Project portfolio management software is an important tool for organizations, as they evaluate and prioritize projects, including software development initiatives.
What must organizations consider when evaluating PPM software? First, they must analyze the basic functionality to realize potential benefits of PPM software.
Here's what PPM systems actually do:
Analyze projects for potential company value
PPM software enables organizations to evaluate projects based on data and metrics to determine the potential value to the organization. Companies can then prioritize projects based on value. Companies can also use PPM to demonstrate the value of projects in relation to the strategic goals of the organization.
Provide oversight and visibility to monitor multiple projects, and identify and connect interdependencies
PPM provides visibility into virtually every aspect of projects, including budget management, risks, schedules, resources and status. Managers can also view interdependencies among projects, so they can determine opportunities for resource sharing, or how one project's progress or delay might benefit or hinder another. PPM also provides insight into why management might prioritize one project over another.
Prioritize resources and projects based on current and future needs
The business doesn't evaluate projects and resources in a vacuum, but within the context of changing company needs and varying resources. Priorities shift, and what's important today might not be important in six months. For example, projections in demand for a particular software application might jump, leading managers to make the development project a higher priority and shift more resources to that endeavor.
Ensure projects stay on budget and on time
PPM tools help organizations track key facets of projects, including costs, resources and schedules. Some PPM software features pipeline management, which helps organizations determine how they can execute a set of projects in a portfolio within a specified time, given the available resources. Resource management is another PPM feature, which tracks resources to help keep projects on budget.
Eliminate guesswork in project planning
With these platforms, managers don't have to guess whether a set of projects is worth pursuing, or whether they will complete the projects on time and within budget. They also don't have to guess when it comes to prioritizing projects -- something that's especially important for organizations with constrained resources.
Potential benefits of PPM software
The benefits of PPM software extend through an organization. One is a reduction in project failure rates. PPM tools alone can't guarantee that projects will ultimately be successful, given all the variables. But it can ensure that project managers are getting what they need, which increases the likelihood of success. The software can help address such problems as lack of adequate budget, project delays, mismanaged resources and lack of project alignment with the company's strategies.
Other potential benefits of PPM software concern cost overrun reduction. Controlling costs involves processes centered on planning, estimating, budgeting, financing, funding and managing. These are among the areas monitored and controlled by PPM tools.
Reducing project throughput times is another benefit. PPM can decrease project turnaround times by keeping work on schedule and by ensuring more effective resource allocation. With shorter time to project completion, companies can realize value quicker.
Not all projects are equal in terms of the potential value, and that's where other benefits of PPM come in: reducing the importance of, and sometimes even eliminating, low-value projects. One of the key points of having a portfolio is for the organization to prioritize the most important projects so that they get the resources they need.
Finally, PPM provides automation features that reduce project administration and monitoring time. For example, some PPM tools have automated reporting and visualization features that allow users to present findings and deliver them to dashboards for decision-makers.
Managers can visualize and analyze portfolio performance to find any issues and gain a visual representation of trends and data to help with decision-making and prioritization.