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Changepoint

Changepoint PSA software provides services organizations with a structured process for analyzing, tracking and forecasting client opportunities and their requirements. Optimize resource utilization and retain satisfied clients. By combining resource management, project management and project portfolio management capabilities, Changepoint’s PSA software provides a standardized structure to ensure services projects stay on schedule, remain within budget and address customer needs.

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Genius Project On-Demand

Designed to adapt to your organization’s business processes, Genius Project delivers a highly flexible and configurable portfolio and project management software allowing tailored feature sets for a wide array of project teams and project types.

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ProjectManager.com

Managing a project from start to finish is a big responsibility. You need to keep an eye on your resources, time, expenses and equipment constantly. To do this well, you need to use smart online project management software. This software is unique because it's simple to use, fully integrated with Microsoft Office, it comes with the best Gantt Chart on the planet and it makes your job easier.

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Oracle Instantis

Instantis EnterpriseTrack is a leading cloud PPM solution used by IT and business process leaders to improve strategy execution and financial performance through more effective work and resource management. This end-to-end solution provides a top-down approach to managing, tracking, and reporting on enterprise strategies, projects, portfolios, processes, resources, and results.

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Power Steering Software

PowerSteering's award-winning PPM software combines the robust functionality integration capabilities demanded by global organizations with the cost and speed-to-value benefits of cloud delivery. Its unmatched level of flexibility makes it a great solution for managing any and all types of programs, projects, investments, and resources throughout the enterprise.

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Talaia OpenPPM

TALAIA OpenPPM is the software that can manage the entire lifecycle of projects, project portfolios and investments, providing global visibility and perspective. It allows you to generate graphs and reports instantly, allowing stakeholders to have an updated, specific or global view of the status of projects and activities. Reports can be tailored to the needs of each company.

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Wrike

Wrike is an online project management platform for making work fast, easy and efficient in co-located and distributed teams. Its flexibility enables multifunctional teams to collaborate and get things done successfully in one place. Schedule, prioritize, discuss and track progress in real time — all with a few mouse clicks.

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EPMLive

Empower your workforce through a simple yet powerful interface that allows organizations to manage their work and projects more efficiently. EPM Live is the leading work management platform that revolutionizes the way organizations manage projects and work. EPM Live’s platform is the first build to order platform that extends project portfolio management (PPM) to all areas of the business regardless of work focus.

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eResource Scheduler

eResource Scheduler has been developed with the aim of providing powerful and yet affordable resource scheduling software to organizations of all types and sizes to efficiently schedule, plan coordinate their human and non-human resources.

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Celoxis

Celoxis offers a comprehensive web based project management softwarealong with great integrated tools to manage your resources, collaboration, time sheets, expenses and workflow. If you have outgrown simple to-do list management tools, Celoxis is for you.

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OnTime Scrum

OnTime Scrum is feature-packed, blazingly fast, easy to use, affordable, and built on HTML5 technology. Manage your dev team's backlog, sprints and bug tracking—and you can manage unlimited projects. You'll love the management dashboard, planning board, and burndown charts.

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LiquidPlanner 4.0

Modern teams need a fast, streamlined way to manage their work. Our unique approach offers an easy alternative to Microsoft Project and can be used by just about anyone traditionally- trained project teams, agile teams, or even teams that use ad-hoc processes. LiquidPlanner customers report an average of 16 hours saved per month due to automation.

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Clarity PPM

Your organization needs to preserve its competitive advantage, do more with less budget and staff, and cut costs at every opportunity. The “status quo” is not an option. Organizations in every industry simply need to work smarter and innovate faster. To go beyond survival and actually thrive in these economic times, you need CA Clarity PPM. CA Clarity PPM will help you understand your investments and resources, and optimize operations and performance

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Mavenlink Pro

Mavenlink Pro lets you set project budgets and give you finance tools to run your business, including Time Tracking, Expenses, and integrations with QuickBooks PayPal. Plus, Custom Branding and premium support.All of this is $19 per month per user on our yearly plan or $25 per user per month on our monthly plan.

