Cora Assistant project manager managing multiple projects project portfolio management software

How to Choose Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Software

As companies scale, effective project management becomes increasingly important.

It also becomes increasingly complex. Fortunately, there is a wide range of project portfolio management software solutions designed to help team members effectively manage multiple projects simultaneously in a way that makes it much easier for a team to reach its goals and objectives for any given set of projects. 

While PPM software and PPM tools have always played an important role in helping companies create a centralized management solution, they are more vital than ever before in today’s world where working remotely is becoming more and more common. 

Of course, choosing the right project portfolio management software for your team’s unique needs is a crucial first step. In order to help you choose the portfolio management software that will be best-suited to help your team reach its strategic objectives and provide the best return on investment, we’ll explore everything that resource managers should look for in project and portfolio management software. 

Project portfolio management team meeting around a desk

 

Assess Your Team’s Needs 

The PPM software that will be suited for your needs will largely depend on your team’s unique strategic goals and PPM process. When choosing PPM tools, therefore, it’s important to consider the big picture and decide how much you actually need to invest in PPM solutions. For project teams that are tasked with managing one individual project, PPM modules that can be purchased as technology platform extensions for existing enterprise application platforms are sometimes adequate to meet the team’s goals and objectives. 

Project managers working for large companies with more complex project planning responsibilities, meanwhile, will likely be better-suited purchasing high-level PPM solutions. In order to make informed decisions about the project portfolio management tools you and your team need, it’s a good idea to begin with a thorough assessment of your team’s projects and resources needs. 

Consider Your Problems and Pain Points

When assessing the needs of your PPM team, the problems and pain points that your team encounters on a frequent basis are especially deserving of attention. Common PPM pain points include things such as poor productivity due to too much time spent on non-value-added tasks, ineffective resource utilization, and elongated project timelines that are delaying time-to-market. 

Of course, there are plenty of other problems and pain points that could be impacting the strategic plans of your PPM team as well. By pinpointing the issues that are creating the most problems for your PPM team, you can better choose the tools that will be able to help alleviate those issues. 

Align Your Project Portfolio Management Software With Your Team’s Needs and Pain Points 

Once you have assessed the needs and pain points of your PPM team, the next step is to start searching for PPM tools that are aligned with those needs and pain points. 

For example, if you determine that time wasted on non-value-added tasks is one of your team’s key struggles, PPM software that centralizes project data in order to eliminate the need for lengthy searches, includes workflow automation for project-tracking tasks, and is capable of automatically generating reports and dashboards may be an ideal solution for your needs. 

If addressing elongated project cycle time is your key concern, you may be best served by PPM software that includes resource management and resource planning features. These tools are designed to ensure effective resource allocation to maximize your resource capacity as well as workflow optimization tools designed to improve efficiency. In addition, dedicated risk management features designed to help you better analyze the feasibility of a potential project. 

Once again, these are just a couple of examples of how PPM software can be aligned with the unique needs of your PPM team. Whatever you determine the primary needs of your PPM team to be, try to choose the PPM tools with the features and functionalities that will enable you to address those needs. 

Other Criteria to Look For in Project Portfolio Management Software

In addition to choosing PPM software that is aligned with the specific needs and pain points of your PPM team, there is a number of other criteria that you will want to prioritize in the PPM tools you are considering regardless of what your unique goals and objectives happen to be. This includes criteria such as: 

Financial scalability

Scalability 

Your PPM process is not likely to be the same a year from now as it is today. If your company is striving for growth – as almost all companies are – then the needs of your PPM team are sure to change as your company scales. The requirements you have for your PPM software, therefore, are sure to change as well. 

With this being the case, it doesn’t make sense to make a large investment in a fixed-scale solution that won’t be able to adapt to your future PPM needs. Instead, it is much more prudent for project management offices to emphasize the big picture by purchasing flexible PPM software solutions that are designed to scale and evolve alongside the company that is using them. 

This means prioritizing solutions that offer a scalable database with expandable storage capabilities and solutions that enable you to easily add new modules and technology platform extensions. 

Ease of Use 

Every PPM tool is going to entail some degree of a learning curve – especially tools with a robust list of functionalities. If you purchase software that is exceedingly difficult to use, though, you are likely to only magnify the productivity issues that your team is already facing. 

Choosing a solution that provides plenty of tools and functions while at the same time prioritizing a solution that won’t be overly difficult for your team to adapt to is somewhat of a fine line to walk. However, it is certainly essential to find this ideal balance between functionality and ease of use if you want to choose software that will actually solve your problems rather than making them worse. 

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Security

Strong cybersecurity is more important today than ever before. With data breaches and malicious attacks such as ransomware attacks becoming increasingly common, the security of the PPM software you choose is an essential factor to take into account. This is especially important if you are considering a cloud-based, SaaS solution. 

While cloud-based PPM software is becoming increasingly popular thanks both to its scalability and its ease of use, cloud-based PPM software also makes the potential for data breaches that much more concerning. Whatever PPM software you choose though – whether it is an on-site solution or a cloud-based solution – make sure to choose software that includes robust security features. 

Interfaceability 

The ability to interface your PPM system with other enterprise software that your company makes use of is something that can prove to be incredibly valuable. PPM software that is able to automatically extract data from other systems, for example, is just one highly convenient feature that you can look forward to when you choose a PPM solution that is capable of interfacing with other enterprise software.

Traceability 

The ability to trace back your past actions within the PPM system is a functionality that you should certainly prioritize in your PPM software. Real-time tracking of project and resource activity is something that every good PPM solution should offer. In addition to real-time tracking, though, your system should also offer a comprehensive database that includes a history of all actions taken within the system as well as an audit trail that will enable you to determine who made particular changes and when those changes took place. 

it support engineer

Request a Demo of PPM Tools 

Choosing the PPM software that will meet your demand management needs without actually being able to actually try out the software that you are considering can be a real challenge. Thankfully, many PPM solutions enable you to demo the software for a limited period of time before you actually make a purchase. 

If a software demo is an option for a solution that you are considering, this is certainly something that you should take advantage of. In the end, there is no better way to evaluate how well a particular solution is going to meet your needs than getting your hands on it and trying it out for yourself. 

Making use of a free demo if the PPM solution that you are considering happens to offer one, therefore, is by far the most effective way to evaluate a solution before you make a large investment. 

Let Cora Systems Help You Choose the Ideal PPM Software For Your Team’s Needs 

At Cora Systems, helping project managers choose PPM software solutions that are best suited for their unique needs and requirements is our core competency. If you would like to choose a solution that will make tasks such as managing resources, capacity planning, and overall project management much more efficient and time-effective for your PPM team then the PPM software experts at Cora Systems are able to help. 

To learn more about the wide range of exceptional PPM solutions that we offer and to receive expert guidance on choosing the PPM software that is ideal for your specific goals and objectives, be sure to request a demo today.