Recent years have seen even greater expectations placed on project managers to align projects with the overall successful course of their organization. This has led to the concept of “Project Portfolio Management” becoming particularly popular. Similar to how investment portfolios seek to balance risk and deliver optimum returns for investors, project portfolio management seeks to balance management skills and resources “to achieve optimum strategic, financial and operational impacts… in all life-cycle phases” (Ausura, 2002).
In essence this means that projects must be chosen and executed in a manner that keeps pace with the company’s market, while reducing waste, maximizing returns and helping to affirm the company’s strategic direction. Understandably this can add a whole new level of complexity and pressure to the role of project management.
Using PPM tools to help
For project managers facing these challenges, one of the positive aspects of this move towards project portfolio management has been the simultaneous move by tech firms to create PPM tools that can significantly reduce their workload and improve their ability to perform successfully. Here are some of the best:
1. Oracle – Primavera
Oracle are one of the biggest providers of enterprise-grade software solutions and so it is no surprise that they are also the creator of one of the most powerful PPM tools. Primavera is customizable to the size and needs of larger enterprises, capable of performing complex analysis as well as having high levels of configurability to suit wide-ranging projects in the same portfolio.
One of the main reasons for large enterprises to use Primavera is due to its integration with Oracle’s E-Business Suite and SAP, which allow them to harness the data created through their projects to gain real-time business intelligence on progress.
For those looking for a PPM tool with great speed and flexibility, Clarizen is undoubtedly one of the best options. Its ease of use and intuitive, flexible dashboards mean that all project stakeholders across an organization’s projects can easily tap into the same vital project information.
The fact that it is cloud-based means that access speeds and the sharing of information are instantaneous while its integrations with Salesforce, Sharepoint and SAP (among many others) and Android and iOS support mean that it is perfectly adapted to the all-encompassing goals of project portfolio management.
With a closer focus on the job costing and contract management aspects of project portfolio management, Synergist is a PPM tool from the UK that excels at providing real-time financial reports and insight into the progress of one or several projects from a financial perspective.
For companies looking to align and streamline their outlays and income from projects, Synergist identifies patterns and potential risks inherent across their operations.
If one of the core drivers of your organization’s portfolio project management is data analysis across their various projects, then Deltek could be a useful addition to their project managers’ toolbox. Its reporting functions include tracking productivity, investment and resource availability across projects and teams. The data analysis aspect is particularly important for project portfolio management to ensure that an organization is operating at an optimum level.