Project Portfolio Management Software: Efficient Portfolio Planning & Resource Utilization
In software development since 1989, ScienceSoft provides project management consulting and development services for project portfolio management software.
The Essence of Project Portfolio Management Software
Project portfolio management (PPM) software helps project management offices (PMOs) centralize and control the initiation, approval, and prioritization of all corporate projects, optimize resource planning and allocation, promptly generate comprehensive reports on project and program effectiveness and resource utilization. To bring the company-wide value, a PPM solution should be integrated with human capital management, asset management, payroll software, a BI tool, etc. Its implementation costs range from $200K to over $600K depending on the required functionality and integration scope.
With 33-year experience in software development, ScienceSoft can outline the core functionality of PPM software requested by companies we work with.
Project portfolio planning
- Grouping similar projects within a portfolio (per program, line-of-business (LOB), department or a common strategic goal).
- Generating strategic roadmaps for projects and programs.
- Assigning KPIs to each project.
- Project prioritization with custom ranking criteria.
- Projects scheduling based on resource availability.
- Modelling project/program scenarios to meet a specific business objective in the most resource-saving way.
- Modelling portfolio optimization scenarios.
Project and program monitoring
- Tracking the percentage of project/program completion, upcoming milestones, tasks lagging behind the schedule.
- Monitoring utilization of budget, human resources, assets, and consumables per project/program/portfolio group.
- Automated identification of problematic projects in the portfolio (e.g., projects lagging behind the schedule, exceeding budget, etc.) and projects threatening a program’s fulfillment.
- Setting alerts for relevant project stakeholders on arising project issues.
- Notifications on the project issues’ status change.
Portfolio resource management
- Detecting resource over-allocation.
- Generating scenarios for resource allocation in cases of intersecting project requirements.
- Predicting portfolio resource demand.
Financial resource management:
- Standardizing cost and benefit estimations for all project proposals.
- Automated calculation of project/program financial value (e.g., ROI, Internal Rate of Return, etc.).
- Forecasting the ROI of an initiated project.
- Setting financial baselines for a project/program and applying Earned Value Management (EVM) metrics to analyze their performance and compliance with approved budgets.
Risk and issue management
- Outlining, evaluating, and monitoring risks for projects and programs.
- Registering unplanned project risks.
- Rule-based escalation of project risks into project issues.
- Routing project issues to responsible stakeholders to solve.
- Notifying other project stakeholders about project issues.
Project initiation and approval management
For project managers:
- Generating a project request with the help of configurable proposal templates.
For portfolio managers:
- Setting specific project initiation and approval pipelines for each LOB/department/portfolio group.
- Automated identification of redundant and competing project proposals.
- Customizable reports on portfolio statistics, project/program progress and results, resource capacity and utilization, etc.
- Gantt charts for scheduling, visualizing, and breaking down project/program activities.
- Dashboards and “heatmaps” for effective communication of relevant portfolio data and requirements to project/program stakeholders, company’s executives.
Note: comprehensive project portfolio management solutions also comprise project management features (e.g., project planning and monitoring, time management, project collaboration, etc.) for the solution to be used not only by PMOs, but also by project managers and teams.
+ Payroll system
With this integration, accountants get data on employees’ project workload, their overtime activities, billable and non-billable time for accurate monthly payroll calculation. In their turn, portfolio managers will receive the payroll information (project team members’ salaries, bonuses, etc.) enabling accurate revenue and labor costs estimation, planning, and management through the project portfolio.
This integration helps asset managers and administrators view data on projects’ asset requirements and their utilization. Project portfolio managers can visualize the availability and costs of physical resources needed and request them.
+ Human capital management software
This integration makes the employees’ profiles and their current and planned availability (taking into account vacations, sick leaves, etc.) visible for PPM software users. This is essential for effective portfolio human resource capacity management and planning.
+ BI software
With this integration, BI software receives all project/program-related data (e.g., objectives, deadlines, KPIs, resource requirements and utilization) to generate portfolio reports, scenarios, and forecasts that are uploaded back to be available for PPM software users.
Based on ScienceSoft's experience in PPM software, our consultants defined the key best practices of PPM solution implementation.
Ensure business data security
PPM software security should be provisioned starting from requirements gathering (cybersecurity professionals evaluate the security risks and draw up a risk profile, etc.), ensured during the software development (developers adhere to secure coding practices, etc.), and maintained during the PPM solution’s evolution (cybersecurity engineers perform regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing).
Enable robust PPM analytics
Your project portfolio management software should have a built-in BI module (e.g., the reporting module in a projects’ management system) or be integrated with a BI tool to enable data-driven decisions on portfolio optimization, projects’ prioritization, portfolio resource balancing and capacity planning.
Key benefits PPM solutions bring:
- Reduced portfolio budget and deadlines’ overrun due to optimized portfolio planning, resource allocation, timely project/program issues’ identification and mitigation.
- Reduced staffing costs due to projects’ scheduling bound to employees’ availability, high-demand employees’ allocation based on a project’s priority.
- Increased project throughput due to optimized administrative workload of portfolio and project managers.
- Decreased organizational and project risks due to improved project stakeholders’ involvement into the resolution of project issues, aligning the goals of each project with acute business needs.
- Optimized investment in projects due to the transparent and data-driven projects’ approval process, the elimination of projects’ redundancy.
The costs of a project portfolio management system may differ significantly depending on the number and complexity of required software features, third-party integrations, number and type of PPM user licenses (for a platform-based solution), etc.
