The Best PPM Tools
Here’s a list of the best PPM tools:
Below you’ll find an overview of each of the 10 best ppm tools, with screenshots, feature overviews, and pricing.
You’ve got visions of growth for your team and your business, but in order to turn those visions into reality, you’ve got to have the right PPM tools to effectively manage projects and resources as you scale.
Growing your team—and your enterprise in general—through bigger and bigger projects is paramount in order to be a competitive company in today’s market. With project portfolio management tools, you can collect and consolidate data about your projects in order to manage risks, resources, timelines, budgets, and much more.
There’s no shortage of great PPM tools out there, which is why we’re providing a detailed evaluation of the best ones in this PPM tool review. Learn what PPM tools do, how the best PPM tools compare, and how to know that you’re picking the ideal software for your project portfolio and business goals.
At the bottom of the post, we include a table summarizing basic info about the tools described in this article as well as an explanation of our selection criteria, so you can understand how we made this list of workflow management software.
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Overview Of The Best Project Portfolio Management Software (PPM Tools)
Best PPM tool for workflow customization capabilities
monday.com is a great project portfolio management software because of the way the tool has done away with a lot of the trimmings of typical management tools and focused on simple, visually intuitive layouts that help clarify the sequence of work.
monday.com allows you to allocate & prioritize tasks, use various views in order to see where everything stands, and track multiple projects using dashboards that provide high-level insights in a visual and intuitive way. The platform is completely customizable so you will be able to adjust it to your workflow. The platform also provides powerful and customizable notifications and automation so you and your team can focus on what’s important.
With monday.com you can plan, manage, and track your budgets in an intuitive interface. You can track expenses, income, their dates, and attach needed files to each item. And thanks to the various columns, you can filter items by many different variables such as status, people, text, time, location and others. Formula columns are also available.
While monday.com doesn’t offer traditional automated reporting, it is built to show the big picture at a glance to help you analyze various aspects of your projects and processes. To learn about the different capabilities that help analyze performance, scope out their detailed explanation here.
monday.com’s integrations include project management apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform, and many more, accessible via Zapier.
monday.com costs from $6/user/month and comes with a free 14-day trial. They offer a free plan for up to 2 users.
Best for reporting features
Smartsheet isn’t a dedicated PPM tool but it does have a lot of really good reporting features that make it great for looking at project metrics on both an individual and high level.
So, while there really aren’t many finance or risk management features, Smartsheet offers some above-average reporting and visualization tools that are useful for portfolio management. For example real-time metrics and customizable dashboards that can be made to display specific project data for each project by modifying a drag-and-drop dashboard interface.
Indeed, reporting is the strongest feature of this tool in the context of managing a portfolio of projects, offering the ability to publish stakeholder-facing reporting dashboards and editable summary reports that you can easily export to Excel.
There are lots of project management and resource management tools, which I consider to be fairly standard among this type of software—it’s a well-rounded set of tools for scheduling, assigning resources, tracking work, and assigning and tracking budget. There isn’t a dedicate PPM module in this tool, but you’ll doubtlessly collect all of the project data you need to analyze a portfolio (budget and spend, resource allocation, capacity, etc) and do the rest with a prebuilt integration to a business intelligence tool like Tableau (below).
Smartsheet integrations include Microsoft and Google apps, as well as development essentials like Jira, and useful business apps like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, Box, and Tableau. The platform is extensible through a REST API and webhooks.
Smartsheet costs from $7/user/month, with a minimum of 3 users and a maximum of 25 users. They also offer a 30-day free trial.
Best PPM tool for resource management capabilities
Celoxis is an all-in-one project portfolio management software and work collaboration platform that is successfully adopted by brands like HBO, Rolex, Virgin Care, Adobe, Staples, LG, and Deloitte. Being a full-featured project portfolio management system, Celoxis is still very intuitive and easy to use for teams of all sizes.
