Project portfolio management tools: The key to successful
Project portfolio management (PPM) is a bit like juggling. It’s really all about balance — the ability to manage objects moving separately with limited resources until their movements become synchronized.
PPM’s focus is always on the bigger picture. PPM managers want to know how well a particular project selection aligns with the overarching objectives of your organization. From a PPM perspective, it is not only about completing the project; it is about completing the right project that fits into the objectives of the project portfolio.
The project portfolio management process is incredibly data-driven. It is only with the right assortment of information, data, and relevant questions that project portfolio managers can get the job done.
That’s where project portfolio management tools come in.
What are Project Portfolio Management Tools?
Project portfolio management (PPM) tools include project management software, techniques, and processes that help project managers manage their project portfolios.
There are several project portfolio management tools and techniques that are available to project portfolio managers today, with all of them geared towards the same singular purpose:
Ensuring that the proper selection of projects, irrespective of all the project risks involved, are identified, prioritised, authorised and managed to success.
Why should organizations even bother with PPM Tools
Organization stakeholders use project portfolio management tools to constantly evaluate, review and re-evaluate project budget, project value, probability of project success, and most importantly, how well the project fits into the overall company objective.
Using project portfolio management software allows you to track all of your projects in one central location. These tools eliminate the need for multiple project planning platforms or project management tools that project managers and team members would need to log into frequently.
Organization stakeholders use project portfolio management tools to constantly evaluate, review and re-evaluate project budget, project value, probability of project success, and most importantly how well the project fits into the overall company objective.
What do project portfolio management tools bring to the table?
But, it’s not enough to define project management tools. To make things even more straightforward, we’ll highlight the functions/benefits of project portfolio management tools.
Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tools help project managers prioritize their initiatives by monitoring progress, comparing project performance, and evaluating resource allocation.
These systems allow project managers to develop detailed views of project metrics like estimated time to complete or actual time to complete project tasks, project financials such as project budgets and project profitability, project quality metrics like project defects and project issues.
This is especially important because several factors might affect project priority along the way. Without an effective PPM strategy (and its associated PPM tools), it is easy for project managers and stakeholders to lose sight of the current priority status of each project.
PPM tools allow project managers to be more agile by increasing visibility into projects and allowing them to make information-driven decisions about resource allocation across the organization. PPM tools also facilitate collaboration between project managers and program managers.
Financial Risk Calculation
Many project portfolio management tools help project managers calculate project financials to identify project profitability and project risk. For example, these PPM tools evaluate the impact of project issues on project schedule and cost overruns, as well as the impact of project scope changes on project time and project costs. PPM tools can also recommend optimal resource allocation for project managers over time.
Project portfolio management tools provide project managers with project metrics that help project managers effectively communicate project performance to organizational leadership. For example, project task status views and reports compare actual progress to project milestone dates or project deadlines. These project metrics help organizations make informed choices about resource allocation across projects in a set of initiatives called a “portfolio.”
This one’s definitely the pick of the bunch whenever you consider the benefits of project portfolio management tools.
Portfolio management tools can give project managers and team members a better sense of project transparency, helping them make well-informed decisions based on all project details that are visible at any time throughout its lifecycle. The ability to easily monitor each project’s progress helps project managers and project teams stay on track.
In addition, project portfolio management software can help increase project visibility across the enterprise, which ultimately helps improve productivity in the workplace. With a central location to monitor all projects from one place, project managers are able to make sure that their project is on schedule while also making course corrections when necessary.
Project Portfolio Management Techniques
PPM techniques can also be referred to as PPM tools. However, they are not as widely recognised as PPM software. This is mostly because any PPM software worth its salt leverages several PPM techniques to get the job done.
Some of the more common PPM techniques include:
- Cost-benefit analysis — an in-depth look at the advantages and disadvantages each separate project poses to the overall success of an organisation.
- Continous improvement metrics — is all about constant analysis intended to improve processes and overall workflow.
Strategic Alignment — is geared towards ensuring that projects fit into the overall company strategy.
Choosing the right Project Portfolio Management Tool
Project portfolio management tools are not just great for businesses, they are essential to the growth and success of businesses. More so for modern-day organisations who are always taking on multiple projects and programs at the same time.
The right project portfolio management tool/software should be endowed with many features but these ones remain the most important to look out for:
- Effective identification and implemetation of strategic goals
- Clear map-out of strategic milestones to reach
- Easy to operate — great user interface, speedy customer onboarding
- Agility, adaptiveness and flexibility
- Enabler of remote collaboration — in-app communication
- Quality automation of the portfolio management process — realtime reporting and analytics, detailed dashboards
It is also very important to mention that the right PPM software for your organisation is not necessarily the most popular one. What’s important that the software understands your organisations goals and work systems and can effectively optimise efforts that are favourable to the organisation.
You can’t go wrong with a project portfolio management tool. The right one will help you organise your projects in the way that best suits your organisation’s objectives, and provide insight into how to make better decisions about which projects to pursue next.
Founder of Uppwise, Gioacchino has solid hands-on, experience and vision in the PPM Market, gained as a startupper and founder of a number of software & cloud-services companies. During the last two years he has lead the company transformation, shifting from the offering of a traditional PPM product to a new suite of SPM, APM and CWM products.