Project Portfolio Management Software Buyers Guide
Last updated: June 01, 2023
Managing multiple active projects and keeping track of overall portfolio performance can be a daunting challenge for organizations. It requires consolidating project information, aligning initiatives with strategic goals, and optimizing resource allocation to ensure successful project outcomes.
Fortunately, project portfolio management (PPM) software provides a solution to these challenges. PPM software streamlines project management by providing a centralized platform for prioritizing and managing projects based on an organization’s strategic goals. It offers managers a high-level view of ongoing projects, enabling them to identify risks and opportunities, allocate resources effectively, and make informed decisions for optimized portfolio performance.
However, selecting the right PPM tool can be complex for project-intensive organizations. With a variety of options available, it is important to identify a solution that aligns with the specific needs and goals of the organization. To help you navigate the process of selecting the best PPM software, we have created this comprehensive buyer's guide that provides in-depth information and guidance on choosing the right project portfolio management solution.
What is Project Portfolio Management Software?
Project portfolio management software is an enterprise-level solution designed to help organizations manage multiple projects simultaneously. The program provides project managers and business leaders with an overhead view of project portfolios, allowing them to track progress, allocate resources, and monitor budgeting.
It combines a whole suite of advanced features to help users align all the projects within a portfolio with their business strategy. By consolidating data from various systems into a centralized location, PPM software enables businesses to optimize resource management and make informed decisions about which projects to pursue, prioritize, and terminate.
To sum up, project portfolio management tools give organizations the visibility and control to optimize their project portfolios, maximize ROI, and achieve their strategic goals.
Is Project Portfolio Management Software Different from Generic Project Management Tools?
Project portfolio management software and generic project management tools differ in focus and scope. While generic project management tools are designed to manage individual projects, project portfolio management applications are intended to manage a portfolio of projects at an organizational level.
Project portfolio management software provides a more holistic view of all the projects in an organization, enabling the prioritization and allocation of resources based on strategic goals and objectives. It also helps users identify and manage risks and dependencies across multiple projects.
Traditional project management tools, on the other hand, are valuable for managing individual projects and ensuring their successful completion, but they may not provide the necessary visibility and insight required to optimize the overall project portfolio.
In our Features section below, we will dive into the specific functionalities of project portfolio management programs and how they can help organizations optimize their project performance across the portfolio.
Why Do Organizations Need Project Portfolio Management Software?
Managing project portfolios without proper tools can be overwhelming, especially for organizations with multiple projects running simultaneously across different departments or teams. That's why project portfolio management software is an essential investment.
In this section, we will explore the key benefits of using project portfolio management tools and highlight some compelling reasons why project-intensive organizations should consider investing in this technology.
1. Improved Decision Making
Project portfolio management software can help users drive better business decisions through its comprehensive reporting and analytics features. It provides real-time insights into project performance and portfolio health, allowing managers to filter out projects that don’t align with an organization’s business strategy.
2. Better Resource Allocation
PPM tools enable project managers to allocate resources efficiently by keeping track of all projects in one place. This software provides real-time visibility into resource utilization, enabling team leads to identify over-allocated or underutilized resources across the entire portfolio.
3. Centralized Data Management
This software consolidates all portfolio-related data into one centralized location, providing teams with easy real-time access to the latest information. This approach saves time and reduces the risk of errors, leading to better project outcomes.
4. Improved Risk Management
Businesses can rely on project portfolio management programs to assess risks across the project portfolio. The software identify and assess potential risks and provide timely notifications to project managers, enabling them to take corrective actions promptly.
5. Enhanced Collaboration
PPM software provides teams with a shared workspace to collaborate, communicate, and share project-related information. It fosters better collaboration among team members, enhances communication, and promotes teamwork.
6. Better Budget Management
Project portfolio management tools are designed to provide a transparent view of all aspects of the organization, allowing for efficient resource allocation and accurate project estimates. This enables businesses to balance cost and value effectively and reduce overspending.
7. Streamlined Project Tracking
These software solutions empower organizations to track project progress in real-time, providing a holistic view of project status, deadlines, and milestones. It enables managers to align their initiatives with business goals, monitor project health, and identify areas that require attention.
Common Features Needed in Project Portfolio Management Tools
As organizations strive to optimize their project portfolios, project portfolio management (PPM) tools have become increasingly important. However, not all PPM solutions are created equal, and it's important to know which features to prioritize when evaluating these applications.
Let's take a closer look at some of the key features to look for when evaluating project portfolio management software.
Reporting and Analytics
How to Decide Which Project Portfolio Management Tool is Best for You?
We have devised five-point criteria to help you decide which software is best suited for you.
What you need to do:
Put a tick against these basic project portfolio management software design benchmarks.
