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A Complete List Of The Best PPM Tools

By 22/10/2018 No Comments
 

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You’ve got visions of growth for your team and your business, but in order to turn those visions into reality, you’ve got to have the right PPM tools to effectively manage projects and resources as you scale.

The Best PPM Tools

We’ve seen a lot of great project portfolio management software, but these are a cut above the rest. We take an in-depth look at the pros & cons of the following tools in this review:

Growing your team—and your enterprise in general—through bigger and bigger projects is paramount in order to be a competitive company in today’s market. With project portfolio management tools, you can collect and consolidate data about your projects in order to manage risks, resources, timelines, budgets, and much more.

Project Portfolio Management Software

There’s no shortage of great PPM tools out there, which is why we’re providing a detailed evaluation of the best ones in this PPM tool review. Learn what PPM tools do, how the best PPM tools compare, and how to know that you’re picking the ideal software for your project portfolio and business goals.

But first, a few basics:

What Is PPM?

In project management, PPM is project portfolio management. In PPM, a project portfolio manager take a high-level look at the pool of projects and programs (some of which may be directly related, and some not) in a business’s portfolio.

A single project is the elementary cell of an organization. Zoom out, and we have project management, which is concerned with the execution needed for completing projects. Zoom out more, and we see the various projects that an organization takes on. PPM is concerned with making sure these distinct projects are undertaken in a way that complement one another in terms of resources, timelines, and overall business goals.

What Does A Project Portfolio Manager Do?

A project portfolio manager oversees, controls, and leads the tasks associated with managing a project portfolio. This person needs the skills of a chess master to adequately lead the team and finish projects, ideally on time and under budget. The responsibility range of this position is immense and often deals with researchers, analysts and clients as they manage the high-level coordination of projects, following current market trends and anticipating future ones.

What Do PPM Tools Do And How Can They Help You?

Project Portfolio Management software - ppm tools

Discover the benefits of using project portfolio management tools

Keep your project on the right track: You’re as good as the data you have. Use PPM software to avoid the trap of making poor decisions based on outdated or irrelevant information.

Provide executive-level business insight: Detailed project stats are simply impossible to store in your head. When managing multiple projects, you need software that is able to provide more advanced data—and executives will love you because of it! Proving to stakeholders the value and rationale behind decisions in a concise manner will help you build strong business cases for your projects.

Allocate resources: Driving better business decisions is at the top of every successful business’ priority list. PPM software shows you who’s working on what and for how long, allowing you to allocate and redistribute resources accordingly.

Fix performance issues: When managing a project portfolio, you might start to identify places where the same problems arise on a recurring basis. An effective PPM tool helps you track project’s health indicators (such as Return on Investment) and identify any unhealthy patterns.

Assess risks: PPM software provides data and transparency into your projects for not only identifying risks, but for quantifying them and exploring solutions by way of your portfolio data.

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At the bottom of the post, we include a table summarizing basic info about the tools described in this article as well as an explanation of our selection criteria, so you can understand how we made this list of workflow management software.

Overview Of The Best Project Portfolio Management Software (PPM Tools)

  • 14 days free trial
  • From $17/month for 2 users

1. monday.com

monday.com is a great project portfolio management software because of the way the tool has done away with a lot of the trimmings of typical management tools and focused on simple, visually intuitive layouts that help clarify the sequence of work.

monday.com allows you to allocate & prioritize tasks, use various views in order to see where everything stands, and track multiple projects using dashboards that provide high-level insights in a visual and intuitive way. The platform is completely customizable so you will be able to adjust it to your workflow. The platform also provides powerful and customizable notifications and automation so you and your team can focus on what’s important.

With monday.com you can plan, manage and track your budgets in an intuitive interface. You can track expenses, income, their dates, and attach needed files to each item. And thanks to the various columns, you can filter items by many different variables such as status, people, text, time, location and others. Formula columns are also available.

While monday.com doesn’t offer traditional automated reporting, it is built to show the big picture at a glance to help you analyze various aspects of your projects and processes. To learn about the different capabilities that help analyze performance, scope out their detailed explanation here.

monday.com’s integrations include project management apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and many more, accessible via Zapier.

monday.com costs from $17/month for two users. The company’s customer support is available 24/7 by phone or email and answers within 10 minutes.

