PMP® Exam Tip: OPAs are very common inputs

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157 I counted up all of the inputs, tools/techniques, and outputs (ITTOs) associated with the 42 processes of project management, according to the ANSI standard of project management – PMI’s Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 4th Edition® (PMBOK®).  Wow!  There are 517 listed!

For the aspiring test-taker, aimed at conquering the PMP® Exam®, this number might be daunting!  However, relax…  You do not need to memorize 517 ITTOs to pass the exam.  There are two simple reasons.  First, you don’t have to make 100% on the exam to pass! The second reason is that 9 specific ITTOs actually constitute 165 of teh 517 occurences!  For example, an input that is very common, Organizational Process Assets (OPAs), is used as an input 34 times in the 42 processes.

Andy Crowe, in his book The PMP® Exam, How to Pass on Your First Try, defines an Organizational Process Asset as “All historical information or knowledge that an organization has at its disposal, which may be used to help future projects.  Examples … include templates, forms, research results, work breakdown structures, quality standards, benchmarks, provious plans, contracts, etc.”

Equipped with this understanding of an OPA, let’s investigate which 34 of the 42 processes use this historical information.  It makes sense that initiating a project and planning a project would certainly benefit from historical information.

  • 2 out of 2 Initiating processes use OPAs as inputs.
  • 18 out of 20 Planning processes use OPAs as inputs.

As the project is executed, controlled, and closed, OPAs also come into play as inputs as best practices and lessons learned.  OPAs provide a basis for understanding how to assess impacts and make adjustments to in-flight projects as problems and change requests occur:

  • 6 out of 8 Executing processes use OPAs as inputs.
  • 7 out of 10 Monitoring and Controlling processes use OPAs as inputs.
  • 1 out of 2 Closing processes use OPAs as inputs.

Understanding the nature of OPAs and the fact that they appear so frequently in the process framework is an aid while sitting for the PMP® Exam®.  Whether they are called lessons learned, best practices, historical information, templates, forms, or standards, remember that OPAs are used as inputs almost across the board in the process framework.  Armed with this knowledge tidbit, your educated guessing on otherwise vague exam questions will be boosted tremendously!

There are more common inputs, tools, and outputs to learn for the exam.  Keep an eye on SavvyPM for more “common” ITTOs in the near furture!