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Asana

Asana’s mission is to help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly. We've re-imagined how work gets done through a fast and versatile web application that connects everyone with what’s going on, their shared priorities, and who owns each part of the effort.We are engineering, design, and business leaders from companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. We're also proud to be supported by an incredible set of investors and advisors.

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BaseCamp

Basecamp keeps all your projects, data, and people in one place. No matter how many projects you have, or how many people you have working on them, Basecamp keeps everything organized. All your projects stored safely in one place online.

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Call SelectHub for a free 15-minute selection analysis: 1-855-850-3850
AtTask

AtTask Enterprise Work Cloud is enterprise-grade and CIO-approved, even for the most security—and compliance—conscious organizations (such as those in Healthcare, Financial Services, Government, etc.). AtTask has industry-leading enhancements to better meet the needs of the largest enterprises.

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JIRA

JIRA is the project tracker for teams planning, building and launching great products. Thousands of teams choose JIRA to capture and organize issues, work through action items, and stay up-to-date with team activity. Use JIRA to easily capture and organize your issues, prioritize and take action on what's important, and stay up-to-date with the activity going on around you.

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Sciforma 5.0

At Sciforma®, we recognize that every company is unique. Our configured software solutions, offered as on-site, hosted or SaaS, can be tailored to fit your company’s PPM environment and ensure that your processes and methodologies are being followed. Sciforma 5.0, recognized as a positive player by Gartner’s MarketScope™ for project and portfolio management applications, is an adaptable and easy to use enterprise PPM software utilized by a quarter million users worldwide.

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Innotas

Streamline the management of strategic initiatives. The Innotas IT Governance cloud solution is built on a strong foundation of Project Portfolio Management (PPM). Effectively managing project requests, resources, budgets and projects is key to delivering the new IT initiatives that drive the company forward. Combined with powerful Application Portfolio Management (APM), the Innotas IT Governance cloud solution becomes the sure path to helping your enterprise reach its goals.

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Pivotal Tracker

Pivotal Tracker is an easy to use, agile project management tool that brings focused collaboration to software development teams. Built by Pivotal Labs, it embodies proven agile methods, based on experience from hundreds of successful large scale projects.

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Apptivo

Collaborate with your co-workers and customers and improve productivity. Stay on top of things with tasks, to-dos, appointments, call logs or faxes and stay abreast with what is happening in your project with the newsfeed notification, assign your work in a flexible manner that suits your business and organization, create milestones or organize your activities into sub-projects as needed, share documents and notes with your team, and ensure that your projects meet your long term product or business goals and at the same time satisfy pressing customer needs by managing project scope.

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Confluence

Confluence is a wiki used by more than half of Fortune 100 companies to connect people with the content and co-workers they need to get their jobs done, faster. Connect your entire business in one place online to collaborate and capture knowledge – create, share, and discuss your documents, ideas, minutes, and projects.

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Daptiv PPM

Daptiv is designed with real organizations and people in mind. We offer comprehensive Project Portfolio Management (PPM) functionality, but with the ability to introduce new capabilities when your organization is ready for them. This enables you to realize business value quickly before adding more sophisticated capabilities as your PPM process matures.

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SharePoint

SharePoint is about giving you and the people you work with a better way to get things done together. That means your content is stored and organized in one place. You can access it from virtually anywhere and share it with anyone.And that’s just the beginning. SharePoint gives you all kinds of ways to plan projects, stay in sync with each other, and work on content together.

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Project.net

Project.net can help you solve all of these problems and more. Our software provides a range of features and functionality that can help anyone who works on projects. We won’t lie; our tools, like most project portfolio management tools, were originally developed to help manage IT projects and departments. But the features that have evolved to help with productivity and collaboration are equally useful to people developing new products and providing professional services. Features that provide visibility, accountability and strategic alignment are useful across organizations rely heavily on project teams.

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WorkZone

Most project management software (like Microsoft Project) is way too complicated, with hundreds of little-used capabilities that get in the way of the handful that are really important. Others are simple enough, but offer little more than basic to-do lists. We designed WorkZone with the power to manage real-world business situations, with a usability that makes it accessible to less technical users. Sophisticated tools to keep projects on track and on budget, oganize projects by tasks (and subtasks), assign who’s responsible and when it’s due, and link tasks together to see how a change in one area affects the rest of the project.

