PPM Tools: The Best Project Portfolio Management Tools for 2020

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Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is a critical part of business planning that helps project managers measure the potential revenue of a future project before getting off the ground. Leveraging a PPM tool gives companies the data they need to put the pieces of a project together before making any risky decisions.

PPM tools usually help strengthen general project management and scheduling processes by aggregating data and composing helpful reports; these tools can help companies track project progress through every stage of its lifecycle. With transparent end-to-end process visibility, companies can make business processes more efficient, automate tedious tasks and continually innovate for the future. A recent market survey by Grand View Research has found that the PPM market is poised to boom and is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4% in the period between 2020 and 2027.

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Benefits

Adopting a PPM tool means prioritizing project portfolios that contribute to improving an organization’s health and improving its value. Statistics reveal that 89% of the most efficient organizations use PPM tools to manage their daily activities. Your tool lets you optimize tasks, resources, budgets and projects to create a high-yield portfolio.

Better Decision Making

Tools can drive better business decisions. Smart business decisions are a product of solid data and visibility, which is crucial from both tactical and strategic perspectives.

A portfolio management tool makes it easier to anticipate outcomes by giving you insight into past project metrics. It also helps filter out projects that aren’t contributing to an organization’s corporate objectives by analyzing their performance.

Faster Project Turnaround

By streamlining workflows, these tools automate repeatable processes involved in completing a project portfolio. They keep work cycles well oiled and increase productivity as they answer the most basic question – what to do next? These tools don’t let businesses lose focus on strategically aligned projects that give better business results. Shorter turnaround time also gives an edge to businesses over their competitors.

Boosts Collaboration

A lot of firms still use manual methods and excel sheets for project planning and reporting, but these methods are not meant for enterprise use. In such scenarios, data transfers occur through email or other modes that do not offer real-time information sharing. Such a process is often fraught with inconsistencies and conflicts. PPM tools boost smart decision-making by bringing in project transparency. They offer real-time access to data and insights required to complete a project. They also centralize data for easy access and improved real-time collaboration within teams.

Reduces Overspending

An effective PPM tool strikes a healthy balance between project expenditure and overspending on unnecessary deeds. Various factors can cause overspending like poor project estimates, faulty resource allocation, improper scheduling and zero visibility into project data. Users of these solutions have reported decreased overspending as they provide accurate project estimates and efficiently allocate resources.

Enhances Project Delivery Success

Ineffective project delivery causes project failure. Many factors like cost overruns, undefined requirements, technical problems or unresolved issues can lead to a project’s failure. PPM tools help organizations minimize these factors during project delivery. They also offer capabilities to plan projects based on their resources, strategic alignment, accurately estimate costs and increase the chances of successful project execution.

A carefully selected tool offers a multitude of benefits and facilitates the seamless integration of people skills, data and projects. Now let’s delve into some of the essential features of a portfolio management tool that you should look for:

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Key Features

For growing businesses, it is important to look for a PPM tool that can effectively manage scaling projects and resource pools. Our SelectHub analyst team dug through the PPM market and discovered these top features to be sure and look for:

Project Roadmaps

PPM tools help define project roadmaps, including program objectives and target dates across all contributing projects. They help businesses create long-term realistic roadmaps that highlight vision, goals, perspectives, actions, strategies, milestones and more. They offer tools that let program managers create plans that define delivery timeframes, set key milestones, establish release dates and communicate these phases across organizations.

Portfolio Ranking

Efficient portfolio planning requires prioritizing and channeling resources to projects that have higher financial prospects. A successful tool scores projects according to their overall worth to the organization, based on quantitative and qualitative factors. The final score is computed from the combination of KPI values and their relative weight. Many also have the capability to rank projects on different chosen criteria. Incoming project requests can be ranked and re-ranked according to the changes made to these criteria.

Risk Management

An efficient tool can filter risks by probability and impact level. Project portfolio tools have the feature to conduct simulation on resources, tasks, costs and access risk management options. Simulations help users gauge the probability of event occurrence and activate risk mitigation options. Some solutions use color-coded filters to organize risks of the same probability and impact level, making it easier for the businesses to take risk mitigation actions accordingly.

Multi-Project Monitor

Your tool should provide detailed information about projects and requests to help you monitor multiple projects efficiently. Project portfolio tools let managers oversee milestones and all project deliverables, resolve project issues, mitigate risks and manage project scope. They also offer tools to manage project stakeholder expectations, delegate tasks and measure the team’s performance. Users can re-evaluate project portfolios according to market scenarios with filters to view customer satisfaction, market penetration and cost reductions.

Resource Optimization

Any PPM tool worth its merit provides an efficient resource optimization workflow, and comparison maps for users to make informed business decisions. They recommend optimal scenarios of what is achievable using the resources available. They also offer tools that generate predictive scenarios using critical variables of an organization.