Typically, companies can expect the PPM software implementation costs to range from $200K to over $600K.
PPM solutions can bring high annual ROI: from 140 to 280%. Among key ROI-influencing factors are the company’s current portfolio management maturity, the number and type of implemented PPM features, the solution’s user adoption rate.
A typical payback period for a PPM solution is from 1 to 1.8 years.
Top Project Portfolio Management Platforms
ScienceSoft recommends the following PPM platforms, as they easily integrate with third-party software and offer advanced features like AI- and ML-powered project portfolio planning and forecasting.
Best for: extensive project portfolios requiring portfolio modelling and forecasting
Challenger in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Project and Portfolio Management. Provides both cloud-based and on-premises PPM solutions.
Note: through there’re three subscription plans (Project Plan 1, 3, 5), only Project Plan 5 provides full-scale portfolio management features.
- Interactive boards to track project tasks.
- Gantt charts for monitoring business objectives’ fulfillment through projects and programs, their compliance with planned schedules.
- Built-in integration with Microsoft Power BI for:
- Generation of reports on project/program progress, results, and revenue.
- Visualization, planning, and forecasting portfolio human, financial, physical resource demand and usage.
- Integration with Azure DevOps Server for streamlined management of software development projects in the PPM solution.
- Configurable project proposal templates and approval pipelines.
- Automated assessment of project proposals to check compliance with strategic business goals, resource requirements’ intersections with ongoing projects, project’s redundancy.
Project Plan 5: $55 user/month.
Best for: vast portfolio of projects requiring quick procession of large portfolio data volume
Leader of Gartner Magic Quadrant for Project and Portfolio Management.
- Centralized portfolio management for service- and product-based projects.
- Configurable project proposal templates, automated assessment of a proposal’s ROI, automated notification of all project proposal’s stakeholders on its approval, pending, or denial.
- Interactive human resource pool dashboards.
- Requesting approvals for projects’ and programs’ budgeting.
- Projects’ and programs’ goals, tasks, KPIs, milestones setting and tracking.
- Projects’ and programs’ prioritization and dependencies setting.
- Reports and Gantt charts on portfolio resource capacity; projects’ and programs’ progress; their compliance with planned milestones, schedules, and budgets.
- Implementation of Native SMP (Symmetric Parallel Processing), AI and ML technologies for data-intensive forecasting and modelling.
Upon request to a vendor.
ServiceNow® Project Portfolio Management Platform
Best for: IT project management
Major Player in IDC MarketScape Report for Project Portfolio Management. Belongs to ServiceNow IT Business Management Suite.
- Transforming tasks into projects, gather projects into programs and portfolios.
- Configurable Demand Management for quick setting multiple project initiation and approval pipelines.
- Setting dependencies between projects and programs.
- Projects and programs prioritization.
- Setting automated pipelines for project budget approval.
- Setting what-if scenarios for portfolio optimization and resource allocation in case of competing project requirements.
- Reports on project progress and health, KPIs fulfillment.
- Incident, problem, change, and release management.
- Ready-made plugins for:
- Microsoft Azure DevOps and Altassian Jira to manage software development projects in the PPM solution.
- ServiceNow® Predictive Intelligence for AI- and ML-powered project portfolio planning and forecasting.
When to Consider Custom PPM Software
ScienceSoft recommends building custom PPM software when your business needs are as follows:
High performance requirements
Opting for custom PPM software, you can envisage performance requirements upon architecture design and tech stack selection. While platform-based software may require heavy customizations, which may negatively impact its performance.
Many PPM software users
Platform-based PPM software with project management features will require purchasing licenses for project sponsors, portfolio and project managers, project team members, PPM software administrators, etc. With time, monthly payments are likely to outweigh the upfront investment into custom PPM software.
PPM integration into a diverse software landscape
Some vendors offer PPM solutions as a part of larger software suites (e.g., Microsoft Project, ServiceNow Project Portfolio Management). Still, if your business software is provided by a different vendor or is custom-developed, its integration with platform-based PPM software may turn out to be costly, while the architecture of a custom PPM solution can originally contemplate the specific integration requirements.
Project portfolio management software consulting
ScienceSoft’s consultants will:
- Analyze your industry and business specifics, assess your PPM needs and current maturity, advise on PPM improvements.
- Draw up the requirements specification for your PPM software.
- Perform a feasibility study to help choose between platform-based and custom PPM software options.
- Design a scalable architecture for a custom PPM solution.
- Suggest an integration map to ensure smooth workflows between PPM and required business solutions (ERP, HCM, financial and asset management software, etc.).
- Estimate PPM software implementation costs and time.
- Calculate the expected ROI and payback period for your solution.
Project portfolio management software development
ScienceSoft’s professionals will:
- Develop a requirements specification for your project portfolio management software.
- Draw up a scalable architecture (for custom PPM software).
- Design a user-friendly GUI (for custom PPM software).
- Develop the front and back end of custom PPM software or customize a platform-based solution.
- Integrate PPM software with relevant business software (e.g., ERP, HCM, financial management system, asset management software).
- Perform all-around testing.
- Provide support and maintenance activities, introduce PPM software enhancements (if required).
ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, TX. We provide project management consulting and PPM development services to help our customers efficiently control diverse company projects, increase revenue they bring, knowingly plan and manage portfolio resource capacity. Our ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certificates prove we rely on a mature quality management system and guarantee your data security.