Aligning resources with your strategic goals
Project portfolio management (PPM) software is a decision making tool—“answer software,” if you like. And, what are the most important answers it’s designed to help you find? Namely, what are the right initiatives to pursue and when should they be pursued. Sounds simple enough. But this single concept involves all sorts of complexity in the real world. In order to come up with the right answers—the right project priorities—you need to be able to weigh all the different factors that go into a project-by-project cost/benefits analysis.
Whereas project leaders and project team members require tools designed to manage the completion of single-project tasks and scheduling, executives need a way to distill the big picture into actionable project portfolio leadership. The ability to catalog projects and score them in terms of normalized costs and benefits, presents an opportunity to utilize data to more effectively manage the project portfolio. Project portfolio management solutions are the enemy of the hunch. They are designed to gather data and model estimates in order to come up with reliable predictions on which projects will generate the greatest returns.
Managing for success across the project portfolio
Prioritization of projects isn’t the only responsibility of project portfolio management software though. After all, selecting the right projects is only half the battle. Projects must be well-managed in order to achieve the desired results. PPM systems are designed to help handle risk analysis, change requests, budgeting, and resource allocations across the enterprise, in order to accomplish the end of goal of successfully executing your most important strategic initiatives.
Executives and key decision-makers are utilizing PPM software to enhance portfolio management across a variety of project types, including: IT, marketing, product development, and business development.
Benefits of project portfolio management software
The benefits of PPM include:
- Completing more projects in less time,
- Shortening the time-to-value cycle on individual projects,
- Minimizing risk,
- Increasing collaboration,
- And, most importantly, optimizing the use of resources on high return initiatives.
Understanding core PPM capabilities
The central functional capabilities of project portfolio management systems include:
- Scheduling and resource management. One of the critical responsibilities of PPM software is managing access to finite resources—such as equipment and labor—across a multitude of different projects.
- Analytics and dashboards. Strong reporting capabilities are required to distill large data sets into project prioritization and performance metrics. Graphical presentations of data are becoming an increasingly more popular way to simplify the complexity of managing numerous projects in various life-cycle stages.
- Budgeting. Integration with financial systems and budgeting software can help identify capital availability and likely project costs, which can be utilized in the cost benefits analysis to determine project prioritization.
- Risk analysis. PPM software utilizes risk analysis tools to identify potential risks to successful project completion. The ability to weight the likelihood of risks and the potential financial impact is an important part of determining estimated project return on investment.
- Contingencies. Projects aren’t planned in a vacuum. Changes in the business environment can create alter project prioritization and the ability of organizations to successfully complete in-process projects. Contingency management software allows forward looking enterprises the opportunity to plan for project prioritization and completion changes and manage issues as they arise.
- Cost/benefit analysis. PPM software programs provide estimation tools designed to identify likely costs and resulting benefits. In more sophisticated programs, integration with financial management systems can be utilized to leverage existing financial performance data into specific what-if scenarios in order to come up with more data-driven estimates.
- Request management and ideation. Often PPM systems will incorporate submission tools to collect project ideas from across the enterprise.
Taking the next steps
If you are at the point where you are looking to find good project portfolio management options to evaluate, we can help. We offer a free software search service designed to help save you time finding the right program for your organization. Get started today!