Budget Management

Realistic budget forecasts help businesses assess results and shape their organizational strategy. Your tool should equip you with budget management capabilities, and track overall project expenditures, including labor, non-labor and operational costs. They manage the forecast and actual budget of a project lifecycle, its programs and entities. The cost tracking feature helps program managers set realistic goals, track progress and update stakeholders on a project’s progress. These solutions are designed to calculate project cost and revenue cost using billing and cost rates.

Pre-Built Reports

Most tools come with pre-built templates to add new workflows. These templates eliminate the hassle of creating workflows from scratch. Users can build reports with a template of their choice and fill in the required data. Project portfolio tools usually include built-in project deliverable templates for businesses to interpret data and analyze project performance. Users also gain visibility into key performance indicators like status, alignment, risks and schedule across projects.

A tool with the above features can give you a much needed head start, especially for organizations looking to implement a professional solution for the first time. Let’s take a look at the top ten performers in the PPM market.

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Top Ten PPM Tools

Our SelectHub analyst team searched the market for some of the most popular PPM tools and found these top performers for our list of the best solutions:

Clarity PPM

Clarity PPM is a cloud-based solution accessible via SaaS. It helps users transition to digital product management where they can manage enterprise resources, counter market disruptions and cater to fluctuating customer demands. The platform is authorized by FedRAMP and adheres to stringent security protocols mandated for cloud-based systems.

Clarity PPM

Clarity PPM’s dashboards give users instant visibility into critical information

Some of its key features include portfolio management and road-mapping, resource management, demand management, application portfolio management and financial management. Clarity’s reporting and dashboard tools provide defined analysis and self-service functions. These features boost user control with metrics based on PPM and external data, an in-app data warehouse for complex and provisional reporting, time management with mobile entry and approvals. Clarity PPM offers its users a centralized view to create, manage, group and evaluate multiple portfolios. It also helps impart role-based experiences to resource managers, project managers and project coordinators.

Planisware

Planisware Enterprise PPM is a SaaS-based suite that manages project portfolios and programs. Planisware integrates resources, actuals, budgets, schedules and forecasts. Some of its key features include project portfolio visibility, project management, business intelligence and strategic buckets. Strategic buckets offer capabilities like road mapping, budget management, creating business proposals with scorecards and financial forecasting and capturing ideas and work requests.

Planisware

Planisware Enterprise PPM’s reporting tools offer graphical representations of crucial data

The solution supports crucial functionalities like resource capacity planning, time-tracking, agile team collaboration, document management, integration and documentation. It also offers artificial intelligence and machine learning with chatbots and predictive estimations, in-memory and parallel processing and ActiveTab support for Microsoft Excel modeling. Planisware Enterprise PPM has customers from industries ranging from automotive, energy, aerospace, chemical, defense, life sciences and more.

Planview

Planview is a SaaS-based portfolio and resource management solution that helps businesses optimize their project portfolios, manage capacity as per demand and integrate plans and resources to achieve project execution. According to Planview’s findings, better project collaboration minimizes project delays by 74% and leads to 82% less time overruns

Planview

Planview’s tabular view representation offers a peek into employee performance

It offers two portfolio management products – Planview Enterprise One for enterprise-level portfolio, capability, resource and technology management and Planview PPM Pro for mid-size project portfolio management. Planview Enterprise One supports portfolio and resource planning, strategy translation, evaluation of demand to request, work execution, team collaboration, coordination of deliveries, reporting and analytics. Planview PPM Pro employs a top-down portfolio planning approach and collects a company’s scores throughout a project lifecycle. These procedures help businesses prioritize work that has the highest worth and most requests. It also comes with several features like portfolio management and planning, financial planning, resource capacity planning and demand management, reporting and dashboards, team collaboration, resource planning and time tracking.

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Clarizen One

Clarizen One is a SaaS-based tool that integrates project and portfolio management, workflow automation, in-context collaboration and professional service automation. It automates recurring tasks, like workflows, processes and alerts, thereby minimizing project risks and time spent on mundane tasks. Clarizen One supports connecting individual teams to align communications and manages work and business objectives with centralized digital proofing and Clarizen Bot inclusions. It offers a configurable UI, real-time visibility, dynamic reports, dashboards and integration with other task management systems. Users have access to its marketplace that offers a variety of apps and add-ons.

Clarizen One

Clarizen One’s graphs track all projects in progress

Oracle Primavera P6

Oracle Primavera P6 Enterprise is a cloud-based tool that offers role-based functionality to match each team member’s responsibilities and requirements. It helps users with planning, prioritizing, managing and executing programs and portfolios. The platform facilitates communication and collaboration through graphical workflows and interactive forms.

