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We are re-posting this blog, which we had posted a while back on the old blog site.


A while back I had a young lady wanting to meet me in our offices in Dubai to discuss with me the possibility of SUKAD using her techniques on how to get PMP Exam Prep class participants memorize the ITTO. Although we are totally against memorization and even more against memorizing ITTO, I explained to her my position, especially that we would not be interested in such techniques. She insisted on meeting, and we agreed to meet.

فيديو بالعربي عن موضوع المقالThe Meeting

The following are notes related to that meeting:

  1. First, for those who do not know what ITTO is (are): ITTO is an abbreviation for Input, Tools & Techniques, and Output.
  2. Per the 4th edition of PMI’s PMBOK Guide, there are 9 knowledge areas, 5 process groups, and 42 processes that are mapped to these knowledge areas and process groups.
  3. Each of these processes has a few inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs.
  4. Per the above, there is a large numbers of ITTO: I did not count but possibly more than 600 hundreds specific inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs … imagine the waste of time to memorize these.
  5. Earlier we said we are against memorization techniques since that is an indication that someone does not know project management and to pass an exam they need to depend on memorization. Experienced project managers can pass the PMP without memorizing much more than a few basic formulas, if they do not know them by heart.
  6. Back to the young lady: she had less than 7 years total experience and barely 3 years of project management experience … yet she was already a PMP and teaching PMP classes.
  7. She developed her memorization techniques because she struggled to memorize them when she was preparing and also finding out that “her students” are also struggling with memorization of ITTO.
  8. I started quizzing her starting with (a) can you explain to me what is the project life cycle and names of project phases? Her answer was Initiating, Planning, etc. mixing process groups with project phases … when we explained to her the difference; first she did not believe so we had to show her the PMBOK (that she is supposedly teaching people). I explained to her that the process groups repeat in every phase and that was a shock …
  9. Then I explained to her that our course mentions ITTO only once – 20 minutes discussion – and we never talk about the Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Ouputs, of the individual processes. She did not believe us – so we had to show her our manual.

A-Guide-to-the-Project-Management-Body-of-KnowledgeIs this a limited problem?

Is this lady unique? Was she not competent in project management and in leading project management training classes? Was she even a competent project manager? I do not need to answer all of these questions but one thing for sure: she is not alone nor unique. We have met many like her.WeI have reviewed the manuals for many PMP Exam Prep Courses and they look like Cut and Paste from the PMBOK with slides showing the ITTO tables from the PMBOK and possibly more than 80% of the slides on ITTO. If PMI would be auditing some of those providers, if nothing else they should cite them for copyrights violations …
Usually the first thing we tell the participants of our classes: “You will see references online and in PMP prep sites encouraging you to memorize the ITTO’s … IGNORE THEM … you can pass the PMP with experience, logic and a bit of analysis.”
I also give them examples on how to analyze to understand rather than memorize. This is an approach, we in SUKAD and our PMP Exam Prep partner RMC Project Management are known for.
SUKAD has three PMP Related Courses that we typically offer in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Lebanon, and at clients’ location in any country. These

  • Fundamentals of Project Management: in this FPM course, we do not even cover the PMBOK chapters in sequence … we conduct the course following the process groups and we discuss ITTO only twice: once to share with the participants the above statement and the second time to explain to them what ITTO are and how they do not need to memorize them.
  • PMP Exam Preparation: this is a course from our partner RMC Project Management and in this course the focus is on Rita Mulcahy approach, such as tips and tricks, etc.
  • PMP Exam Prep Simulation: in this course we focus on the exam, practicing, analyzing, learning …
  • The only memorization we ask our participants are formulas (only a few) and even here we give them techniques to recall the formulas instead of memorizing them.


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