With Celoxis, you get comprehensive resource management capabilities. It lets you easily allocate resources based on skills, roles, and availability as well as view cross-portfolio resource workload to optimally utilize your workforce. You will find tools for capacity planning, demand management, and project requests. When it comes to tracking project financials, you can automatically get cost/revenue estimates from your plans. You can also track budgets, costs, and profits in real-time as well as plug billing leaks by timely invoicing your clients. Celoxis’ reporting features let you slice, dice, and visualize data your way. You can get aggregated information about your projects with fully customizable portfolio dashboards. Celoxis comes pre-built with common workflows to help bug/issue tracking and risk management. These workflows are very adaptable to suit your organizational processes without having to resort to emails and spreadsheets.
Celoxis integrates seamlessly with hundreds of popular business applications through first-class integration connectors and web-based API. This includes critical platforms like Jira, Salesforce, QuickBooks Online, Excel, Slack, Google Apps, and more.
Celoxis is one of the few tools that offer SaaS and On-Premise deployment options. Celoxis costs $25/user/month with additional commitment discounts.
Best for growing IT and software teams
Runn is a real-time resource planning and PPM software with integrated time tracking and powerful forecasting capabilities. Get a bird’s-eye view of all projects and people to stay on top of your business. Collaborate with co-workers to remain up-to-date and on the same page with remote teams.
Scheduling is easy and intuitive in Runn–simply drag-and-drop to create project phases and allocations. Create project milestones, project notes and add project budgets. Flick between monthly, quarterly and half-yearly views to plan for the short and long term.
Runn makes the data dynamic and visual. Watch the charts and reports update as you plan your projects. You can see visualisations of insights like capacity, workload, availability, and billable and non-billable utilisation. Plan out tentative projects to see how your resourcing plans and portfolio’s bottom line might change if the work gets confirmed.
Track projects, view forecasts, and get relevant metrics within Runn. You’ll have up-to-date data in one place to keep tabs on KPIs like utilization, project variance, and overall financial performance. Use Runn’s built-in timesheets to understand how much time was worked on your projects compared to what was planned, and know how this affects your project budgets.
Runn integrates with Harvest, WorkflowMax, and Clockify for importing project, client, and people data and syncing time entries. With Runn’s API, you can build your own integration to send data across your favorite tools.
Try Runn free for 14 days, no credit card required. Runn has three pricing plans: Free for Startup (5 or fewer people), $10 per person for Pro, and custom pricing for Enterprise. There is also a 20% discount on annual plans.
Best lightweight PPM tool
Acuity PPM is a lightweight portfolio management solution that is a great alternative to spreadsheets. The tool includes a beautiful interface to help you manage your project portfolio, as well as fundamental capabilities for getting visibility into your entire project portfolio, managing work intake, prioritizing projects, tracking project performance and status reports, and managing resource capacity.
PMOs can track project portfolios and get insights on project status, store status reports in one place, and view status history across your portfolio. Another great feature is the ability to view portfolio roadmaps and see timing and sequencing for projects in the portfolio. PMO team members can also score projects using Acuity’s scoring model and then easily prioritize projects.
Acuity PPM pricing starts at $399 per month.
Best PPM tool for project and portfolio prioritization
Bubble sets itself apart in the project and portfolio management space by designing its software around end-user needs. The tool offers features for defining organizational strategies and targets, as well as configurable dashboards that provide a top-to-bottom understanding of the entire portfolio and what it’s delivering.
Bubble is easy to learn and intuitive to use. You can get comfortable with using it within an hour, and advanced functionality can be mastered in less than a day. The tool’s creators outline a 4-step rapid deployment process and provide quick-start guides, video explainers, and help desk support to ensure widespread adoption of the platform.
The software places a large emphasis on time-saving tools while allowing users to keep an eye on the project detail. Graphical status indicators ensure teams can identify what’s required to move projects forward, what the blockers are, and what they don’t need to worry about anymore. Real-time reports and updates can be shared easily (often with a single click). Bubble PPM also has fully integrated resource management, risk, and finance modules that automatically track dependencies across the platform according to the role, department, workstream, or other variables.
