.

You can think of ITTO as cooking. The ingredients that you are cooking with are your inputs. The methods that you are cooking the ingredients are your tools and techniques. The final dish that you get is your output.

For example, you mix flour, eggs and sugar (your inputs), bake it for 30 minutes (your technique), and you get a cake (your output).

In the project management context, you use your project charter (your input) to work with your experts (your technique) to create your project management plan (your output).

Whenever you don’t understand a concept in the PMBOK, relate it to an event in your own life, and you will remember it much faster.

How do you read an ITTO chart?

Let’s use the Develop Project Charter process as an example. If the chart below was translated into words, this is what it will tell you:

In order to create the project charter, you need to work with experts (who can be SMEs, sponsors, clients, or consultants) and look through the existing project documents, including the project statement of work, business case, and any agreements you have with your client or sponsor. Sometimes, the experts may not agree with each other, so you need to facilitate the discussion and keep the conversation focussed.

You also need to take into account the existing political environment and systems (aka Enterprise Environmental Factors) within your organization, as well as the existing policies, procedures, and processes (aka Organizational Process Assets). Sometimes, the environment that you are working in will limit or expand your options.

develop project charter process ITTO

See? When the ITTO is translated into plain English, it is much easier to understand. Now it’s your turn. The next time you are studying, translate the process ITTO into plain English to help you understand what the story it’s trying to tell is.

Look at the bigger picture beyond the ITTOs

Although you do not need to memorize all of the ITTOs, you do need to understand them, and naturally, you will be able to derive what they are.

Any of the 47 process can all be decomposed into its ITTOs. To understand which ITTO you need for a process, you need to understand what the process does. Thankfully, the names of the process is a dead giveaway. For example, the Develop Project Charter process develops the project charter.

Once you know what you are trying to achieve in the process, think about what you would need in a real life situation to that goal. For example, what did you need to develop your project charters on projects you’ve been involved in? The answer is probably agreements, SOW and business cases.

You can even look at the processes from an even higher level by relating them to the process that comes before it and the process that comes after it. When you start to see that the processes are just telling the story of how the project is completed, you will naturally understand the ITTOs.

By looking at the bigger picture of what the process is trying to accomplish will help you be able to naturally derive what the ITTO for a process is without memorization.

How to the ITTOs relate to one and another?

Since the project’s processes are closely linked to one another, the ITTOs of the processes are also closely related. The output ITTO from one process can be the input ITTO for another process.

To understand the relationships between ITTOs, download the PMP ITTO Mind Map here.

Are all of the ITTOs unique?

No. While some ITTOs are unique to a particular process, other ITTOs are used in more than one process. For example, you can use expert judgment as a “technique” to help you develop your project charter and develop your project management plan as well.

Some recurring ITTOs are below:

Inputs

  • Project management plan
  • Enterprise Environmental Factors (e.g. PMIS)
  • Organizational Process Assets

Tools & Techniques

  • Meetings
  • Expert judgement
  • Analytical techniques

Outputs

  • Change requests
  • Management plan updates
  • Work performance information

Do I need to use all of the ITTOs to complete my process in real life?

No. The PMBOK guide must be comprehensive so it includes all the ITTOs to cover every scenario you may meet on your projects. However, in a real life situation, you need to decide which ITTOs to use and tailor them to suit the needs of your project.

In a similar fashion, you also do not need all 47 processes to complete a project in real life. For example, if your project does not use vendors, you can skip all of the procurement processes.

Where do I get an PMP 5th Edition ITTO Spreadsheet?

You are in luck – download one below. I also want to challenge you to create your own because learning by doing is the best way to learn.