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Microsoft Project Server

Microsoft Project Server is a flexible on-premises solution for project portfolio management (PPM) and everyday work. Team members, project participants, and business decision makers can get started, prioritize project portfolio investments and deliver the intended business value from virtually anywhere. Requires SharePoint 2013, sold separately

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Planview

Planview helps organizations move their business forward given the realities of constrained people and financial resources. Our customers are more innovative, provide higher levels of service, and improve financial performance by optimizing the capacity of their limited resources through portfolio management

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Do

Do makes it easy to get work done with anyone from anywhere you are. Share tasks, projects and notes. Get work done from your phone, tablet or computer.

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Tenrox

The Tenrox Project Workforce Management (PWM) solution helps manage your projects from initiation, to execution, to chargeback, to close. It provides a best-of-breed tool for project management, time expense management, resource management project financials to meet the challenges of managing your globally dispersed business units and project workers who collaborate on projects from multiple remote locations and time zones.

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Intervals

Intervals is a hosted task, time project tracking service. When we first started developing Intervals we called it an "accountability system." Accountability for you to your clients and the contracts you are fulfilling and accountability from your workers to you. Intervals is a great way to get a grasp of what you are working on and how long it is taking.

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Last updated on September 5th, 2017

How to Compare Project Portfolio Management Software

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) continues to grow rapidly in response to the needs organizations of all sizes who nned to manage their many ongoing projects to cost, time and constraint-based requirements. PPM is essential for accomplishing daily tasks, staying on schedule and budget. By definition, PPM serves as the system of record for all project management-related tasks, sub-tasks, methods and processes. PPM is an indispensable, must-have suite of applications for companies who manage multiple initiatives and programs through a Project Management Office (PMO). PPM systems provide reporting and analysis that is needed to gain end-to-end project visibility from time, cost, and resources perspective. It’s important to track project progress against budgets as well, and the most advanced PPM systems have the ability to provide reporting of project progress relative to budget goals. For any business that relies on customized work including build-to-order, configure-to-order, and engineer-to-order manufacturing, PPM systems are critical to their success and long-term growth. Enabling companies to meet demanding customer-driven timelines is one of the greatest benefits of having an enterprise-class PPM system.

Why do organizations need and use Project Portfolio Management software?

  • Gain end-to-end process visibility and control of all projects and related cost
  • Optimize the use of financial and development resources in the completion of complex projects
  • Project Management Office (PMO) can manage the entire portfolio of projects, making risk assessments and resource trade-offs quickly
  • Manage project costs and budgets more effectively that personal productivity applications allow for
  • Stay in compliance with industry standards and requirements for reporting
  • Drastically reduce the number of project escalations on critical path tasks not being done on time  
  • Streamline invoicing across an entire project, ensuring all project components are financially tracked in real-time
  • Gain greater insights into the financial implications of project management decisions
  • Create a single, unified project management system of record across the entire company to better track costs, constraints, resources, and outcomes
  • Tighter coordination across each phase of each project execution’s workflow
  • Standardizing on project attributes and activity/work breakdown structures (WBS) company-wide increases the efficiency and speed that projects can be managed
  • Easier for the Project Management Office (PMO) to budget their time as efficiently as possible, only handling exceptions
  • When the scope, scale, and complexity of projects become so large and diverse that they begin to exceed the limits of personal productivity applications.
  • When project costs must be allocated across dozens of initiatives and the only option is to use manually-based workflows
  • Lack of a standardized approach to managing projects can quickly lead to chaos
  • Having disparate, non-integrated solutions for planning, executing and closing projects lead to project delays and cost overruns

Product Portfolio Management (PPM) enables organizations who rely on complex projects as a core part of their business model to successfully manage each project to specific budgets, constraints, goals and regulatory compliance requirements.  When combined with inventory management, PPM systems enable organizations to attain higher levels of pick, pack and ship accuracy and speed. PPM is also extensively used for calculating Earned Value Management (EVM), Resource Management, Kanban for programs, application portfolio management, and increasingly in agile-based project management scenarios.  One of the fastest growing areas of PPM is the area of New Product Development and Introduction (NPDI) workflows that streamline the launch of new products and services. Expect to see more project portfolio analysis in the next three years, in addition to more focused on the agile-based development methodologies that are valuable to PPM  architectures, and continual improvements in the usability of these systems.   