Shortlist your top five contenders; test them individually or collectively.
We have also compiled a list of the top-five project portfolio management tools a few sections down; they can serve as a good starting point for your analyses.
See the checklist below and remember that the software with the most checks wins (our recommendation is to go ahead to the next stage with the steps listed below).
Project Portfolio Management Software Evaluation List
Next, you need to narrow your choice to one project portfolio management app. Visit its product profile page – use our search bar above – to book a demo or get pricing (accurate, updated, custom plan figures for your workplace) so you can get subscribed quickly.
Project Portfolio Management Software Pricing
Project portfolio management software pricing depends on several factors, such as the size and complexity of the organization, the number of users, software features, integration capabilities, and customer support.
Some software providers charge a monthly or annual subscription fee, while others offer a one-time purchase option. Therefore, it's crucial to evaluate different PPM software solutions based on their pricing models, features, and customization options to choose the one that provides the best value for your investment.
For more pricing information, download our comprehensive project management pricing guide 2023.
Best Project Portfolio Management Tools
With the abundance of project portfolio management tools available in the market, choosing the right one can be daunting. To simplify your decision-making process, we have researched and evaluated the top 5 PPM software that can optimize your day-to-day project management processes. Let's dive into our list and find the most suitable solution for your needs!
Monday software is a comprehensive project portfolio management tool that simplifies project planning, management, and tracking. Its visually intuitive interface helps clarify the sequence of work and allows users to prioritize tasks based on their organizational goals. With multiple views available, managers can easily track the status of multiple projects and monitor progress with customizable dashboards.
Additionally, monday.com offers powerful notifications and automation features to help teams stay on top of deadlines and priorities. Users can also utilize the platform to forecast budgets, track expenses, and attach files to individual items, making budget management a breeze.
- Free: $0 for up to two seats
- Basic: $8/seat/month
- Standard: $10/seat/month
- Pro: $16/seat/month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
- Resource Management: Allocate resources efficiently across multiple projects to ensure optimal portfolio performance and avoid overallocation or underutilization
- Team Collaboration: Facilitate communication and collaboration among project teams, stakeholders, and managers to ensure smooth project execution and alignment with portfolio goals
- Time Tracking: Monitor project progress and performance against predefined timelines and schedules to ensure timely completion of deliverables and proactive portfolio management
- Customizable Dashboards: Create personalized dashboards and reports to monitor portfolio performance, analyze data, and make data-driven decisions that align with portfolio objectives
- Integrations: Integrate with various third-party tools to streamline workflows, enhance collaboration, and leverage data from external sources for better portfolio management
Pros and Cons
|Intuitive interface||Limited portfolio-level reporting|
|Visual representation of resource allocation|
|Integration with other PPM tools|
Quickbase is a powerful project portfolio management tool that helps businesses unify all their project data sources in one place. The software gives companies an overhead view of their project portfolio at all levels, from high-level performance metrics to granular project details. Its mobile solution simplifies day-to-day project management processes, enabling managers to monitor progress, identify bottlenecks, and access project information on the go.
Moreover, Quickbase software enables teams to allocate their time and resources more efficiently and focus on high-priority tasks that drive business success.
- Team: $30/user/month
- Business: $50/user/month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
- Risk Management: Identity, assess, and prioritize project risks to make informed decisions that minimize their impact on your project portfolio
- Capacity Planning: Optimize resource utilization by allocating resources effectively across multiple projects and balancing workload for your teams
- Dashboards and Charts: Gain insights into project performance and key metrics with easy-to-use dashboards and charts, allowing you to monitor progress, track trends, and identify areas for improvement
- Centralized Data Management: Organize all project-related data in one place, making it easier to access, analyze, and share information across teams. Enhance data visibility to make informed decisions
Pros and Cons
|Customizable workflows and templates||Limited mobile and offline functionality|
|Real-time project tracking|
|Robust reporting capabilities|
Wrike is a feature-rich project and portfolio management software that connects strategy, planning, execution, and results in all in a shared workspace. The application offers a robust suite of tools to help teams easily assess every aspect of the projects they work on, encouraging collaboration and ensuring all resources are stored in a secure platform. It provides real-time visibility across the entire project portfolio, enabling users to assess progress, optimize resources, and identify potential issues before they become problems.
Overall, Wrike software enables teams to confidently manage project portfolios, optimize resources, and deliver results on time and within budget.
