itto based questions pmp exam

In the PMP exam, you are going to see six types of questions. The types of questions are as follows:

  1. ITTO based questions
  2. Definitions based questions
  3. Situation based questions
  4. Formula based questions
  5. Interpretational questions
  6. Questions on professional and social responsibility

If you ask any PMP aspirant about the scariest questions on the PMP exam, you will most likely get the same answer.

Yes, these are ITTO based questions. ITTO stands for Input, Tools & Techniques, and Output.

Almost all PMP aspirants are scared of ITTO-based questions, and they try to find the easiest way to solve them. This is a never-ending process because there is no shortcut to solving these types of questions.

If you are preparing for the PMP exam, you might be afraid that you may fail the exam as a result.

If the only option you can think of is to memorize all ITTOs blindly; it’s not just you; almost everybody who is taking the PMP certification exam have the same thoughts.

The discussion on “how to solve ITTO based questions” has taken place many times in many PMP related forums, groups, and various blogs. However, it is still being discussed passionately because none of these forums, groups, or blogs deliver the right answer to satisfy the nerves of the PMP aspirants.

Every PMP aspirant is looking for a shortcut to tackle ITTO-based questions.

Anyway, in this blog post, I am going to talk about ITTO-based questions, and then how you should prepare yourself to handle these questions on the PMP exam.

What are ITTO Based Questions?

The PMBOK Guide is divided into knowledge areas. Each has many processes and every process has many inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. 

For example, let us consider the “Create WBS” process. In this process, you create the WBS.

Input is something that you will need to create an output. The input will be a scope management plan, a requirement document, and a scope statement, etc. These plans and documents are necessary to create the WBS; therefore, these are called “inputs.”

The next step is how you will create the WBS. You will use your experience, knowledge, and best judgment and break down the work into manageable parts, which is called the WBS. During this process, you have used your experience and knowledge, and this is your “Tools & Techniques”.

Obviously, this process was to create the WBS, so the output will be the “WBS”. So, you have seen what the Input, Output, and Tools & Techniques are.

A question on ITTOs may look like this:

What is the output of the Create WBS process?

  1. Risk Register
  2. Project Charter
  3. Stakeholder Register
  4. Scope Baseline

Let’s discuss each option one by one.

A risk register is an output of the Identify Risks process, the project charter is an output of the Develop Project Charter process, and the stakeholder register is an output of the Identify Stakeholders process.

So, none of these are correct.

Now we are left with the last option, i.e., scope baseline, but it does not seem to be correct in prima facie. If you dig further into the scope baseline, you will find out that the scope baseline consists of scope statement, WBS, and WBS Dictionary.

Since it consists of WBS and the name of the process is Create WBS, this must be the correct answer.

This is an example of a question based on ITTOs that you are going to see in the exam. The questions may also ask for the input of a process, or they may give you the name of the process and ask you to identify the correct tool and technique for the given process.

How many ITTO based questions will you see on your Exam?

There used to be many direct ITTO-based questions on the PMP exam. I believe an aspirant saw around 10 questions. 

However, these days there are fewer direct questions on ITTOs. A few successful exam takers told me they got two or three on their exam. Although every exam is unique and this number can be greater, I haven’t had any successful exam takers telling me they got many ITTO based questions.

Currently (as of Oct 2019), I believe you may or may not see direct ITTO based questions. However, there will be many indirect questions based on ITTOs, therefore, it is in your best interest to study ITTOs. Answering indirect ITTO-based question is much easier than answering a direct ITTO-based question.

How I Dealt with ITTO Based Questions on my Exam

I did not have a strategy to deal with ITTO-based questions during my PMP exam preparation. Moreover, I didn’t look for any strategy, shortcuts, or tricks to remember ITTOs.

My focus was on my study materials and the PMBOK Guide. I read the books along with the PMBOK Guide. I drew some memory maps to visualize the process flow and find the errors in it. This helped me understand ITTOs and the process flow better.

I repeated this process many times, and in the end, I was very confident in solving ITTO-based questions.

How Should you Prepare Yourself for ITTO-Based Questions?

The PMBOK Guide has 49 processes, and each process has many ITTOs. It is difficult to memorize all those ITTOs, however you can understand these ITTO easily as the relationship among ITTOs is logical and can be interpreted easily.

Whenever I visit any PMP exam related forum or blog, I see that many PMP aspirants are asking questions such as:

  • How do I memorize or remember ITTOs?
  • How do I solve questions based on ITTOs?
  • Is it necessary to memorize ITTO to pass the PMP exam?

In different places, you will find various suggestions, tricks, and tips, but here I am going to tell you how you should deal with ITTOs.

Before going any further, let me ask you a few questions:

  • Is it possible for everyone to memorize all ITTOs?
  • Does the PMI want you to memorize these ITTOs to pass the exam?
  • Why does the PMI ask questions based on ITTOs in the exam?

The PMBOK Guide, 6th edition has ten knowledge areas, and these knowledge areas have 49 processes. These processes have hundreds of Inputs, Tools & Techniques and Outputs and I doubt that every one of you can memorize all these ITTOs.

