Project portfolio management software differs from project management software in that the former has to oversee many projects while the latter only involves one project. That’s going to require specific project portfolio management tools that can manage all those projects at once.
To understand which is the best project portfolio management software for your organization, let’s first list the must-have project portfolio management tools and why they’re so important. Then we’ll rank the top 10 project portfolio management software products, detailing each.
What Features Make the Best Project Portfolio Management Software?
Project portfolio management (PPM) isn’t drastically different from project management. They share many of the same tools, only tools for a project portfolio management software have to work across many projects. They should have a centralized repository to capture documents related to the projects to ensure all projects are working together to meet the goals and objectives of the organization.
Naturally, the project portfolio management tools should be simple to use, with a functional interface. A collaborative platform is also essential. Communication is critical in managing one project and exponentially so when managing many. You’ll want to look for tools that can visualize the projects and help you organize them, such as roadmaps; these are similar to a Gantt chart but with every project in the portfolio shown from start to finish.
Then there’s monitoring. You’ll want robust reporting and analytics. Reporting should be able to give you a portfolio status report that can be shared with executives and other stakeholders to keep them updated on progress. But you’ll also want to have a project portfolio management tool with a portfolio dashboard for a high-level view of the project’s progress and performance. That’s just a few of the basics. Let’s see which applications have the right tools and features at the right price.
2023 Best Project Portfolio Management Software Rankings
Now, we’ll look over the 10 best project portfolio management software and see where they excel and where they’re lacking in project portfolio management tools. The list starts with the best and moves down to our least favorites of the group. All are decent project portfolio management software products, but only one can be the best.
- Best project portfolio management software for robust PPM tools
- Powerful portfolio status reports, dashboards and roadmaps
- Flexible and collaborative tool
ProjectManager is project portfolio management software that checks all the boxes, which is why it leads our best-of list. It allows users to group and organize all their projects, while managing resources across those projects and gathering insightful reports to make better decisions. This online software delivers live updates to help track progress and performance in real time so portfolio managers can respond quickly to keep their projects on track with a flexible and collaborative platform.
Group and Track Projects With Portfolio Tools
One of the things we first noticed was the portfolio features that allow users to keep track of all the projects they’re managing while capturing valuable information that informs portfolio managers on how to best allocate resources. You can organize your projects by putting them into folders and highlighting those that are of top concern so they’re always front and center. You can also filter the project information with filters to see only the data you’re interested in. For a high-level overview of your portfolio, the software has a live dashboard that captures six metrics, including time, cost, etc. Unlike others on this list, no time-consuming setup is needed. You just toggle over whenever you want to get an overview of your portfolio. There’s also customizable reporting, such as portfolio status reports, that can be filtered to highlight status, customer and more.
One of the most impressive project portfolio management (PPM) tools that ProjectManager has is its powerful and intuitive PPM roadmaps, which give users an overview of all the projects in their portfolio in one place. The roadmap has resource management features as well as time tracking and task management. It can be filtered by assignee, project manager or customers to help portfolio managers make better forecasts. It’s easy to see which projects are open and the team members who are assigned to tasks in those projects. Key metrics can be highlighted to keep stakeholders updated. In terms of human resources, there’s a color-coded workload chart that makes it easy to see how many tasks each team member has across the portfolio. You can then reallocate your resources from the chart to balance their workload and keep teams working at capacity and productive.
These project portfolio management tools make ProjectManager the best project portfolio management software on our list. Add its robust risk management features, workload automation, with task approval settings, and integrations and the software is a perfect fit for managing your portfolio, program or project. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.
- Team plan: $13 user/month
- Business plan: $24 user/month
- ProjectManager offers a free 30-day trial
- ProjectManager has a mobile project portfolio management app for Android and iOS
2. Microsoft Project
- Best project portfolio management software for Microsoft users
- Centralized resource management
- Enterprise-wide collaboration
Microsoft Project is project portfolio management software under the name of Microsoft PPM, which has a central server that works with Microsoft Project Professional Client and its Project Web app. It supports collaboration, centralized data storage and resource management. It’s also beneficial for those using the other suite of MS apps as it integrates seamlessly with them. Other features include scheduling, cost management, workflow and reports.
Like many of the project management solutions offered by Microsoft, this one is also complex and time-consuming to learn. It’ll take time and effort to get the project portfolio management tool to work effectively. Then there’s the expense, which can stifle smaller teams, but also add up with larger ones to make it inadvisable. Oddly, the project portfolio management software isn’t always compatible with other versions of the product or other tools that team members might be using. It’s simply not a good fit for smaller projects and might become too high a hurdle for larger ones to clear.