Summary of monday.com:

  1. Resource management: Pass
  2. Financial administration: Pass
  3. Risk management: Pass
  4. Reporting & analytics: Fail
  5. Integrations: Pass
  • 30 days free trial
  • Statts at $25/user/month

2. Celoxis

Celoxis is an all-in-one project portfolio management software and work collaboration platform that is successfully adopted by brand like HBO, Rolex, Virgin Care, Adobe, Staples, LG, and Deloitte. Being a full-featured project portfolio management system, Celoxis is still very intuitive and easy to use for teams of all sizes.

With Celoxis, you get comprehensive resource management capabilities. It lets you easily allocate resources based on skills, roles, and availability as well as view cross-portfolio resource workload to optimally utilize your workforce. You will find tools for capacity planning, demand management, and project requests. When it comes to tracking project financials, you can automatically get cost/revenue estimates from your plans. You can also track budgets, costs and profits in real-time as well as plug billing leaks by timely invoicing your clients. Celoxis’ reporting features let you slice, dice and visualize data your way. You can get aggregated information about your projects with fully customizable portfolio dashboards. Celoxis comes pre-built with common workflows to help bug/issue tracking and risk management. These workflows are very adaptable to suit your organizational processes without having to resort to emails and spreadsheets.

Celoxis integrates seamlessly with hundreds of popular business applications through first-class integration connectors and web-based API. This includes critical platforms like Jira, Salesforce, QuickBooks Online, Excel, Slack, Google Apps and more.

Celoxis is one of the few tools that offer SaaS and On-Premise deployment options. Celoxis costs $25/user/month with additional commitment discounts.

Summary of Celoxis:

  1. Resource management: Pass
  2. Financial administration: Pass
  3. Risk management: Pass
  4. Reporting & analytics: Pass
  5. Integrations: Pass
  • Free trial available
  • Starts at $67/user/month

3. Sciforma

Sciforma PPM is a robust project portfolio management software solution that allows PMOs and project delivery leaders to achieve higher growth and reach strategic objectives through more efficient and effective management of the project portfolio. Functionally scalable, PMOs (no matter what the PPM maturity) can take advantage of Sciforma’s critical PPM capabilities: portfolio and program, resources, demand, project planning, time tracking, and collaboration to make smarter, data-driven decisions. Discover powerful portfolio status overviews, project health scores, portfolio simulations, strong capacity planning, and much more.

This tool provides a flexible platform in which you can manage multiple project environments on both the project- and portfolio level, including IT, NPD/R&D, professional services and public sector. In Sciforma, PMO managers will find rich strategy and portfolio planning facilities, while team members can take advantage of its offering of state-of-the-art tools for project collaboration and task execution. Sciforma makes the most sense from a technology deployment risk-reward perspective: it’s robust, easy to implement, and quick to scale.

Sciforma’s demand and portfolio management help prioritize the project portfolio. Its features include advanced budget-driven ranking options, dynamic business case criteria, and scoring, and multi-scenario simulations. For project and resource management, you’ll find features to deploy and mobilize projects: a powerful Gantt view with the critical path, sophisticated cost, and budget management, integrated agile, resource utilization reporting, and capacity planning. You can analyze and optimize projects with key project metrics on configurable dashboards and reports.

Sciforma integrates with various line-of-business tools most common in organizations through the software’s API. This includes platforms such as Exchange, Google Calendar, Jira, Salesforce, Sharepoint, Yammer, Quickbooks, VersionOne, Oracle, SAP, Sage, and many more.

Sciforma costs $67/user/month plus a one-time implementation fee. Discounts are available for selected user types.

Summary of Sciforma:

  1. Resource management: Pass
  2. Financial administration: Pass
  3. Risk management: Pass
  4. Reporting & analytics: Pass
  5. Integrations: Pass
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $14/user/month

4. Smartsheet – online project management, work execution, and resource management with great reporting capabilities

Smartsheet isn’t a dedicated PPM tool but it does have a lot of really good reporting features that make it great for looking at project metrics on both an individual and high level.
So, while there really aren’t many finance or risk management features, Smartsheet offers some above-average reporting and visualization tools that are useful for portfolio management. For example real-time metrics and customizable dashboards that can be made to display specific project data for each project by modifying a drag-and-drop dashboard interface.

Indeed, reporting is the strongest feature of this tool in the context of managing a portfolio of projects, offering the ability to publish stakeholder-facing reporting dashboards and editable summary reports that you can easily export to Excel.

