Best Tools for Project Portfolio Management

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the process of managing projects and their resources in a way that ensures that the right balance is achieved between the demands of the project and its objectives. This includes managing time, cost, quality, risk, and stakeholder expectations. It also includes measuring performance against set objectives to identify opportunities for improvement. 

PPM can help companies in different ways, such as by providing them with a clear picture of their current situation and risk exposure. It also helps organizations in making better strategic decisions, such as what projects they should take on next and how they should allocate their resources.

Choosing the right project portfolio management tool can help you successfully implement the concept and maximize its benefits. Here’s a list of the top 10 project portfolio management tools.

  1. Kanbanize
  2. Celoxis
  3. Monday
  4. Smartsheet
  5. Wrike
  6. Forecast
  7. Proggio
  8. Microsoft Project Online
  9. Zoho Projects
  10. Planisware

1. Kanbanize

Kanbanize is a Kanban software for Agile project management founded by Dimitar Karaivanov, Christo Stalev, and Bisser Ivanov in 2011. It is a workflow visualization solution that puts the Kanban method and principles into practice. The tool offers enhanced visualization, scalability across teams and management levels, powerful automations, analytics capabilities, and multiple integration options. It helps to gain an understanding of your workload, connect planning with execution, pinpoint improvement opportunities, and clarify processes. Kanbanize allows managing multiple projects with ease thanks to features such as Related Boards which help to connect work items across teams and departments. The flexible timeline and real-time status update functionalities help portfolio managers to track projects and their execution. Kanbanize is praised for its high customization capabilities and its ability to help align projects with strategic goals.

Keep in mind that those new to Kanban may find a steeper learning curve when first implementing the software.

Kanbanzie offers a 30-day free trial. The Standard pricing plan starts at $179/mo for a team of 15 users. Customized pricing is available for users interested in enterprise solutions.

2. Celoxis

Founded by Nikhil Daddikar and Ravindra Wankar in 2001, the SaaS-based company develops project management software that helps to manage projects, resources, and business processes. The software includes project tracking, scheduling, planning accounting, timesheets, and expense tracking capabilities. The customizable portfolio dashboards and reports enable the tracking of key metrics and indicators. In addition to its cloud version, the software is available as an on-premise application. 

There is a long list of available third-party integrations; however, the API functionality and its support can be improved.

Celoxis offers a 30-day free trial and two paid subscriptions. The On-Premise version is priced at $450 billed once, while the Cloud version starts at $25/mo. A minimum of five users is required for the Cloud version.

3. monday.com

monday.com is a cloud-based project management platform that offers an all-in-one overview of projects and processes. The company was founded in 2012 (formerly dapulse) by Eran Zinman and Roy Man and it is now publicly traded. The platform allows users to manage their workflows and projects through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. The software offers 200+ ready-made templates to start with and multiple view modes including  Kanban, Calendar, Timeline, Gantt, Workload view, and more. The Workload view, for instance, is ideal for tracking the progress of projects execution. 

Unfortunately, the offered trial period is limited to dive into all its functionalities and the pricing is on the high end. Customization of workflow automation is also a point of improvement.

monday.com offers a 14-day free trial and comes with a range of available subscription plans. The Individual plan is free forever, the Basic plan starts at $30/mo (3 licenses), the Standard starts at $36/mo (3 licenses), the Pro plan starts at $60/mo (3 licenses), and a customer pricing is available for the Enterprise solution.

4. Smartsheet 

Smartsheet is a cloud-based software for project and work management established in 2006 by the Smartsheet Inc. It helps teams to collaborate, assign tasks, track projects, share documents, and more. The platform helps to align multiple teams around the same high-level goals. The software can be used for managing projects, teams, and programs. Smartsheet allows project and portfolio managers to connect projects and draw data from multiple sources for reporting purposes. However, the spreadsheet-style of the interface can be overwhelming for some users and the customization of templates can be confusing. Another reported drawback is the lack of offline mode.

Smartsheet offers a free 30-day trial, the Pro plan starts at $9/mo, the Business offering starts at $32/mo while the Enterprise plan has custom pricing. 

5. Wrike

Wrike is a project management software established in 2006 by Andrew Filev and acquired by Citrix Systems in 2021. The SaaS platform is designed to help streamline work processes, manage projects, and improve collaboration. To grant greater visibility, the software offers Gantt charts and Kanban board features. Additional capabilities include tracking progress, resources, and deadlines in a single place which provides grounds for more accurate forecasting. 

One limitation of the tool is that customers may find the pricing model confusing, as well as the cost of integrating with important third-party tools.

Wrike offers a 14-day free trial and a free version suitable for centralized task management. The Professional plan starts at $9.80/mo and the Business plan starts at $24.80/mo. There are also custom solutions such as the Enterprise plan for large teams, or the plans designed for creative and service delivery teams. Wrike also offers add-on features for an additional fee.