Bubble doesn’t currently have timesheet tracking, but its rough-cut approach to capacity planning ensures customers instantly see the impact of resource bottlenecks ahead of time so they can adapt their plans as priorities evolve.
Finally, a standout feature of Bubble is the prioritization module. This simple but powerful tool helps team leaders ensure all parts of their organization are working to the same priorities. Project lists default to the priority order, meaning users instinctively know what to prioritize. In resource management, the priority order identifies where individuals, departments, or the organization itself, will run out of capacity.
Bubble PPM costs from $45 user/month. The platform also supports integrations using API calls via REST API endpoints with access controlled by a client-owned API key.
Run multiple projects effectively with Zoho
Zoho Projects is an award-winning project management and collaboration tool from Zoho. It offers flexibility and customizations to suit the needs of traditional project managers as well as agile teams.
The resource utilization charts enable users to easily view the workload of team members. Managers can create and balance the workload with just a click of a button. Fix hourly rates, create invoices and have an eye on your project budget. Forecast project budget, keep track of your timelines with baselines and critical path analysis.
The interface and modules are highly customizable. All aspects of the UI from theme colors to arrangement and visibility of the various modules can be changed to suit a user’s preferences. Zoho projects also offer free onboarding for its customers and a comprehensive online help guide for all users.
Zoho Projects is one of the few PPM tools that allow the creation of dependencies between projects. The portfolio widget on the dashboard helps users to get an overview of all projects at a glance. Zoho Projects stands out in cases where there are multiple hand-offs involved. It is especially popular among IT companies, consultants and education organizations. With Blueprints, users can create and automate workflows, notifications, and escalations.
Being part of Zoho’s ecosystem allows Projects to connect to several of Zoho’s own services such as Zoho Books, Zoho CRM, and Zoho’s finance suite. The new Zoho marketplace allows 3rd party integrations as well.
Starts from $4/user/month billed annually. Also has a freemium version upto 3 users for 2 projects. No credit card information required.
Best for analytics and decision-making
Changepoint is a PPM tool with reporting and analytics tools that enable faster and more accurate decision-making with intuitive dashboards, AI-powered insights, and advanced analytics capabilities with cloud-based data warehousing designed for speed and scalability.
Changepoint’s adaptable dashboards provide a comprehensive picture of your full project portfolio, resource allocation, risks, and opportunities.
The tool also offers Gantt chart, task management, and workflow features, as well as advanced planning capabilities for assessing projects, prioritizing initiatives, and building & communicating project and portfolio roadmaps that highlight potential resource and budget constraints.
Changepoint is a flexible tool that can be deployed via the web, cloud, and/or SaaS, and it integrates with a large number of additional tools: Jira, ServiceNow, BMC, MS Project, SAP, Google, Dropbox, and many others.
Changepoint costs from $24/user/month.
Best simple and easy-to-use interface
Last, but certainly not least, we have Liquid Planner. For portfolio managers who are looking for a rich, clean visual experience, Liquid Planner delivers with its customizable dashboards and multiple views showing simple, clear visualizations of your project data. Liquid Planner’s whole system is quite visual and minimalistic, making it easy to learn and understand. Its cross-project visibility module makes it ideal for project portfolio management, with additional modules for smart scheduling, resource management, collaboration, time-tracking. On top of this, Liquid Planner provides a robust set of advanced analytics features to analyze project performance, costs, provides, client portfolios, baseline trends, and more.
Liquid Planner integrates with JIRA, Trello, Slack, Google Sheets, Zendesk—just to name a few.
Liquid Planner costs from $45/user/month.
Best PPM tool for enterprise
Oracle has been in the game of software development for a long time, and they deliver enormous value and variety in their suite of project and portfolio management tools. The Primavera Portfolio Management solution has nearly unlimited configurability and is built to scale to an enterprise level. Of the PPM tools, Oracle Primavera is capable of higher complexity analysis—while some organizations require the deep levels of configuratibility and granularity, for others, the advanced nature of this tool could make it cumbersome. It’s a robust tool, and it comes with a learning curve.
