Input, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs (ITTOs) of the Project Management processes from the PMBOK Guide are probably the most dreaded part of PMP Exam preparation. The PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition lists 42 Project Management processes in 5 Process Groups and 9 Knowledge Areas. These 42 processes have a total of 517 ITTOs. Now memorizing these many ITTOs is almost an impossible task. Even if you believe "impossible is nothing", don't expect the exam questions to be so direct as to test your memory. So, the burning question is, "What is the key to taming ITTOs for the PMP Exam?".
Let's step back and think about the exam format for a moment. PMP Exam is an objective-type exam with multiple choice questions. Each question has 4 answer options. There's only one correct answer and you need to identify it. So basically, the answer is right in front of you, staring you in the eyes ! It's not as if you are being asked to fill in the blanks.
If you understand the Project Management processes well enough, all you need to do is to apply some "logic" to either pick 1 correct option or to rule out 3 incorrect options. Trust me, it works. Let me take an example. By the way, this is my first ever self-authored sample PMP Exam question (though don't expect such straight-forward questions on the exam)!
Q. All the following are inputs to Estimate Costs process, EXCEPT:
a. Scope Baseline
b. Project Schedule
c. Human Resource Plan
d. Resource Calendars
Now let's try to answer this question by using some "logic".
a. Scope Baseline: Remember Scope Baseline includes WBS and WBS Dictionary. Under Estimates Costs, you are trying to estimate the cost of activities and work packages in the WBS. So, Scope Baseline is an obvious input.
b. Project Schedule: It tells you when, how many and for how long the resources are needed on your project.
c. Human Resource Plan: It tells you the types of (human) resources needed for each activity, their hourly rates and other cost components associated with them like rewards/recognitions, which might add to your costs.
d. Resource Calendar: We already have the 3 inputs that are required for Estimate Costs. So, option d should be the correct answer.
As you can see in the example above, if you understand what Scope Baseline, Project Schedule and Human Resource Plan contain, and you also understand what Estimate Costs process is trying to achieve, you can apply "logic" to deduce the correct answer.
In conclusion, you are better-off investing your time to understand the ITTOs and the Project Management processes, rather than spending that time memorizing the ITTOs (or even worse, worrying about not being able to memorize them).
This article is an introduction to the series of articles to follow, where I'll be reviewing the ITTOs of every single Project Management process (42 in total) from the PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition. In each article, I'll pick one Project Management process and cover (or should I say uncover) the "logic" behind its ITTOs.
So, look forward to many more articles in the series "Understanding ITTOs for the PMP Exam" ! See you soon ...