Also, I don’t think the purpose of the PMP exam is to test your memorization power. PMI did not design ITTOs to be memorized, and if you are doing this to pass your exam, then you are exploiting the whole certification process, and most importantly, you are ignoring the logic behind these ITTOs.

You may wonder what is the purpose of ITTO based questions and why does the PMI want you to answer these questions?

The real intention behind ITTO based questions is to check your understanding of:

  • How do the processes flow?
  • How are the processes interrelated to one another?
  • How do the processes depend on one another?
  • How do the processes affect one another?

Therefore, you must take some time to think about it, study the processes in the PMBOK Guide as many times as you can, and visualize the relationships among the processes.

In the earlier example where the question is asking about the output of the Create WBS process, although you may guess that the output is WBS, this option is not given. The given option is scope baseline, which consists of WBS, WBS dictionary, and scope statement.

Therefore, the answer is scope baseline. Likewise, there will be many ITTO-based questions on the exam where answers will not be clear.

Read the PMBOK Guide, understand the concepts, and try to visualize the process. Understand each ITTO and think about why we need them in that particular process.  Try to create an ITTO chart on an A3-size paper randomly and repeat it every day. It will help you remember the location of each ITTO.

You can also create flashcards for ITTOs and play with them in your free time.

I strongly recommend you create flashcards for process groups and the knowledge areas map available on page 25 of the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition, and try to arrange them as given on page 25. If you are able to do so, you can get many answers correct in the PMBOK Guide.

If you follow the above guideline, understanding ITTOs is not as difficult as they seem.


ITTO based questions constitute a considerable part of the exam questions, and they can help you to score high marks if answered correctly. Unfortunately, many PMP aspirants do not try to understand the logic behind these ITTO based questions and either avoid them, or try to memorize them blindly.

Please note that these ITTOs are not developed to be memorized; they are created to make you understand the project management process flow. You are dismissing all logic behind the ITTOs and devaluing the PMP certification process if you try to memorize or avoid them. Moreover, memorizing ITTOs will not help you much, as there are fewer direct ITTO-based questions than indirect ITTO-based questions.

Do you find ITTO based question difficult to solve? What strategy are you planning to use for these types of questions? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Speak Your Mind

  • Should your target price ($110000) not = Target Cost ($10k) + Target Profit ($10K)
    IE 0 digit missing from Target Cost?
    Makes this calc a lot more workable then.
    Ie answer d as my calc says it should be $124 286
    Did I go wrong somewhere?

  • Please read the sample question below and try to answer properly.

    Question: The Seller delivers a fixed price plus incentive fee project at a cost of $ 90000. The terms of the contract are a ceiling price of $120,000 , a target cost of $10000, a target profit of $10000 and a target price of $110000. The Share ratio is 70/30 . Find the final price ( Total reimbursement).

    a. $93000
    b. $96000
    d. None of the Above.

    • Supposing a target cost of $100,000 (the amount of $10000 doesn’t make much sense in comparison with other contract terms), PTA is 114,285.7 but it’s not relevant in the answer. If final cost in $90000, the price should depend on financial incentive agreed, so better answer in none of the above. I really do not understand the assumption in brackets.

  • This is one of the best (most direct and truthful) responses I have read (or heard) to address my concerns about the ITTOs. It addressed exactly how I felt and how most people feel. It addressed my initials thoughts especially, “There must be no other alternative but to memorize the ITTOs.” The “best” response was addressed by this post, but it was buried “understand the ITTO and the process flow”. Thank you

  • Hello Fahad,

    “Change request” ideally should be in “Execution” and “Monitoring and control” phase in the Project than

    Why is “change requests” being input to “Identify Stakeholder’s” in Initiation phase where the Project is just begun and in Planning stage in “Define Activity”, “Develop Risk plan”, “Plan Procurement management” if this is the case than change requests can be input or output to any of 49 Project Management Processes than why it is not so?

    Do let know your views on the above.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Mehul Parekh

  • Nice Input Fahad. I am planning to sit for exam by next month end. Now practicing multiple mock tests. Could you send me link of some toughest PMP mock sets, please?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Hi ,

    Try the following method to remember the NUMBER of Inputs, tools and techniques, out puts
    Eg: Stake holder Management = 431, 432, 435, 435
    These four numbers tell you that there are four process groups in stake holder management
    and 431 says there are 4 inputs ,3 tools & techniques and 1 output. Similarly for the others.

  • PMBOK says PMIS is a tool for some of the Project ?ntegration Management Processes but it is also a part of EES and EES is an Input for most of the 47 Processes. So what can we say about PMIS? ?s it a “tool” or “input”? If both, than what is difference between a “tool” and an “input/output”? Is there any other example like PMIS, having both characteristics of a tool and an input/output at the same time?

    • PMIS is an enterprise level application, which can be as an input as well as the tool and techniques.

      One example of PMIS is maximo’s eBEAM.