6. Forecast.app

The Forecast application was founded by Dennis Kayser in 2016. It represents an AI-native platform for managing projects, work, resources, and finances through intelligent automation capabilities. Forecast strives to enhance predictability and planning with AI-powered functionalities such as auto-schedule for better project and resource planning as well as using machine learning to predict task duration, and forecast delivery dates. The tool is suitable for project and resource management in a central place including team collaboration and time tracking. However, it lacks features for scaling across global enterprises. Another drawback is the pricing model which can be confusing to some users.

Forecast offers a 14-day free trial. The application’s paid plan Lite starts at $29/mo and the Pro plan starts at $49/mo (minimum of 10 licenses). The solution is also available at a custom pricing (Plus plan). All plans are billed annually. Forecast’s feature Advanced Analytics (AvA) is available as an add-on as well as some integrations with third-party tools.

7. Proggio

Proggio is a project portfolio management system built to provide a quick overview into ongoing projects, and tasks with the goal to achieve greater alignment between execution and strategic objectives. The company was founded in 2016 by Barak Schiby and Yaniv Shor. The SaaS platform allows visualization of project plans, easy team collaboration, and automatic reports. Some of its special features include project workflows, customized views, and custom dashboards. The software integrates with over 100 third-party work tools including Jira Cloud. However, some specific integrations such as OKTA or Jira On-Premise are only available with the advanced subscription plans.

Proggio offers a 30-day free trial and four paid subscription plans. The Basic plan’s flat rate is $250/mo, the Business plan – is $800/mo, the Professional – is $1.500/mo and there’s a custom solution designed for enterprises – the Enterprise plan. All subscriptions are billed annually.

8. Microsoft Project Online

Microsoft Project Online, or Office 365, and now Microsoft 365 is the cloud version of the project management software developed by Microsoft in 1988. The product was launched in 2017 and it is suitable for experienced project managers and teams thanks to features such as Scrum, Kanban, and other custom workflows. The solution can be implemented in agile project management, waterfall projects, and other methodologies. Some of its key features include time tracking, resource management, custom reports, and many more. 

On the other side, there’s a learning curve, so beginners may find it overwhelming.

Microsoft 365 is available as a subscription-based SaaS solution or on-premises. The cloud plans include Project Plan 1 for $10/mo, Project Plan 3 for $30/mo, and Project Plan 5 for $55/mo. The on-premises plans start at a $679.99 flat rate.

9. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects is a project management solution that allows organizations to easily manage projects, tasks, and teams. The platform was launched in 2006 by the Zoho Corporation. Some of its key features include Gantt charts, task list view, Kanban board view, project and time tracking, file sharing, resource management reporting, communication, and collaboration. 

Despite its rich functionalities, a number of customizable features such as issue and task custom fields, custom projects fields, custom profiles, and roles are only available with the most advanced plan.

Zoho Projects offers a 10-day free trial and two paid subscription plans. The Premium plan is designed for up to 50 members and starts at €5/mo while the Enterprise plan starts at €10/mo and has no upper limit of users.

10. Planisware

Plansware is an all-in-one project and portfolio management solution built to encompass cost, resource, planning, and supply management. The company was established in 1998 by Pierre Demonsant and serves over 1000 customers across the globe. Planisware offers two solutions. The Planisware Enterprise is designed to help large organizations manage budgets, forecasts, schedules, and resources from a single place. On the other hand, Planisware Orchestra is designed for small and medium-sized businesses enabling end-to-end project portfolio management. Both products are cloud-based and include features such as status tracking, time and expense tracking, and timeline views. Planisware’s short free trial and learning curve are highlighted as drawbacks.

Both Planisware Enterprise and Planisware Orchestra have custom pricing. The Planisware Orchestra offers a 14-day free trial.

What are the Benefits of Using PPM Software? 

A PPM tool is not a one-size-fits-all solution; however when applied successfully, project portfolio management can bring the following essential benefits to organizations of all sizes.

  • Provides transparency on what the organizations are currently working on
  • Improved predictability of how much time projects would take until completion
  • Helps in identifying problems at an early stage
  • Time-saving and reducing waste of resources 

What Features should be Included in a PPM Tool?

A project portfolio management tool should have an interface that is easy to use. This will allow users to operate the tool without any prior knowledge of project management. The task management features should facilitate connecting strategic plans with team execution to achieve the high-level objectives. Every PPM solution should have the right analytics toolset to measure the progress of multiple projects and plan based on actual delivery data so you can make better decisions about what should be executed. It should also have integrations with other tools such as Google Drive and Slack so that it is easy for team members to collaborate and share information.

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