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What Is Project Portfolio Management Software?

Manage multiple projects with shared resources within your company

PPM, short for Project Portfolio Management, is a term used by project managers and project management organizations (or PMOs), to describe methods that enables corporate and business users to organize a set of projects into a single portfolio. Project portfolio management software refers to a software product that allows users, usually management or executives within a company, to easily organize and prioritize the projects. It will allow them to review the portfolio and will assist them in making key financial and business decisions for the projects.

A closer look
But project portfolio management is about more than managing multiple projects. Each portfolio of projects must be treated as a whole and needs to be evaluated by its business value and adherence to strategy. As each project must reach its goal and produce its final deliverable in the same way a portfolio should be designed to achieve a specific business objective or benefit. Bob Buttrick summarized it like this: “Directing the individual project correctly will ensure it is done right. Directing ‘all the projects’ successfully will ensure we are doing the right projects.”

A growing number of vendors offer project portfolio management software, which has dramatically simplified the process of building a portfolio. But the first step is for companies to prioritize their business strategies. Portfolios can then be assembled and assessed based on how they meet those strategic needs. Once companies determine the business priorities they want their projects to meet, they need to break down the portfolios. Teams are assigned to different business units, and each of those teams handles a separate portfolio.

Previously, projects were approved and then managed independently. They were evaluated as a whole at the executive level only when it came time to put together annual reports. Nowadays with the latest project management software solutions project managers can better handle the portfolio using executive dashboards and other such tools. Working at portfolio level is about working with summary or key data and as less details as possible. It is important to avoid information overload. The detail of each project should be kept at the project team level, managed by the individual project managers.

The recent trend toward improved resource tracking and leveling functionality in PM software is a great boon to the portfolio manager. Actually, without the possibility of knowing what each human resource in the pool of project personnel is capable of and when they will be available to work, you cannot say that you are managing a portfolio. You need such a work management software in order to keep your project’s work balanced and avoid supplementary costs introduced by overtime working rates.

Benefits of Portfolio Project Management Software
According to Wikipedia “the fundamental objective of PPM is to determine the optimal mix and sequencing of proposed projects to best achieve the organization’s overall goals – typically expressed in terms of hard economic measures, business strategy goals, or technical strategy goals – while honoring constraints imposed by management or external real-world factors”.

PPM is about making sure business owners have a group of projects focused on reaching its goals. It is about them being able to quickly react to changes in the environment. In markets that move every day, a company needs that overall view so it can keep an eye on projects in real time to make sure that all of them are working together to meet core business goals. That’s where portfolio management comes in. It takes a lot of details and organizes them in an easily understandable and usable form. It helps executives see where money is spent, why projects are or aren’t necessary and what resources are needed.

The main benefits brought to businesses are:

  • Possibility to faster respond to changing conditions
  • Portfolios can be constantly reviewed and changed to produce the highest gains
  • Dependencies between projects are easier to identify
  • Resource leveling is easier to be accomplished and gives real solutions
  • Information is presented with different details for each management level

Effective project portfolio management software can help executives or management within an organization by making their work easier. It will also optimize the results of the project portfolio to get the organization’s desired benefits.

More Stories By Lucian Loan

Lucian Loan studied at a technical facility and has an MS in Computer Science. He is now working in the software industry for Stand By Soft, a software company that specializes in building desktop applications and components.

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