- Free: $0/user/month
- Team: $9.80/user/month
- Business: $24.80/user/month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
- Pinnacle: Custom pricing
- Project Prioritization: Easily prioritize your projects based on their impact, urgency, and strategic goals to align your portfolio with your business objectives
- Resource Optimization: Optimize your resource allocation across all projects and portfolios to ensure you have the right people working on the right projects at the right time
- Customizable Templates: Customize your project templates to ensure consistency in your portfolio management process and help your team work more efficiently
- Gantt Charts: Use Gantt charts to visualize your project timelines and dependencies, making it easy to monitor progress and manage your portfolio proactively
- Kanban Boards: Use Kanban boards to visualize your workflow and manage your portfolio in a more agile and flexible way
Pros and Cons
|Centralizes multiple projects in one location||Occasional glitches|
|Enables better decision-making|
|Excellent customer support|
ClickUp software is a robust project management tool designed to streamline work management processes and enhance team productivity. Its portfolio view provides a real-time overview of project progress across multiple projects, while the prioritization column enables users to identify and focus on high-priority projects. Teams can easily analyze project performance using various visualization tools from a single workspace.
It also enables users to stay on top of project developments, understand individual roles and responsibilities, and report on accomplishments effectively. Additionally, ClickUp's user-friendly interface allows for seamless collaboration among team members.
- Free Forever: $0/user/month
- Unlimited: $5/user/month
- Business: $12/user/month
- Business Plus: $19/user/month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
- Agile Dashboards: Gain a high-level view of project portfolios with customizable widgets and charts for tracking progress and identifying bottlenecks
- Customizable Project Views: Choose from a range of customizable project views to suit your team's workflow and project management style, including Agile for flexibility, Scrum for well-defined practices, and Kanban for visualization of workflows
- Risk Management: Identify and assess potential risks to your project portfolio and assess how your projects perform against business goals
- Templates: Save time and increase efficiency with ClickUp's pre-built templates for common project management workflows
Pros and Cons
|User-friendly interface||Limited time tracking tools|
|Highly customizable to fit specific business needs|
|Allows for seamless collaboration|
Smartsheet software is a user-friendly project portfolio management tool providing powerful reporting and visualization capabilities. Its customizable drag-and-drop interface allows users to create real-time metrics and dashboards that display data specific to each project.
These features are particularly useful for portfolio management, as they provide stakeholders with a clear view of project progress and allow project managers to make informed decisions.
- Free: $0/user/month
- Pro: $7/user/month
- Business: $25/user/month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
- Reporting Tools: Generate insightful reports on project status, progress, and resource allocation to effectively manage your project portfolio
- Resource Planning: Plan and manage resources across multiple projects to optimize resource utilization and ensure that projects are staffed with the right talent at the right time
- Workflow Automation: Automate routine tasks and workflows, such as approvals and notifications, to streamline project management and increase team productivity
- Integrations: Connect Smartsheet with other tools in your tech stack to enhance collaboration, data sharing, and visibility into project performance across your organization
Pros and Cons
|Real-time updates and notifications for better collaboration||Limited customization options for some features|
|Wide range of project management features|
|Integrations with popular apps and tools|
Frequently Asked Questions
Is MS Project a PPM tool?
Yes, Microsoft Project (MS Project) is a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tool. It enables users to manage project portfolios, allocate resources, track progress, and analyze data to make informed decisions. MS Project offers a range of features and capabilities, including scheduling, resource management, budgeting, and reporting, that make it a valuable tool for managing projects of any size or complexity.
What is PPM vs. PMO?
PPM and PMO are two distinct project management concepts. Project Portfolio Management (PPM) involves managing projects to meet strategic goals by prioritizing projects, allocating resources, and monitoring progress. On the other hand, the Project Management Office (PMO) is a team or department within an organization responsible for overseeing project management practices and ensuring that projects are delivered on time and within budget.
What are PPM software capabilities?
PPM software provides a range of capabilities that help organizations manage their project portfolios efficiently. Some of the key capabilities of PPM software include project planning and scheduling, resource management, project tracking and reporting, risk management, and financial management.
What are the five levels of project portfolio management maturity?
According to Gartner, the five levels of Project Portfolio Management (PPM) maturity are Reactive, Emerging Discipline, Initial Integration, Effective Integration, and Effective Innovation. These levels represent the stages of PPM development, from ad hoc processes to a culture of continuous improvement.
Is project portfolio management software secure?
Project portfolio management (PPM) software is typically secure and designed to protect sensitive information. Most PPM software have built-in security features such as access control, data encryption, and user authentication.
As organizations strive to maintain a competitive edge in today's fast-paced business environment, effective project portfolio management has become increasingly critical. Investing in a reliable project portfolio management (PPM) software solution can help drive better business outcomes.
When selecting the right PPM software for your organization, it's important to evaluate key factors such as functionality, scalability, security, integrations, and customization options. Our buyer's guide provides valuable insights to assist you in making an informed decision and choosing the PPM tool that aligns with your specific requirements.
To learn more about project portfolio management applications, schedule a consultation with one of our experts and get personalized recommendations based on your unique needs.