Bottom line:

 Project Portfolio Management (PPM) enables organizations to simplify the complex aspects of managing multiple projects and initiatives at the same time, often competing for the same resources. When a PMO team is using PPM to manage the diverse series of projects their organization needs to get done, PPM systems provide a single system of record or source of truth that alleviates conflicts and creates collaboration. Triangulating project schedules between cost, time and resource constraints, PMO teams still need to complete projects on time and under budget. PPM applications make this achievable in every organization who relies on projects as a core part of their business model.

Key Features Consider When Evaluating Project Portfolio Management Software Options

Accounting And Finance Management

For project managers and entire PMO teams, the need for having visibility into the specific costs associated with their project is essential for doing their job. Tracking direct and indirect expenses is critically important as projects will often shift direction based on changing customer requirements. The need for the latest costing data, financial ratios and key performance indicators (KPIs) are all the lexicon project managers, PMO teams and senior management teams they work with use every day to make decisions. Best-in-class PPM systems have real-time integration links to accounting and finance systems and can scale quickly to support complex new projects with no lost time. A state-of-the-art PPM system will be able to provide cost and financial projections quickly and provide alerts when key items in the accounting and financial statements change over time. Remember to look at accounting and financial management systems

Earned Value Management

Best-in-class PPM applications and suites will have a baseline of functionality that includes Earned Value Management (EVM). Commonly found in complex manufacturing including aerospace and defense, medical products manufacturing, and highly regulated process manufacturing for regulated products including pharmaceuticals, EVM is an invaluable technique for managing and measuring project performance and progress for both complex product and process-based products. EVM factors in scope, time and costs of projects into an integrated single system  EVM is also designed to provide accurate daily forecasts of each project’s timelines and contribution to the critical path and milestones attained.  EVM has proven to be one of the most effective predictors of project success based on experience with aerospace and defense manufacturers.      

Project Analytics And Reporting

The Project Management Office (PMO) team and project managers across any organization are challenged daily with getting analytics, reports, and presentations done while also getting their work done. The best project managers have the ability to balance these analytics, reporting and presentation requirements with the continual pursuit of getting action items, tasks, and projects done. The best-in-class PPM applications and suites have analytics and data reporting as a core part of their system of record. TYhis streamlines analytics, reporting and presentation preparation significantly. As a baseline, there needs to be support for project planning tools that are capable of producing critical path, Gannt, PERT and other commonly used graphical representations of project status. Being able to produce a report based on real-time data whenever it is needed can drastically streamline a project manager’s time and accelerate an entire PMO team’s performance.   

Project Management

The core functional areas of any PPM application suite are its support for foundational project management features, enabling project teams to accomplish their goals. At a minimum, any PPM suite needs to include support for task management defined to the resource level, project planning across a broad base of project planning and management methodologies, and support for advanced scheduling. PPM suites that are often used in manufacturing support finite scheduling, which take into account production and resource constraints that need to be optimized against to attain production goals. The core features of a project management include time and expense tracking, performance analyzer, administration manager, baseline report writing tools, resource and cost optimization features, and data integration and export functions.    

Resource Management

One of the most challenging aspects of working on large-scale projects is balancing tightly constrained resources needed to get the tasks, action items, and critical path done. PPM suites vary significantly on this dimension, with a few making the minimum assumptions regarding user’s needs. Look for PPM suites that support a broad base of resource optimization beyond merely resource loading materials. The best PPM suites have the ability to optimize resources, costs, and personnel taking into account their level of expertise and training. Resource Management is far beyond managing inventory; it’s focused on orchestrating raw materials, production machinery and assets, the level of training by each person on the team, and the optimal mix of all constraints to attain challenging projects often in synchronization with each other.

