pmp itto mandatory

Is ITTO mandatory for PMP?

PMP is most popular certification in the area of Project Management. As its elaborated subject based on PMBOK (Project Management Body of knowledge), there are many questions on the way PMBOK is written and what is important for PMP and what is not. PMBOK is comprehensive and also called guide on place of book as it covers Project Management without boundaries of different industry.

One of its component is Input, output & tools and techniques for different processes in it. Across forums this question is asked in one or the other manner that Is ITTO mandatory? Do one need to remember it? How many ITTO questions are asked in PMP? In this article today, we shall try to understand with respect to these questions on ITTO

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PMBOK Structure

 PMBOK Structure

PMP exam is a well-structured exam by PMI. It is based on Knowledge areas and Process groups which are explained systematically in PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) guide.

Full PMBOK is distributed across 47 process which are horizontally distributed into 10 Knowledge areas like Scope management, time management, Cost management etc.. and vertically distributed across 5 Process Groups i.e. Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring & Controlling and Closing. Exam questions percentage is also distributed across these Process Groups as below, summing up to total 100%:

  • Initiation 13%
  • Planning 24%
  • Executing 30%
  • Monitoring and Controlling 25%
  • Closing 8%

Each of the 47 process is explained in PMBOK with a set of Input, T&T and Output. Above picture also depicts the same in the form of hierarchy where ITTO is at the core.

ITTO Importance

As we have seen in the last section, ITTO is the core of the subject. Each and every process is defined in terms of these three components

ITTO Importance

This makes ITTO very important part of PMBOK as well as PMP as exam. To understand the correlation among different processes and understanding the individual processes, it’s important to understand its ITTO. Different surveys and lessons learnt about PMP says that almost 35-40% of the questions in exam will rotate around ITTO.

That’s the reason ITTO becomes important two dimensionally – Understanding as well as exam

ITTO for PMP exam

Preparation for exam is a focused approach and one has to cover all the Knowledge Areas, process Groups and processes to have good hold on the PMBOK topics. Generally aspirants refer multiple reference guides/books for PMP and not confined to PMBOK but that is to make the life easy. PMBOK becomes little theoretical at times and another book in parallel helps in preparation.


ITTO is core as we discussed but what should be the approach to understand/learn/remember ITTO? Is it mandatory to remember all the ITTO for 47 processes? Answer is big NO

ITTO and the questions related to ITTO in PMP will not test how good you are at cramming the ITTOs of so many different processes rather it will test whether you understand the need of an ITTO in a particular process. Options given will look confusing but the approach to answer should be like this:

Approach to an ITTO Question

There will be enough hints to understand three important things about the asked question i.e.

  1. What Knowledge Area (KA) this belongs
  2. What Process group it belongs
  3. What process this question is referring to

Once you are able to drill down to this level the last question will be based on your understanding about ITTO for that process and little bit thought process on what can be its ITTO being in say ‘X’ knowledge area and ‘Y’ process group

  1. What can be the ITTO for this process asked in question

Based on this you should be able to eliminate most of the options which may not belong to identified Knowledge area or Process Group or Process itself. Remaining options (generally two close options will be left) are something you need to put your understanding about Process and its ITTO to reach to the final answer you choose

Things to memorize

  • There are few processes which have certain ITTO as distinguishers i.e. these are not common ITTOs and not shared across many processes. Those will be easy to remember and keep in mind as “trend Setters” as I name them. You may find certain questions in the exam which test these kind of ITTO knowledge.
  • Memorize the ITTO as a common object and not as separate input, output and Tools & techniques. This will help you in keeping the link among input, output and Tools & techniques active in your mind so that you can correlate

Data flow diagram

Every process has a data flow diagram in PMBOK which explains the source of inputs it takes and also destination of the outputs it gives. It’s important to understand this thoroughly and not remembering it thoroughly. Once you understand it you will be forced to go back forth from source and destination processes and this exercise will place the right pointers in the mind.

This will make a big web in the mind which will relate many processes with each other. Even if you are not able to remember much, it’s absolutely fine. Understanding why this input should be coming from a particular process and output going to a particular process will do half of the job for you. In exam, mind will pop up that understanding when needed


ITTO is definitely mandatory for PMP but no mandatory for remembering like crazy all the ITTO. Attempt shouldn’t be to memorize rather understand the interlacing of ITTO among processes. The focus of exam also not to judge or evaluate the remembrance rather it’s to check on the understanding one has acquired. There is no shortcut though to PMP without understanding ITTO.

This effort will also help Project Managers when they will try and implement the same in their project for one or more processes they will be using. As Project Managers or as PMP aspirants, our effort should always be to make use of our knowledge gained in projects and share the best practices and lessons learnt to the Project Management community. 

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About Dharmalingam N

Dharmalingam.N holds a master degree in Business Administration and writes on a wide range of topics ranging from technology to business analysis. He has a background in Relationship Management. Some of the topics he has written about and that have been published include; project management, business analysis and customer engagement.

1 thought on “Is ITTO mandatory for PMP?”

  1. Ismail Anvar Badhusha

    Good Day!

    Is there any simple way to remember the correlations of ITTOs (PMBOK V6)? I’m keep searching but unfortunately couldn’t found anything.

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