  • Dear Fahad,

    Thank you for your valuable comments. Its helpful. I am preparing for PMP for last one month. Now, inputs, outputs, tools I need to understand from PMBOK, that is fine. But i am finding questions in mock where exact ouput or input term needs to be identified. This i am finding difficult. Any tip?

    Also, how much i should score in mock tests before applying for the exam?

    Sometimes I am scoring 65%, sometimes above 70%, and sometimes 80%. These tests are from various downloaded question sets of around 100 to 200 questions.

    Please let me know.


    • If you are serious about the exam I would suggest you buy a good PMP exam simulator and practice it. Usually free question banks are not updated to the current syllabus and don’t offer any support.

      To pass the PMP exam, you should try to aim for more than 80 to 85% on mock tests.

  • Excellent explanation. Love it!
    My view (pretty aligned with what you have written) is as follows….One must “know” the Project Management Processes so they can apply them in real world to do an excellent job of Project management….getting Certification is pretty much to declare their interest and focus area.

  • Dear F.Usmani,
    I’m going to take exam on Dec 05, 2015. I need to study thoroughly. I’ve browsed 100s of post in recent days/months. Yours (post) give me the genuine courage to hit the bulls eye. I appreciate and admire your willingness to help PMP aspirants. I would like to go through your all the posts/articles.
    Please compile your articles/posts and relevent material into a book – It’s going to be a big hit.
    Thanks again.

  • Dear Fahad

    You have really explained explicitly that ONE has to UNDERSTAND the concepts behind these processes, NOT to byheart through memory for a memory test!!

  • Can anyone throw some light on the distribution of questions? I want to know what % of the questions will require mathematical calculations. Thank you.

  • Hi there,

    I recently took the PMI test and I have to admit, I failed. There were a lot of ITTO question and the truth is I did not worked a lot
    on memorizing the ITTO’s. Athough I understand that maybe PMI doesn’t want you to memorize the ITTO, whereas to understand
    the relationship between them and the process, I tell you I would have had a better chance of passing the test if I would have memorized
    them. So my advice…..know them.

    • Hello Herold,

      I’m sorry to hear this. I hope you will pass the exam next time.

      In the exam there are many questions based on ITTO and that is why I emphasize on reading the PMBOK times as many times as you can.

      Good luck for next time.

  • Hi
    Any project change request get approved under Project Integration Management so need to update project management plan but why we update Project Management Plan under Project Monitoring and control process also.

    • Yes, there are few. If you have iPhone or any other smart phone, you can search on the application store.

      This is what I did while I was preparing for my exam.

  • Hi Fahad,

    1. I have understood the I/Ps and O/Ps based on the PMBOK 4 process logically these are pretty easy to remember once you have the flow in mind.

    2. However, the TTs are difficult. I am not some one who would actually learn them up. Is there a way I can remember them?

    3. Also, presently I am studing from PMBOK 4 based books Andy Crowe and Head First.
    Do you think I will need to restudy the ITTO. Have the ITTO s in PMBOK 5 changed for the processes.

    4. I liked the way, they have incorporated Development of Schedule, Cost and Scope Management Plan in the existing frame work but I am worried that the ITTOs of the remaining existing processes (which are same or undergone a name cahnge) are also tweaked.

    Please throw some light on the points above if you have gone thru PMBOK5.

    Also I dont see that I would be appearing for PMP before JAN 2014, do you want me to register with PMI right away now. Is the joining fee just once in life time or every year.


    • Hello Sankalp,

      Forget about remembering anything. Just continue to read and understand the concept.

      To understand the ITTO, you must read the PMBOK Guide.

      There are no major changes in ITTOs in the new version of the PMBOK Guide.

      You can join PMI any time, but I recommend you to do it before you apply for the PMP exam because it will save you a lot of money.

      You have to pay yearly renewal fee to PMI to continue your membership.

  • Im currently taking the PMP course and Im worried about the ITTO.
    I need you to help me clarify something. we have 9 knowledge areas and 5 process groups
    and 42 processes. in each 42 processes we have ITTO? can the ITTO be called a process within the processes? and does each process group has phases?

    Im a bit confused… as i was reading I noticed there are phases for each process groups and each process groups has 42 processes which they also have ITTO.
    should each process group have all the phases? phases (preparation, start up, feasibility , planning, implementation, close down).

    Sorry for the bulky questions

    • ITTO stands for Input, Tools & Techniques and Output. The PMBOK Guide defines the project processes in terms of these ITTOs because every process has some inputs, and these inputs require some operations (Tools & Techniques) to give some Output.

      For example, let us say you are in process of developing the Project Charter. Now just think that what you will need to develop the Project Charter – you will need the project statement of work, contract documents and the business case etc. These are Inputs to Develop Project Charter process.

      Now, how you will create the Project Charter- of course you will use your expert judgment to create it. Therefore, expert judgment is a Tools & Techniques for this process.

      So, at the end what you will get? You will get the Project Charter, which is the output of the process.

      Hope this answers first part of your question.

      Every project has five processes; e.g. Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling and Closing. To understand the process flow, please refer the page-42 on the PMBOK Guide 4th Edition.

      This answers second part of your question.

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