Risk Management  

Every project faces risks of not being accomplished on time. While missing a deadline is a significant risk, there are far greater ones including incurring cost overruns from a lack of planning, fines for not staying in compliance, and worst of all, scope creep from losing sight of the customer’s preferences, goals, and needs. Excellent PPM suites will provide risk-based scores of each project, providing early warning of a specific critical path task that potentially is not going to be met on schedule. At a minimum, PPM suites need to take into account the foundational aspects of risk management. Be sure to check and see if the PPM suites you’re interested in support risk management planning and response scenarios. Also being able to identify risks and their financial implications are critically important on large-scale projects.  Given the proliferation of analytics, big data and machine learning including Natural Language Processing (NLP), there are PPM suites not capable of performing qualitative risk analysis as well. Applying machine learning to the aggregation of events in a project plan holds the potential to provide qualitative measures of risk and performance gains not visible today.  Recalculating risk iteratively using machine learning algorithms will become the new normal with the next generation of PLM suites. Be sure to ask about how these technologies can be incorporated into an existing PPM suite, specifically focusing on upward compatibility of software investments. Minimizing risks and ensuring a high level of project performance will become more achievable as advanced predictive analytics technologies become more commonplace in PPM suites.      

Usability

All enterprise software companies are pursuing greater usability of their applications today. PPM suites are particularly challenging as they are designed to manage a wide variation in project plans, schedules, requirements, critical paths and resource constraints. The best PPM suites are designed with a depth of features and a comprehensive view of all available features to the project managers using them. The latest generation of PPM suites is being designed with usability as a core requirement. When evaluating PPM suites be sure to ask for demos that show how multiple projects can be viewed and managed. Also, ask to see how workflows can be modified to reflect the requirements of unique project needs. There also needs to be a streamlined approach to defining analytics, reporting and generating graphically-based reports suitable for presentations. This area of PPM suites continues to set the pace of innovation in this area of enterprise software today.  

The four key advantages of implementing a Project Portfolio Management system in your company are listed below:

Advantages of Project Portfolio Management Systems

Optimize Resources Across Multiple Projects

From the production team’s limited time to the limited supplies, materials, components, internal projects are always in need of additional resources. The most valuable advantage of PPM suites is their support for optimizing resources across a series of projects at the same time. Of specific interest in optimizing resources is the time of highly skilled teams that require an intensive level of focus to attain their goals. In addition to specific production and development teams, all phases of beta testing are also an in-demand resource that must be allocated to all projects to ensure their successful completion. The best-in-class PPM suites have the ability to drive greater revenue by optimizing the use of limited time, materials and talent. Quantifying these pay-offs is what the best PPM suites are accomplishing today.  Resolving resource and team conflicts is also how PPM suites excelling on this dimension of performance are delivering value today, in addition to reducing administration costs and improving project results. The bottom line on this feature is that the best-in-class PPM suites will provide multiple approaches and methodologies for accomplishing resource optimization.  

Manage Risk To Alleviate Project Delays And Failures

From relatively simple approaches to managing risk by using financial ratios and metrics to more advanced approaches using advanced analytics, risk management is a foundational element of any PPM suite. Planning and providing approaches to defining PPM scenarios is what best-in-class PPM suites are providing today. Inherent in their approach to providing support for managing risk are approaches defining risk categories, performing qualitative and quantitative risk analysis, in addition to defining response strategies and scenarios to risk. All of these workflows are included in a PPM suite. The more automated the risk monitoring and alerts are, the more analytics have become a core part of the system of record for the PPM suite. Look for PPM suites that have this level of functionality and scale as they will be able to support multi-project reporting and analysis requirements.

Attain Cost Savings While Attaining Project Goals

Optimizing each project team assignment, resources, and project plan drive cost savings across all projects as the potential for conflicts is reduced. A core part of any PPM system is the ability to precisely define unique requirements and their sequence of being consumed or used in the completion of a project. Optimizing each project's workflows based on the availability of constrained materials is essential. When accounting and finance data, including EVM, is included in the analysis, the level of cost savings increases due to the precision available using these key metrics. Integrating accounting and financial data to each project’s tasks and critical path makes it possible to have more advanced information on cost savings and potential strategies for attaining project goals. Accomplishing greater cost savings is always the goal of a PMO team, and with the availability of accounting and finance data, one that is easier to achieve than just using isolated project management tools.  