Oracle Primavera

Oracle Primavera P6 streamlines capacity planning for an IT project

It provides solutions to industries of varying sizes, including healthcare that requires a real-time view of project performance. Its key features include streamlined enterprise reporting, team member interfaces for status work, integrated risk management, optimized views and resource and workflow engine to automate business processes. The solution lets businesses create custom workflows using its gateway, web services and API.

Asana

Asana is a cloud-based tool for companies that handle multiple projects simultaneously. It offers project and task management solutions to companies of varying sizes. It also supports single-view tracking of all ongoing projects and a high-level overview of their progress. It gives program managers more details on performance to address risks. Asana offers a suite of features including portfolio management, project planning, risk management, task management, issue management, requirement management, dashboards, status, time and expense tracking. It can be integrated with third-party apps like DropBox, Sunrise, HipChat, Slack, Box and Google Drive, and can be accessed through mobile devices on both iOS and Android.

Asana

Asana helps allocate different project tasks and monitors their progress

Jira Portfolio

Portfolio for Jira is designed to help users build a plan, track progress and collaborate with stakeholders. It can be deployed on-premise or accessed via the cloud. It helps users gauge the feasibility of the scope of work based on their teams’ capabilities. Users can host it on their own hardware using Jira’s data center or host it on their own with SaaS vendors like Azure or AWS. Portfolio for Jira offers features like resource and capacity planning, data-driven agile roadmaps, schedule optimization, roll-up reporting, estimation comparisons and real-time forecasts. It facilitates scenario planning in a sandbox environment, creating an unlimited hierarchy, comparing target and actual delivery dates and comparing multiple scenarios and story point estimates. It supports workflows using Scrum, Kanban or a hybrid model. It also offers mobile apps for Android and iOS devices.

Jira Portfolio

Jira Portfolio’s to-do lists help employees keep tabs on their priority tasks

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Micro Focus

Micro Focus is a cloud-based hybrid tool that integrates data with workflows to align business strategy with corporate investments. Its portfolio management module lets users mull over different what-if scenarios and create an ideal mix of proposals and projects. It allows businesses to modify dates, resources or budgets to meet goals, gain return on investment, set up strategic alignments, realize benefits, boost skill availability, capacity or a combination of these factors. Its visualizations feature comes in handy to highlight any discrepancies between the current portfolio and an optimal portfolio.

Micro Focus

Micro Focus’ team management dashboard tracks the work progress of every employee

Key features of Micro Focus include automated processes, real-time management, visibility of the entire corporate portfolio, what-if scenario planning and application lifecycle management support. It incorporates additional features like agile management, time management, user collaboration and experience, connectors for agile interactions and REST API enhancement.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations offers holistic solutions that lets businesses optimize resource utilization, manage customers, billing and project delivery. Its platform connects resourcing, sales, project management and finance teams to manage employees, deals, delivery and profit. This cloud-based tool integrates operational workflows to offer visibility, collaborations and insight. Its suite of features includes time and expense reporting, handling project delivery and optimizing project economics like budgeting, costing, revenue recognition and invoicing with AI.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations

Project Operations: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations offers a calendar view of daily tasks and team progress

The solution’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA), power application and business intelligence offer a mixed-reality experience. It also offers project sales enhancements, accounting capabilities for resource-based projects and enhanced project accounting capabilities for inventory-based projects.

Celoxis

Celoxis is an online PPM tool for medium and large businesses. It is deployable on-premise or via the cloud. Some of its key features include initiating project requests, viewing project request queues and available resource capabilities, developing project scoring models, managing portfolio balance, project reports and tracking project pipelines and portfolio accounting.

Celoxis

Celoxis offers a grid-view of critical project tasks

It offers customizable layouts and widgets with charts, and a single user can be assigned multiple dashboards. It can also manage and track multiple projects and resources. It supports team collaboration with online discussions, version control, mentions, free client portals, shared calendars and more. This project management tool also comes with an optimized mobile application supported by any phone with a web browser.

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Final Thoughts

By now, it’s abundantly clear that managing a portfolio without proper tools to oversee simultaneous projects is a daunting task. Storing and analyzing data with traditional tools can also cause project inconsistencies and cost overruns.

Portfolio management tools offer businesses the capabilities to organize numerous programs and projects into a portfolio. This order of arrangement allows organizations to view and gather critical data across projects. Data insights into the progress of projects and portfolios foster better decision-making at the management level. Reviewing project portfolio metrics also supports smart financial decisions and helps keep teams aligned with organizational strategy.

These tools with their suite of capabilities come in handy to minimize risks, utilize resources efficiently and strengthen decision-making overall. In short, these tools not only streamline your organizational processes but also improve project execution and value to stakeholders.

How have PPM tools helped (or hurt) your business? Let us know with a comment below!

Pragya SinghPPM Tools: The Best Project Portfolio Management Tools for 2020

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