There are lots of project management and resource management tools, which I consider to be fairly standard among this type of software—it’s a well-rounded set of tools for scheduling, assigning resources, tracking work, and assigning and tracking budget. There isn’t a dedicate PPM module in this tool, but you’ll doubtlessly collect all of the project data you need to analyze a portfolio (budget and spend, resource allocation, capacity, etc) and do the rest with a prebuilt integration to a business intelligence tool like Tableau (below).

Smartsheet integrations include Microsoft and Google apps, as well as development essentials like Jira, and useful business apps like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, Box, and Tableau. The platform is extensible through a REST API and webhooks.

Smartsheet costs from $14/user/month and offers a 30-day trial

  • 10 days free trial
  • From $18 for 6 users

5. Zoho Projects – Run multiple projects effectively with Zoho’s comprehensive project management platform.

Zoho Projects is an award-winning project management and collaboration tool from Zoho. It offers flexibility and customizations to suit the needs of traditional project managers as well as agile teams.

The resource utilization charts enable users to easily view the workload of team members. Managers can create and balance the workload with just a click of a button. Fix hourly rates, create invoices and have an eye on your project budget. Forecast project budget, keep track of your timelines with baselines and critical path analysis.

The interface and modules are highly customizable. All aspects of the UI from theme colors to arrangement and visibility of the various modules can be changed to suit a user’s preferences. Zoho projects also offer free onboarding for its customers and a comprehensive online help guide for all users.

Zoho Projects is one of the few PPM tools that allow the creation of dependencies between projects. The portfolio widget on the dashboard helps users to get an overview of all projects at a glance. Zoho Projects stands out in cases where there are multiple hand-offs involved. It is especially popular among IT companies, consultants and education organizations. With Blueprints, users can create and automate workflows, notifications, and escalations.

Being part of Zoho’s ecosystem allows Projects to connect to several of Zoho’s own services such as Zoho Books, Zoho CRM, and Zoho’s finance suite. The new Zoho marketplace allows 3rd party integrations as well.

Starts from $18 for 6 users. Free 10-day trial available. No credit card information required.

Summary of Oracle Primavera:

  1. Resource management: Pass
  2. Financial administration: Pass
  3. Risk management: Pass
  4. Reporting & analytics: Pass
  5. Integrations: Pass
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $9.8/user/month

6. Wrike

Wrike has achieved international renown as a PM tool. With a focus on managing tasks and group collaboration, Wrike is similar to platforms like JIRA, Clarizen or Asana.

Wrike’s resource management capabilities are powered by lots of live-tracking, with a simplified overview of team workloads making it easy to track and balance resources. The Gantt chart feature also provides a visual timeline for setting dependencies and making real-time adjustments. Time and budget tracking features allow for financial administration, and you can use Wrike’s report-building wizard to create real-time, interactive reports (with graphs, status updates, etc). There’s also a feature for scheduling notifications that it’s time for a regular report update or review.

Wrike’s integrations and accessibility is one of the most favored aspects of this platform: not only is it supported on Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS, it integrates with a variety of apps like Jira, Box, Adobe Creative Cloud, GitHub, Microsoft, Zapier, and many more.

Wrike costs from $9.80/user/month.

Summary of Wrike:

  1. Resource management: Pass
  2. Financial administration: Pass
  3. Risk management: Pass
  4. Reporting & analytics: Pass
  5. Integrations: Pass
  • Free demo
  • From $24/user/month

7. Changepoint

Changepoint offers a well-rounded tool for managing multiple aspects of a project portfolio—financial, contract, resource, project, time and expense, and revenue management. Financial analysis is a strong point of this tool, making it a good choice for project portfolio managers who need to be able to improve cash flow and accurately forecast revenue, margins, and costs.

The variety of PPM tasks that Changepoint facilitates is impressive. It offers Gantt charts, task management, and workflow tools, in addition to real-time financial analysis tools with multi-currency support. It doesn’t offer as much in terms of reporting as some of the other tools (like Workfront and Wrike with their easily configurable reporting dashboards) but it does offer some essential financial reporting features.

Changepoint is a flexible tool that can be deployed via the web, cloud and/or SaaS, and it integrates with a large number of additional tools: JIRA, the MS suite, SAP, Google, Dropbox, and many others.