Improved Project Management Performance  

The financial, operational and scheduling aspects of project performance must be orchestrated together to make a project successful overall. PPM suites are purpose-built to accomplish this, taking into account multiple constraints to accomplish these goals. Defining the financial goals for a project and evaluating performance based on these attributes is critical.  PPM Suites with strong accounting and financial systems integration deliver insights not available in stand-alone applications and can be used for managing an entire PMO team’s financial objectives. Look for best-in-class PPM suites that provide the flexibility of defining PPM performance across the dimensions of finance, operational excellence, resource optimization, and scheduling.

How to Evaluate Project Portfolio Management Systems

Selecting a Project Portfolio Management system for your company needs to reflect how different your specific projects are, and how they support your main lines of business. PPM suites are adept at optimizing limited resources across a broad range of projects. The scope and scale of projects vary significantly across any company, and it’s critically important to find out which PPM suites and applications most align with your specific company’s needs. It’s also important to keep in mind your future project plans and goals for the PMO team this year and beyond. There are over 100 Project Portfolio Management providers selling systems today. Fortunately, SelectHub is here to help.

What’s wrong with how you are managing projects today?

  • How many projects are behind schedule due to a lack of project visibility?

  • What percentage of your projects are completed on time?

    What manual workarounds are you relying on today to get work done that your project portfolio management system needs to automate?

  • Are you relying on Microsoft Excel to handle project management and scheduling?  

  • Is your existing stand-alone project portfolio management system integrated with your financial accounting system?

  • Is it possible to see how project progress is impacting overall company profitability?

  • Can your accounting and operations teams track overall project costs and see how they are trending over time?

  • Who uses the current Project Portfolio Management system?

  • Which departments are everyday users, and which are only using your Project Portfolio Management system occasionally?

  • What are your Project Portfolio Management users trying to achieve by using the solution, and how well can they carry out their goals?

  • Is the system not cost-effective for your current users? Are you paying too much in monthly or annual fees for unused features?

  • Is your approach to using Project Portfolio Management too difficult to use today?  Is it challenging to learn?

  • Was your Project Portfolio Management system designed when your company had a different business model than it does today?

  • What’s the information and insight you need to manage inventory better than your existing inventory management approach or system doesn’t provide today?

What kind of Project Portfolio Management system will you need?

  • What project management, optimizing and scheduling workflows aren’t being addressed by your current inventory management system today?

  • How much time does your company spend on generating project management reports?  

  • What workflows and production processes most differentiate your company and make it unique and place an added load on Project Portfolio Management systems?

  • Define the five Project Portfolio Management processes that most need improvement in your business today

  • What’s the typical lead time for your company to produce its most common and most complex product?  How can this be improved with better portfolio project management?

  • Are project management and control automated or manually-based right now?

How will the Project Portfolio Management system perform once deployed?

  • Is your company considering an on-premise or cloud-based Project Portfolio Management system?

  • Who will be responsible for keeping the Project Portfolio Management system up-to-date and be its administrator?

  • Which project and portfolio management personal productivity and shared applications are running throughout your company today?

  • Are you considering having the inventory management system accessible from the production floor to share Bill of Materials (BOM) across manufacturing teams?

  • How customizable do you need the Project Portfolio Management’s system’s screens, applications, and platforms to be to support your business?

  • Will the Project Portfolio Management system be able to manage the wide variety of data reports needed to run your business today? How about in a year from now?

  • Can the Project Portfolio Management system generate reports that are easily comprehensible for executives of your organization?

  • How will the Project Portfolio Management system integrate with your current technology? Specifically, how will the PPM system integrate with accounting, financial and planning systems?

  • What support or training will the vendor provide during and after installation?

Project Portfolio Management Software Provider Needs Assessment / Requirements Gathering

Every business has a unique set of needs, so the first step in a software selection project is to create a checklist of what your company needs most from Project Portfolio Management system. There are hundreds of criteria to choose from, but the framework can be broken up into four main categories:

Task and Project Scheduling   

These are the foundational features all PPM suites must have to deliver value, so ask to see how the PPM suite vendors of interest can manage multiple, competing for projects at the same time. Task scheduling needs to get beyond what’s possible with Microsoft Project for example and provide a dimensional definition of constraints and resources. Project portfolios are by nature tightly interlocked from a resources and costs standpoint. Task scheduling needs to reflect this at the schedule level. Being able to define varying perspectives on schedule dependencies, costs and the critical path is also the new baseline of functionality in project scheduling.