Primavera’s resource management features include progress tracking, workflow configuration, tools for performing “What if” scenarios, tools for comparing past projects and projecting future ones. The financial administration features allow you to review projects and portfolios to identify where to assign and withdraw investment, with insights on business case, funding, and staffing that let you select the best investments. The reporting and analytics are highly configurable, and the platform offers a multitude of ways to analyze the projects in your portfolio—comparing sets of project metrics, high-level Gantt charts, investment dependencies, and much more.
Primavera’s integrations are more focused on enterprise organizations than on lean agencies who want to hook up all their time-tracking apps and Kanban tools. Instead, Primavera integrates with enterprise names like Oracle’s Autovue, SAP, an Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Projects, and several more.
Oracle Primavera costs $2,750.
Need expert help selecting the right Project Portfolio Management Software?
We’ve joined up with the software comparison platform Crozdesk.com to assist you in finding the right software. Crozdesk’s Project Portfolio Management Software advisors can create a personalized shortlist of software solutions with unbiased recommendations to help you identify the solutions that best suit your business’s needs. Through our partnership you get free access to their bespoke software selection advice, removing both time and hassle from the research process.
It only takes a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a quick call at no cost or commitment. Based on your needs you’ll receive customized software shortlists listing the best-fitting solutions from their team of software advisors (via phone or email). They can even connect you with your selected vendor choices along with community negotiated discounts. To get started, please complete the form below:
The Best PPM Tools Summary Chart
Here’s a summary chart with essential info: easily compare free trials and demos and pricing, along with a score showing how we rate the tool.
14 days free trial
|From $6/user/month||Check out monday.com|
30 days free trial
|From $7/user/month||Check out Smartsheet|
30 days free trial
|From $25/user/month||Check out Celoxis|
14 days free trial
|From $10/user/month||Check out Runn|
15 days free trial
|From $399/month||Check out Acuity PPM|
Free demo is available
|From $45 user/month. Discounts available for user groups of 100+ Requires one-time deployment fee||Check out Bubble|
10 days free trial
|From $4/user/month billed annually. Also has a freemium version upto 3 users for 2 projects||Check out Zoho Projects|
|From $24/user/month||Check out Changepoint|
|From $45/user/month||Check out Liquid Planner|
|From $2,750||Check out Oracle Primavera|
PPM Tools Buyer’s Guide
What Is PPM?
In project management, PPM is project portfolio management. In PPM, a project portfolio manager takes a high-level look at the pool of projects and programs (some of which may be directly related, and some not) in a business’s portfolio.
A single project is the elementary cell of an organization. Zoom out, and we have project management, which is concerned with the execution needed for completing projects. Zoom out more, and we see the various projects that an organization takes on. PPM is concerned with making sure these distinct projects are undertaken in a way that complements one another in terms of resources, timelines, and overall business goals.
What Does A Project Portfolio Manager Do?
A project portfolio manager oversees, controls, and leads the tasks associated with managing a project portfolio. This person needs the skills of a chess master to adequately lead the team and finish projects, ideally on time and under budget. The responsibility range of this position is immense and often deals with researchers, analysts, and clients as they manage the high-level coordination of projects, following current market trends, and anticipating future ones.
What Do PPM Tools Do And How Can They Help You?
Keep your project on the right track: You’re as good as the data you have. Use PPM software to avoid the trap of making poor decisions based on outdated or irrelevant information.
Provide executive-level business insight: Detailed project stats are simply impossible to store in your head. When managing multiple projects, you need software that is able to provide more advanced data—and executives will love you because of it! Proving to stakeholders the value and rationale behind decisions in a concise manner will help you build strong business cases for your projects.
Allocate resources: Driving better business decisions is at the top of every successful business’s priority list. PPM software shows you who’s working on what and for how long, allowing you to allocate and redistribute resources accordingly.
Fix performance issues: When managing a project portfolio, you might start to identify places where the same problems arise on a recurring basis. An effective PPM tool helps you track the project’s health indicators (such as Return on Investment) and identify any unhealthy patterns.
