Have you ever felt like Eliza Schuyler Hamilton?
In case you’ve missed out on the best musical on broadway (ever? I’d argue ever.), Eliza is completely in love with Alexander Hamilton. Spoiler: they marry, he cheats, and they reconcile. In the musical, she confesses her affection for Hamilton in “Helpless,” then laments her naivete in “Burn.”
When it comes to software—and particularly enterprise software—it’s not uncommon to feel naive and helpless as a buyer. In the case of IT project portfolio management software, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, online information can be sparse, technical, and esoteric.
Wouldn’t it be better if there was a shortlist of software, detailing its ease of use and customer service reputation?
That’s where I’m happy to step in, aided by the powerhouse of Gartner’s research (substantial paywall). I’ve narrowed down the top IT Project Portfolio Management Software, from over fifty options to the five that stand out for usability. Qualifiers include collaboration tools, integrations with common agile tools (like Jira and Rally), ability to organize project documents and change requests, quick patch deployments, availability of training materials, and ability to view projects on mobile.
PowerSteering is a cloud-based software aimed at enterprise companies struggling with portfolio governance.
PowerSteering stands out for individual contributors because they can see their incoming pipeline of work and can immediately flag items for approval. Many of PowerSteering’s insights can be translated to visuals, giving obvious insight to risk and issues when glancing at a project. Project managers can quickly tell whether their resources have the capacity to take on more work, have needed skill sets, or are in or out of office when needed.
- Attractive, easy to understand visuals
- Custom dashboards for each user
- Multiple approval levels available
- Out-of-the-box reporting
- Particularly good for Lean Six Sigma
- FileBound (another Upland product) is a recommended secondary cost for more complex projects
- Integrations are largely limited to enterprise-level solutions such as JDEdwards, HP Service Manager, and Microsoft Project; there aren’t many relevant options for businesses who are just starting to scale up
- Upland Software website is difficult to navigate for customer service purposes
Price: Contact Powersteering for details
Workfront is a cloud-based project portfolio management software selling to the IT PPM, marketing, and product development sectors.
Users of Workfront tend to herald its all-in-one project management capabilities; the tool has its own built-in document management system, digital asset management, and accounting software. Emphasizing collaboration, Workfront users easily communicate with one another in specific projects, tasks, and chat; and, for those using Outlook, Android, iOS, or iPad, Workfront’s apps are built to integrate easily with the tools your team is already using. Workfront is also careful to encrypt all data, and allows buyers to “buy up” to heavy security (like SSAE 16 Type 2/SOC 2 certification).
- Agile projects can be converted to traditional projects for reporting purposes
- Flexible demand management allows more control over service requests
- Kanban-style visuals available
- Outstanding custom report generation
- Tons of integrations, including with Outlook, Microsoft SharePoint, Google Docs, Jira, and Box
- No ability to compare multiple portfolio scenarios
- No timer included
- Workfront does a poor job of communicating new release notes
Price: Role-based pricing available; users have claimed that pricing starts at $30 per user per month, but that’s unconfirmed as of now.
For IT companies with a strong focus on software and product development, LiquidPlanner offers a predictive scheduling engine made to optimize an agile workplace.
I’ve covered LiquidPlanner a number of times and have to say it again: it’s a super cool product.
The tool doles out continuous resource analysis, which, in real time, rebaselines project workspaces based on its proprietary predictive tool. Resources can never be overbooked, which often convinces adoption. Video training material is readily available for adoption, and the tool has an open API for third-party applications (such as Salesforce, Zapier, and Dropbox). Users can choose between Waterfall and kanban views and are encouraged to use their shared task inbox, which functions like a social network. On Capterra, LiquidPlanner reviewers rave about its ease of use and flexibility to accommodate medium to enterprise-level businesses.
- Great number of integrations and an open API
- One-of-a-kind, effective predictive scheduling engine
- Quick user adoption due to its scheduling features and private, user-based task management system
- Tools are visual and easy to understand
- World-class resource management
- Low financial planning and budget management capabilities
- Only available in English
- The API’s custom fields are limited to 10 to encourage users to engage LiquidPlanner’s native processes
Price: Scales up based on number of users and functionality; groups of five users are billed $9.99 per user per month, and teams larger than ten pay $39 per user per month for basic functionality. Enterprise businesses interested in IT Project Portfolio Management Software should expect to pay $69 per user per month before added integrations.
As the runner-up to the top IT project portfolio management software for usability, Clarizen appeals to flexible work environments where traditional project management methods are too rigid. It tends to do well with relatively small IT departments.
If you’re looking for a solution that’s collaboration-focused, Clarizen is tight in the running with One2Team. Projects can have tasks, files, and resources, all of which can have discussions, cases, chats, and interaction with external collaborators. Clarizen offers a wide selection of third-party integrations and an Apps Marketplace for capabilities that aren’t built into the project. Customizability is central to Clarizen’s offerings, especially to enterprise-level businesses, though that can mean business adoption can be slow.
- Detailed configurable reports available
- Flexible workflow between agile and traditional project management
- Thorough default UIs made for different role-based experiences
- Time tracking is a central feature to all aspects of the app
- “What-if” scenario planning offers insights into project budget
- Customizability often leads to slow business adoption
- Social tools within the product can often become a workplace distraction
- Users have noted that learning resource capacity planning is particularly difficult to learn in Clarizen
Price: The unlimited version of Clarizen starts at $80 per user per month, whereas the enterprise version, which offers all features but at a limited amount, starts at $60 per user per month. For example, the unlimited version allows users to have 4,000 custom fields, 100 Clarizen panels, and 400 business rules, whereas the enterprise plan allows only 150 custom fields, 15 Clarizen panels, and 200 business rules.
One2Team, the easiest to use IT project portfolio management software, is ideal for collaborative, agile teams with repeated project types (such as businesses in retail and telecom).
When looking over One2Team, one word kept coming to mind: straightforward. The entire product is visual and social, so the “team” aspect lives up to its name. Users can experiment with different scenarios and see the immediate impact on cost and resources, and the range of views (including bubble charts and kanban) makes decision-making quick and visual. The app offers native experiences for iOS, Android, and Windows phones, and it was clearly created with global companies in mind; the French company offers versions in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish at no extra cost, and can compute budget requirements in multiple currencies.
- Great out of the box reporting capabilities for common analytic needs
- Ideal for global companies looking for an app that can handle multiple languages, currencies, and timezones
- Integrations with Sharepoint and common ERP solutions available
- Multiple views and private tasks encourage adoption and user comprehension
- Regardless of view, users can visualize task dependencies and their immediate impact on a project
- Fine tuning reports can be time consuming; many users export their data to analyze elsewhere
- No automatic ability to optimize and prioritize tasks in workflows
- Users must pay an additional fee for encryption at rest
Price: Contact One2Team for details
Do you know of a more user-friendly IT Project Portfolio Management Software option?
Like Eliza, put yourself back in the narrative. Take control over your software choices. Don’t throw away your shot—all five of these options stand out among others.
I’d love to hear from you! What makes a software option easy to use to you? Do you think there’s a solution on here that doesn’t belong on the list? Let me know.
Looking for other user-friendly IT tools and tricks? Start here:
- 7 Standout IT Project Portfolio Management Software
- 7 of the Best Microsoft Project Alternatives
- The 6 Best Trello Alternatives for Productive Teams
- 7 of the Top Agile Project Management Software
- The 5 Biggest Project Management Trends Shaping 2017
Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.