A veritable tome of knowledge, the PMBOK Guide has evolved over the years. In its current avatar as the fifth edition, it runs into over 600 pages (of which nearly 50 pages are dedicated to appendix X1 and X2 tracing the history of this guide itself). Though a lot of content over the years has been streamlined, still it is a humongous work that anyone preparing for the PMP examination is expected to review.
The challenge is compounded by the fact that there are 47 processes across 10 knowledge areas and 5 process groups. With the increase in the number of processes (as compared to the previous editions) comes the challenge of understanding the various inputs, outputs, tools and techniques.
Compiled here are some interesting statistics:
|PMBOK Guide Item||Count|
|Tools & Techniques||209|
|Unique set of Inputs and Outputs||< 75|
|Unique set of Tools & Techniques||< 120|
As can be seen the combined set of inputs and outputs (the items) contains 409 entries. Since these items are shared across processes, the unique set is less than 75. With this complexity how should one go about understanding the vast matrix of processes, inputs and outputs?
We present here a tool that helps save many hours of preparation for the PMP aspirant. We hope you will enjoy it too!
Study the sample shown below and if you like what you see, go ahead and download (instructions provided at end of article). It is FREE after all!
Understanding the Process Input-Output Combination Matrix
Fig: Sample matrix(download full matrix as per instructions given below)
This matrix is packed with information. At first glance, it appears too noisy. Follow the guidelines below, and you will start to appreciate the simplicity behind it.
- PROCESS names are color coded (by process groups) and form the column heading
- Each process is also marked with the KNOWLEDGE AREA and the PROCESS GROUP it belongs to
- ITEMs in the first column represent the process inputs and outputs
- Any item may be an output ('o') of a process and an input ('i') into another process
- An 'io' indicates that the item is an input and the updates of the input are the output. This is generally the case with Organizational Process Assets (OPA), Project Documents and Project Management Plan
- To understand how a particular ITEM is used, go across the row and read the 'i', 'o', and 'io' and the process names off of that.
For example: Risk Register is an output of Identify Risks process and is an input to Develop Schedule, Estimate Costs and other processes.
- To understand the inputs and outputs for a process, go down the column of that particular process and read off the ITEMs
For example: In the Monitor and Control Project Work column, the
- Inputs are - Organizational Process Assets, Project Management Plan, Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF)
- Outputs are - Project Documents Updates, Project Management Plan Updates, Change Requests
What do these mean?
- # of impacted processes - This column shows how many processes are impacted by this item.
For example: Project Schedule Network Diagram impacts 2 processes - it is an output of Sequence Activities process, and is an input to Develop Schedule process.
- # of process inputs - This indicates the number of inputs for this process.
For example: Identify Risks process has a total of 13 inputs.
- # of process outputs - This indicates the number of outputs for this process.
For example: Control Quality process has a total of 8 outputs.
Patterns to your rescue
If you carefully analyze, you will spot some patterns for the inputs and outputs. Typically, a collection of inputs and / or outputs will be repeated across a set of processes. Recognizing this will help in easy recollection and understanding. Here are some patterns to remember.
(Note: Here <KA> means Knowledge Areas, such as those represented by Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Procurement, etc., with the exception of Integration.)
(Covers 8 processes)
|All Integration KA processes||
|Plan <KA> Management
(Covers 9 processes)
|Planning and Executing processes within each <KA>||
Option 1: To download a 2-page compact matrix
Click on PROCESS INPUT-OUTPUT COMBINATION MATRIX and save the file
Option 2: To download a single-page Poster and other freebies
- Click on FREE menu item on the top navigation bar
- Select PMP Resources, and download the Combination Input-Output Matrix (PDF file) or the one-page Poster
Your suggestions will help us improve. Do let us know what you think.
Copyright Notice: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is published by Project Management Institute, USA, 2013
Process Input-Output Combination Matrix not endorsed by PMI.