How to Remember ITTO for PMP Exam

This week, I got an email from a student, and it read, “One thing that I am dying to know and learn, do you know the BEST way to penetrate and learn this BEAST called ITTO. How to remember ITTO for PMP exam? ITTO is one thing that is and has been from day one that has given me a total nightmare and for some reasons I just can’t learn how to master and learn/remember this huge amount of ITTO. So, I would really appreciate if you can share with me as to how I can master learning this BEAST, please HELP!!!”

I’m sure you may run into similar problems when you are studying for the PMP, so I wrote this article to teach you everything you need to know about ITTOs for your PMP exam.

To start with, ITTOs is the acronym for Inputs, Tools and Techniques, Outputs. It is the “skeleton” of each process. It tells you the “ingredients” you need in order to complete a particular process in the PMBOK guide.

There are 47 processes in the PMBOK 5 guide and each process has 10+ ITTOs. With over 500 ITTOs, how DO you memorize them all?

Sure, if it is a list of 5-10 items, you can create a memory aid or a phrase to help you remember it, but it’s impossible to create an aid for 500 items.

(If you do want a complete list of PMP memory aids and study tips, click here.)

The answer is: DO NOT try to memorize all the ITTOs.

The PMP exam is NOT a memorization exam. It is not practical for PMI to test you on how well you can regurgitate the PMBOK because it does not tell them whether or not you actually understand project management and can manage projects.

Thus, what PMI is looking to test you on is your understanding of the ITTOs.

Step back and look at the big picture for a moment. What are the ITTOs suppose to tell you? They tell you how to complete the process, and what raw inputs you need in order to create the output for the process. Additionally, they also tell you the tools and techniques you need to transform the input into the output.

If you understand what ITTOs are, the “memorization” will come naturally.

Here’s what you need to know about ITTOs:

  • What the ITTO is
  • What the ITTO do
  • Why is it in the particular process

If you can answer these three questions, you understand the ITTO’s purpose in the process. Once you understand the role of the ITTOs, you will understand the function of the process within the project.

A good tip is to look at the ITTO chart for each process in the PMBOK guide and answer these three questions for each process. This will ensure that you understand each ITTO within the PMBOK guide.

You will see the same ITTO in multiple processes, and you do not need to panic. In real life, you will use the same input (e.g. project charter) to create multiple outputs (e.g. project management time & stakeholder management plan). You may also use the same tool or technique (e.g. meetings) to help you accomplish many different goals. The PMBOK is reflective of this, which is why you will see the same ITTO in many processes.

We also have an ITTO mind map that shows how different ITTOs link to each other. Click here to download the ITTO mind map.

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