- Project Plan 1: $10 user/month
- Project Plan 3: $30 user/month
- Project Plan 5: $5 user/month
- Microsoft Project has a 30-day free trial
- Microsoft Project doesn’t have a mobile project portfolio management app
- Best project portfolio management software for value stream management
- Automates product development
- One source of truth
Planview is project portfolio management software that can automate the gated product development process, reduce costs and mitigate risks. It doesn’t require manual data gathering but has a single source of truth and reporting features for executive visibility and more insightful decision-making. It helps users align their portfolio with their organization’s strategy, brand and more. It’s a very product-oriented project portfolio management tool that captures the voice of the customer to drive new product innovation.
While there are a lot of features, the tools can be overwhelming for users, who have complained of complexity and a cluttered workspace. That isn’t a deal-breaker, but it does mean that potential customers will have to consider the large amount of time and effort required to get familiar with the tool enough for it to make sense for their portfolio. While it doesn’t make users gather data manually, there’s a lot of data entry to get started. That combined with the pricing can lead to a big upfront investment that might sour users from even getting started with Planview, especially since there are many other alternatives that don’t have these issues.
- Contact Planview for pricing structure
- Planview has a 30-day free trial
- Planview has a mobile project portfolio management app for Android and iOS
4. Zoho Projects
- Best low-cost project portfolio management software
- Project list view
- Dashboard and reporting features
Zoho Projects is a relatively inexpensive project portfolio management software that has various ways of tracking the progress of the projects in a portfolio. It does this based on individual clients. For example, there’s a project list view that shows all the projects, which can then be viewed by client, title, percent complete, status, budget, time logs and more. More project portfolio management tools include its dashboard and client report that outlines time logs and budgets for each project.
Maybe it’s because of its low price point, but users have complained about the poor support materials to help them get started with the project portfolio management software. Customer support is also lacking. You’re just not going to get much hand-holding at this price. That’s a problem because Zoho Projects isn’t the simplest project portfolio management software on the market. It’s a bit confusing because it’s unnecessarily complex, which makes the weak customer service all the more of a shame.
- Premium: $5 user/month, up to 50 users
- Enterprise: $10 user/month, unlimited users
- Zoho Projects has a 10-day free trial
- Zoho Projects has a mobile project portfolio management app for Android and iOS
- Best project portfolio management software for project templates
- Data analysis and automated reporting
- Lots of integrations
Smartsheet is project portfolio management software that has data analysis and automated reporting to help users prioritize, identify trade-offs and make more informed decisions. It offers real-time visibility and data triage to add value and implement projects quickly. There are also integrations with popular third-party apps such as Google, Microsoft and Slack. It has collaborative features and standardizes processes for consistency in planning and execution. One of the best benefits is its large library of templates, from strategic planning to resource management.
Like many of the project portfolio management tools ranked here, Smartsheet is complicated, especially for beginners. It’ll take them a while to get their sea legs. But what do you expect from a project portfolio management tool that designs itself after the notoriously frustrating spreadsheet? Another stumbling block on the way to purchasing Smartsheet is its pricing structure. For example, its Pro plan might seem affordable until you realize there’s a minimum and maximum user count. You’ll likely have to upgrade to the business plan, which is almost four times as expensive.
- Pro: $9 user/month, a minimum of three and up to 10 users
- Business: $32 user/month, minimum three users
- Smartsheet has a 30-day free trial
- Smartsheet has a mobile project portfolio management app for Android and iOS
- Best project portfolio management software for integrations
- Real-time PPM tool
- Task management features
Wrike is project portfolio management software that helps you optimize your projects with real-time PPM features, which help with forecasting and collaboration to break down silos and reduce portfolio risk by providing a clear view of deadlines, available resources and more. Wrike has many templates to get you started and integrations to connect you with other apps that you might be using with your project portfolio management tools. There are also task management features that automate processes, dashboards and reporting features to make sure you’re on track.
A minor disadvantage of this project portfolio management tool is that it has no note-taking function. More of a problem is the expense, the more features you want (and need for portfolio management), the higher the price. While there are many integrations associated with Wrike, the notifications are often delayed, which defeats a lot of the reasons for having third-party apps integrated into the project portfolio management software. The default filter needs to be changed manually to view all tasks, which is frustrating, as is the lack of chat. The workload and availability of resources also need work. It’s not comprehensive enough or consolidated.