Orchestrating Multiple Projects at Once

Too often PPM suites tend to replicate project structures and don’t do the work of making sure all projects create a seamless flow across each other. What’s critically important is to have a fully integrated PPM application capable of seeing multiple views of projects, all shared from a common system of record. The concept of using accounting, financial and project data as a consolidated system of record creates a level of synchronization across projects that increase the speed, scale, and accuracy of project management. PM team leaders will need to have the ability to also manage multiple projects at once, all based on a single system of record to ensure accuracy. When a PPM suite has this capability, it’s possible to get a single dashboard with the same measures of project performance across all active initiatives.

Resource Allocation and Optimization

Arbitrating resource and cost constraints, using allocations, and striving for resource optimization are the most challenging aspects of leading a PMO team. Instead of having to do all this manually or with a variety of spreadsheets and macros, PPM suites automate this and accomplish in seconds what often takes days for project teams to complete. Look for PPM suites with advanced resource allocation techniques, allowing for flexibility in the types of methods chosen for completing allocations. The same holds true for optimization. Manufacturers will seek to reduce and eliminate out-of-stock and allocation scenarios by using optimization techniques. The best-in-class PPM suites provide the flexibility of defining resource allocation and optimizations quickly and intuitively. This feature set will save a PMO leader and their team hundreds of hours a year.  

Advanced Financial Reporting and Project Analytics

Evaluate PPM suites from the standpoint of their integration flexibility with accounting and finance systems, and their flexibility in defining PMO-wide based dashboards and scorecards. The best PPM suites and applications available today rely on extensive financial reporting integration to create a solid system of record using real-time accounting and finance data updates. For large-scale project management programs, this is a must-have as Earned Value Management relies extensively on this capability. In addition to the system of record, best-in-class PPM suites will also provide intuitive, easily customizable report writing and analytical applications to streamline the presentation of data. Combining a powerful data set of accounting and finance data that comprise the PPM suite’s system of record with intuitive, powerful reporting and analytics apps and tools are revolutionizing this area of project planning and portfolio project management.  

Questions to Ask During Project Portfolio Management Software Demos

Please provide an overview of how the PMO team will be able to optimize multiple projects all relying on the same resources.

This is one of the most challenging aspects of managing a project portfolio. Asking this question forces PPM vendors to illustrate through the example of well the portfolio structure of their application platform is integrated. Asking this question also forces the issue of how well optimization logic has been integrated across all the portfolio project management systems and data structures. Being able to optimize constrained resources across competing projects is very difficult, and it forces PPM vendors to provide the best of what they have to offer in their apps.  Be sure to go in depth on this issue and the strengths and weaknesses of each PPM vendor will quickly emerge.    

Can you provide an example of how a project portfolio needed to be rebalanced based on a budget changing?

All PMO teams are asked to completely redefine their project portfolios based on changes in budgets and financial projections. Seeing how quickly a PPM vendor can do this without having to redo entire segments of the project completion is critically important. PMO teams are often required to create report, analyses and provide presentations on project status, while also getting work done. Balancing these two major roles and then having to deal with budget shifts can bring a project to a stop. Instead of allowing this to happen to the PMO team be sure to see how rebalancing the budget for each project and across all projects can be done without impacting overall project structure and speed with no reduction in project progress and speed to completion.       

Please show how your PPM suite of applications track costs by project, including Earned Value Management (EVM) analysis and reporting.   

Tracking costs by the project are the baseline level of functionality all PPM suites can do today. The challenging aspect of this is getting the more advanced aspects of cost management and Earned Value Management (EVM) included in project workflows. Asking to see how PPM projects track costs and EVM across a portfolio is critically important for finding out which projects are on schedule;e, at risk, and behind schedule. The PPM suite vendors shortlisted need to also show expertise in analyzing what percentage complete each project in the portfolio is and show how making resource trade-offs impacts overall EVM over time.  Any product demonstration showing costs and EVM by project portfolio item needs to also include drill-down into cost category assignments and forecasts, all relating back to EVM calculations. State-of-the-art PPM suites are capable of producing this depth of analysis through their integration with accounting and finance systems.     