Changepoint costs from $24/user/month.

Summary of Changepoint:

  1. Resource management: Pass
  2. Financial administration: Pass
  3. Risk management: Pass
  4. Reporting & analytics: Fail
  5. Integrations: Pass
  • Free demo
  • From $45/user/month

8. Liquid Planner

Last, but certainly not least, we have Liquid Planner. For portfolio managers who are looking for a rich, clean visual experience, Liquid Planner delivers with its customizable dashboards and multiple views showing simple, clear visualizations of your project data. Liquid Planner’s whole system is quite visual and minimalistic, making it easy to learn and understand. Its cross-project visibility module makes it ideal for project portfolio management, with additional modules for smart scheduling, resource management, collaboration, time-tracking. On top of this, Liquid Planner provides a robust set of advanced analytics features to analyze project performance, costs, provides, client portfolios, baseline trends, and more.

Liquid Planner integrates with JIRA, Trello, Slack, Google Sheets, Zendesk—just to name a few.

Liquid Planner costs from $45/user/month.

Summary of Liquid Planner:

  1. Resource management: Pass
  2. Financial administration: Pass
  3. Risk management: Pass
  4. Reporting & analytics: Pass
  5. Integrations:  Pass
  • Free demo
  • From $2,750

9. Oracle Primavera

Oracle has been in the game of software development for a long time, and they deliver enormous value and variety in their suite of project and portfolio management tools. The Primavera Portfolio Management solution has nearly unlimited configurability and is built to scale to an enterprise level. Of the PPM tools, Oracle Primavera is capable of higher complexity analysis—while some organizations require the deep levels of configuratibility and granularity, for others, the advanced nature of this tool could make it cumbersome. It’s a robust tool, and it comes with a learning curve.

Primavera’s resource management features include progress tracking, workflow configuration, tools for performing “What if” scenarios, tools for comparing past projects and projecting future ones. The financial administration features allow you to review projects and portfolios to identify where to assign and withdraw investment, with insights on business case, funding, and staffing that let you select the best investments. The reporting and analytics are highly configurable, and the platform offers a multitude of ways to analyze the projects in your portfolio—comparing sets of project metrics, high-level Gantt charts, investment dependencies, and much more.

Primavera’s integrations are more focused on enterprise organizations than on lean agencies who want to hook up all their time-tracking apps and Kanban tools. Instead, Primavera integrates with enterprise names like Oracle’s Autovue, SAP, an Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Projects, and several more.

Oracle Primavera costs $2,750

Summary of Oracle Primavera:

  1. Resource management: Pass
  2. Financial administration: Pass
  3. Risk management: Pass
  4. Reporting & analytics: Pass
  5. Integrations: Pass
  • Free demo
  • Starts at $20/user/month

10. WorkOtter

WorkOtter is easy to set up and use project, resource, and portfolio management solution for IT, Engineering, Consulting, and SMB PMOs. End-to-end features include intake, workflow, projects, time, financials, Gantt, Kanban, forms, “what-if” scenarios, and collaboration. Integrates with popular systems and over 100 “magic dashboards” (or visually build your own) to automate PMO reporting quickly.

WorkOtter offers flexibility to build plans visually (Gantt, Kanban, and Agile) or sync 2-way with Excel, JIRA, and MS Project. Team members can enjoy a quick “To-Do” list, can self assign (based on skill), and quickly add time/status information (via mobile or web). Executives can provide estimates, have a pre-configured dashboard for their organization’s performance, and prioritize.

WorkOtter has an intuitive, configurable, and visually appealing interface. The screens can be tailored with drag & drop simplicity to build personalized views, and update project plans. Best, perhaps, is the interactive and visual “magic dashboards” that animate and visualize data for users (with over 100 in the library to choose from).

WorkOtter syncs bi-directionally with MS Project, JIRA, and Excel. Teams can sync with Outlook and collaborate by email (without logging in). The tool offers document management integration with Sharepoint, Dropbox, Box, and more. It also integrates easily with Salesforce, Teams, Slack, QuickBooks, and more through open Swagger APIs. Dashboards and reports can also be emailed or exported in Excel, XML, CSV, Word, or PDF formats.

WorkOtter manager licenses cost $35/user/month and team members cost $20/user/month (billed annually). Implementation, support, and other license types are available. Perspective clients get an interactive demo, PMO best practice suggestions, cost estimates, and a PPM business case.