Assess risks: PPM software provides data and transparency into your projects for not only identifying risks but for quantifying them and exploring solutions by way of your portfolio data.
Project Portfolio Management Software Selection Criteria
In our selection of PPM tools, we narrowed down our criteria to a few key points. Let’s go through some of the most important criteria for choosing the best PPM tool fit for your team.
- Resource management – Like resource scheduling software, PPM software with resource planning will help you make better decisions around project planning at the portfolio level. This includes features for resource allocation, capacity planning and resource utilization, managing timelines, and projections.
- Financial administration – PPM tools should help improve your accuracy in managing financial projections, with functionality for estimating project costs and managing budgets. The best software has the option to manage and streamline payrolls, and payment invoicing in general.
- Risk management – Risk management tools and change management features enable us to plan accordingly for risks and change requests, make risk response plans, and easily estimate the impact of What If scenarios.
- Reporting & analytics – With robust, streamlined reports that allow you to see what works and what doesn’t, you set yourself up for future success. Modern portfolio management software must provide multiple options for generating reports. Spreadsheets are a baseline, but there are plenty of modern PPM tools with great data visualization tools for communicating data to stakeholders.
- Integrations – Because there is no perfect PPM software out there, we need tools that sync or integrate with other project management tools, task management tools, or time tracking tools. Integrations with other business tools such as Microsoft Office, Excel, Jira, and Slack are also considered.
How To Choose The Best Portfolio Management Software For Your Projects?
Now, you have the insight into the most popular PPM tools out there. At this point, we’ll walk you through the final steps on how to choose the best PPM solution for your organization. Ask yourself these questions when choosing PPM software:
What Is Your PPM Maturity Level?
According to the Gartner model, you can determine your enterprise’s maturity by placing it into one of the 5 models (in ascending order of maturity):
- Reactive – this accounts for all organizations with an ad-hoc approach to projects. There is a minimal requirement for high-end PPM tools, although they’ll prove necessary for growth.
- Emerging Discipline – next level of management and approach to projects. It involves the use of basic PPM tools but on a more frequent and advanced level.
- Initial Integration – follows a more holistic approach to PPM. This is the point where a larger organization pattern is needed. Risky decisions could surface, and data tracking must be on point.
- Effective Integration – This is the point where automation becomes necessary, and a manager needs as much help as possible in order to execute everything on time, and under budget.
- Effective innovation – This is the end-game everyone strives for. PPMs are fully utilized on multiple levels, and an Enterprise Project Management Office is installed to facilitate the execution.
What Are The Main Requirements?
Take the time to carefully plan out the requirements that your team has for a PPM tool. Analyze the past work and the potential future projects, and try to make an assessment as objectively as possible. Use this article as a cheat sheet and consult as many sources as you can before deciding on your ideal PPM tool.
How Would The PPM Tool Fit Into Your Workflow?
Think about every tool you and your team use besides a PPM tool. Check for integration compatibility and were in the project lifecycle you are going to integrate the newly acquired tool first.
Ensure the tool is compatible with the project management processes and methodologies your organization uses, whether it’s agile, waterfall, or a hybrid methodology.
How Long To Set It Up?
Just keep in mind that your current projects might need to come to a short halt in order to fully integrate a new PPM tool.
Ease Of Onboarding
Your team will need some time to learn and adapt to the new set of PPM tools that are going to be presented to them. Account for every factor like: time to learn, availability of learning material, training, and support from the software provider, etc.
Think about the support for different native platforms, like Android and iOS, and fit it into your team accordingly. You should also consider whether the software solution is on-premise, cloud-based, or a SaaS.
Last, but certainly not least, these PPM tools come at a price. After you calculate the budget you have, do not forget that every PPM tool pays off multifold with the service it provides.
Other PPM tools
We’ve prepared a list of additional PPM tools that you might consider:
What Do You Think?
Do you agree with our list? How would you approach this topic? There are a ton of factors in the project portfolio management equation, and new input is always welcome.