- Professional plan: $9.80 user/month, 2-25 users
- Business plan: $24.80 user/month, 5-200 users
- Wrike has a 14-day free trial
- Wrike has a mobile project portfolio management app for Android and iOS
- Best project portfolio management software for workflow management
- Uses templates for PPM
- Scoring and ranking features
Monday.com is project portfolio management software that requires you to build a platform with the right templates. But once you get that started, you can use the workload view and its resource management template to identify resources that are allocated to your projects and make sure you have enough to get the work done in a timely manner. There are scoring and ranking to know the projects that deliver the highest benefits and least amount of risk. Dashboards can also measure project alignment and performance.
As with other products on this best project portfolio management software list, Monday.com has confusing pricing. There are user minimums that make the pricing appear more reasonable than it actually is. You can’t even check it out, really, as the free trial is only 14 days. Then there’s the best features that are hidden behind a higher tier pricing plan, such as time tracking. You have to have a Pro subscription for that, which adds more money to the price tag. Monday.com is attractive, but project portfolio managers care little about looks and more about what the software can do.
- Basic: $30/month, minimum of three users
- Standard: $36/month, minimum of three users
- Pro: $60/month, minimum of three users
- Monday.com has a 14-day free trial
- Monday.com has a mobile project portfolio management app for Android and iOS
- Best project portfolio management software for resource management
- Time-tracking features
- Has timecards
Kantata is project portfolio management software that helps you manage all your projects and resources. Project portfolio information is collected in one place so users can check the status of tasks and deliverables, prioritize and align resources and keep an eye on their schedule and budget. There are time management features such as timecards, tracking of billable and non-billable hours and tracking of time, expenses and costs.
One problem users will face is that there are few options for customization. While there is a mobile app, it’s not the most intuitive to use. It’s always a concern when prices aren’t outlined on the product’s website. The custom pricing offered by Kantata is expensive, especially if you’re a smaller business. Plus, there are annual maintenance fees that will push many users away. Another strike against it is how complex it is to use. That means putting in a lot of time just to learn how to use the project portfolio management software, including training, which prevents users from getting started quickly.
- Enter your company info to see custom pricing
- Kantata doesn’t offer a free trial
- Kantata doesn’t offer a mobile project portfolio management app
- Best project portfolio management software for scenario planning
- Workflow management
- Portfolio overview
Workfront is project portfolio management software that has scenario planning, a portfolio overview, reporting and resource management features. It’s easy to identify all the projects in a portfolio and see the impact each project has on resources, costs and revenue. Workfront has project portfolio management tools that help users to make more informed strategic decisions when prioritizing, selecting or removing projects from their portfolio. It also has workflow management capabilities that can take on a portfolio of projects.
It’d be nice if Workfront was easier to use. Its interface isn’t user-friendly and it doesn’t have a reliable offline mode. That complexity makes organizing all your projects more difficult than it should be. Users recommended it only for very experienced portfolio managers. This is going to put a wall between Workfront and users in small-to-medium-sized organizations who want to manage simpler portfolios, but it’s better suited for enterprise-level work. Also, those who want to do their work on the go will find that the mobile version of the product isn’t all it could be. Users say there are issues with it. You might want to look elsewhere.
- Enterprise, business and pro license types available, pricing upon request
- Workfront doesn’t offer a free trial
- Workfront offers a project portfolio management app for both Android and iOS
10. Clarity PPM
- Best project portfolio management software for strategic roadmaps
- Financial and budgeting management
- For medium-to-large enterprises
Clarity PPM is project portfolio management software with financial management, budgeting, time-tracking and reporting features. It’s used by medium-to-large enterprises, especially those looking for financial analysis tools. It has forecasting for resources, project, program and portfolio management, with multiple real-time reports for greater insights.
Some users complained about its timesheets having confusing UI and that the financial reporting on which it prides itself could use improvement. While the pricing isn’t shared on the site, users have complained of the cost, which can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. But this is a project that’s made for larger companies with deep pockets. Of all the products on our list of project portfolio management software products, this stands alone as the most expensive and focused on bigger enterprise customers.
- Contact company
- Clarity PPM doesn’t offer a free trial
- Clarity PPM has a project portfolio management app for Android and iOS
Which Project Portfolio Management Software Is Right For You?
The decision is yours. We’ve chosen 10 of the best project portfolio management tools and rated them, both in terms of how they succeed and where they fall short. Of all the products we tested, ProjectManager is the clear winner. It hits all the sweet spots in terms of features, price and user experience. Use it to manage your portfolio, whether big, small or in between.
ProjectManager is award-winning project portfolio management software that gives portfolio managers the tools they need to plan, manage and track their portfolios in real time. With roadmaps, Gantt charts, kanban boards, list and calendar views, it has multiple project views to give everyone on the team the tools they want. Plus, managers get portfolio dashboards, workload charts and reports to gather valuable data to better allocate resources. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.