Summary of WorkOtter:

  1. Resource management: Pass
  2. Financial administration: Pass
  3. Risk management: Fail
  4. Reporting & analytics: Pass
  5. Integrations:  Pass

The Best PPM Tools Summary Chart

Here’s a summary chart with essential info: easily compare free trials and demos and pricing, along with a score showing how we rate the tool.

Project Portfolio Management Software Selection Criteria

In our selection of PPM tools, we narrowed down our criteria to a few key points. Let’s go through some of the most important criteria for choosing the best PPM tool fit for your team.

  • Resource management – Like project management tools with resource scheduling software, PPM software with resource management will help you make better decisions. This includes features for scheduling resources and managing timelines, and projections.
  • Financial administration – PPM tools should help improve your accuracy in managing financial projections, with functionality for estimating costs and managing budgets. The best software has the option to manage payrolls, and payment invoicing in general.
  • Risk management – Risk management tools enable us to plan accordingly, make risk response plans, and easily estimate the impact of What If scenarios.
  • Reporting & analytics – With a robust, streamlined reports that allow you to see what works and what doesn’t, you set yourself up for future success. Modern portfolio management software must provide multiple options for generating reports. Spreadsheets are a baseline, but there are plenty of modern PPM tools with great data visualization tools for communicating data to stakeholders.
  • Integrations – Because there is no perfect PPM software out there, we need tools that sync or integrate with other project management tools. 

How To Choose The Best Portfolio Management Software For Your Projects?

Now, you have the insight into the most popular PPM tools out there. At this point, we’ll walk you through the final steps on how to choose the best PPM solution for your organization. Ask yourself these questions when choosing PPM software:

What Is Your PPM Maturity Level?

According to the Gartner model, you can determine your enterprise’s maturity by placing it into one of the 5 models (in ascending order of maturity):

  1. Reactive – this accounts for all organizations with an ad-hoc approach to projects. There is a minimal requirement for high-end PPM tools, although they’ll prove necessary for growth
  2. Emerging Discipline – next level of management and approach to projects. It involves the use of basic PPM tools but on a more frequent and advanced level.
  3. Initial Integration – follows a more holistic approach to PPM. This is the point where a larger organization pattern is needed. Risky decisions could surface, and data tracking must be on point.
  4. Effective Integration – This is the point where automation become necessary, and a manager needs as much help as possible in order to execute everything on time, and under budget.
  5. Effective innovation – This is the end-game everyone strives for. PPMs are fully utilized on multiple levels, and an Enterprise Project Management Office is installed to facilitate the execution.

What Are The Main Requirements?

Take the time to carefully plan out the requirements that your team has for a PPM tool. Analyze the past work and the potential future projects, and try to make an assessment as objectively as possible. Use this article as a cheat sheet and consult as many sources you can before deciding on your ideal PPM tool.

How Would The PPM Tool Fit Into Your Workflow?

Think about every tool you and your team use besides a PPM tool. Check for integration compatibility and see in which part of the project cycle you are going to integrate the newly acquired tool first.

How Long To Set It Up?

Just keep in mind that your current projects might need to come to a short halt in order to fully integrate a new PPM tool. Besides, think about the support for different native platforms, like Android an iOS, and fit it into your team accordingly.

Ease Of Onboarding

Your team will need some time to learn and adapt to the new set of PPM tools that are going to be presented to them. Account for every factor like: time to learn, availability of learning material, training, and support from the software provider, etc.

Cost

Last, but certainly not least, these PPM tools come at a price. After you calculate in the budget you have to afford them, do not forget that every PPM tool pays off multifold with the service it provides.

Other PPM tools

We’ve prepared a list of additional PPM tools that you might consider:

Want Help Narrowing Down the Options?

This tool is pretty useful. We’ve partnered with Crozdesk to give you access to their “Software Finder”.

If you input some of the details about your project and the features you’re looking for in a project management tool, it will generate a list of tools that match your preferences. You provide your email, and they send over a nice PDF guide with a summary of your best matches.

What Do You Think?

Do you agree with our list? How would you approach to this topic? There are a ton of factors into the project portfolio management equation, and new input is always welcome.

 

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Connect resource planning and project management in one solution.
Maximize project performance with Mavenlink.

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Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedigitalprojectmanager.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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