Our project portfolio is diverse and has a wide variety of people using it. Does it take a professional services engagement to change the interface to your PPM suite?

For many of the previous-generation PPM suites, changing the interface is challenging and requires many hours of professional services custom coding and development. Asking to see how easy or difficult it is to change the user interfaces and streamline the overall user experience will tell you how well structured the PPM suite is structured and coded. It will also provide insights into how well the development team considered personas or aggregations of unique customer needs by the group, in devising their overall product architecture. Ask for a demo specifically on how to customized screens and even change entire workflows. Doing this will provide insights into how customer-centric the PPM suite vendor is in their development efforts.  

How will your project portfolio management system improve my business?

Improving the number and quality of projects that are delivered on time and under budget, PPM suites enable organizations to be more competitive on a global scale every day. Another added benefit is that by using EVM techniques, organizations can more effectively manage each project relative to budget, constraint and broader timeline goals. Over time, project portfolio management systems also generate a wealth of data and insights organizations rely on to improve their product development and planning processes. Organizations can significantly improve collaboration and time-to-market of new initiatives and projects based on the lessons learned.   

Leading Project Portfolio Management Vendors

There are hundreds of Project Portfolio Management (PPM) companies serving a very broad base of manufacturing and services industries today.  Leading vendors include the following:

BaseCamp

Highly regarded in enterprise software and cloud development teams, Basecamp developed by 37signals, LLC meets the needs of geographically distributed development teams that need a concise, single view of project plans, project management tasks and scheduling. Basecamp is designed to provide for task management, file sharing, support for calendar and critical path tracking. It’s a low-end PPM suite that meets the fundamental needs companies have for a portfolio project management application.    

Compuware ChangePoint PSA Software

– A premium PPM suite, ChangePoint PSA is designed specifically for project portfolio management, including structured analysis of costing, budgeting, and EVM. This suite of applications also tracks forecasts, providing analysis and budget variance analysis calculations as well. All the foundational elements of the project and task scheduling, risk management, reporting, and analytics are included in this suite of applications.  

MavenLink Pro –

Popular with mid-tier manufacturers and service organizations and in divisions of larger multinationals, MavenLink Pro is designed for organizations looking to implement PPM strategies based on solid financial data. The company has invested heavily in QuickBooks and other low-end account systems integration to provide smaller organizations with an onramp to use their PPM suite of applications. Mavelink Pro features support for project budgets, variance and cost analysis, time and expense tracking and many more accounting and financial management features including advanced reporting. The application suite also includes support for the foundational features of work scheduling, project and task management including critical path analysis, and resource management.  

Oracle Instantis EnterpriseTrack

– A state-of-the-art PPM suite of applications, Oracle Instantis EnterpriseTrack is specifically designed to provide financial insights into a portfolio of projects and their relative performance. Oracle’s world-class strength as an enterprise software provider is reflected in how tightly integrated the project task management, development and reporting are across this suite of PPM applications. Also, includes are configurable by project, portfolio, product, cost and financial metric definitions. This PPM suite can plan, manage and optimize a portfolio of projects in real-time. Also, there is real-time financial integration support that provides for EVM insights and data that makes the optimization of portfolios possible. Oracle Instantis EnterpriseTrack also has a graphically designed interface that is easily customizable without needing professional services support.

Wrike

– Known for its ease of use and flexibility of reporting, Wrike offers a wealth of graphical representations of projects including Gannt charts, real-time visualizations, timesheets, task sheets, critical path analysis and their Activity Stream. This is a born-in-the-cloud PPM application that can scale across globally distributed teams fast. This cloud-based PPM suite does the foundational elements of portfolio product management excellently, providing insights into tasks, resource, and project management in real-time, presented in intuitively understandable reports and analysis.    

Choosing a Project Portfolio Management system provider is a task that should be given serious consideration. This Project Portfolio Management comparison is meant to be used as a starting point to guide IT professionals who are tasked with making this decision.