What is a ppm tool and how to choose it?

July 2, 2023

Project Portfolio Management ( GPP) or Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the set of techniques, tools and guidelines that allow a company's resources to be organized to carry out several projects simultaneously.


PPM software makes it easy to centrally organize all resources available for each project, in an intuitive and visual way.


With the right management and tools, better decisions are made to optimize time, resources and costs. Priority is always given to the execution of projects according to the objectives set for each of them . As well as the overall objectives of the company which coordinates all these projects under the same management.


We will now take a closer look at these two concepts. A good understanding of how they work will allow us to determine the most appropriate PPM tool, depending on the challenges of each organization and the type of projects it manages.

What is project portfolio management and what is a PPM tool?


Managing a project portfolio requires achieving the objectives of each project simultaneously. This requires the use of common, shared resources, which must be coordinated to meet the individual needs of each task.


This fact leads to a series of difficulties which, without the right tools, will be more difficult to face. Let's take an example to better understand this concept.


Example of project portfolio management

A digital marketing consulting company has a portfolio of projects with different clients. Each of them has its own objectives, from which comes the work to be done to achieve them.


However, the resources available to this consulting company can be used indiscriminately for many of its clients. For example, a joint design team, which can produce graphic elements for banners needed by several clients, with different goals and objectives.


Now let's imagine that several projects aim to improve the Google ranking of different websites. If the consulting company invests in a tool allowing it to carry out SEO audits, it will have to distribute the cost of the tool proportionally to each of the projects. Depending on the weight of the positioning in the client's total work. 


This allocation of resources and costs is unlikely to be proportional. However, its correct distribution in terms of expenses will be essential to measure the real profitability of each project.


Good project portfolio management makes it possible to optimize both the individual results of each project and the overall activity of the company . Hence its importance.


PPM tool. Much more than simple project portfolio management.


The PPM tool facilitates precisely this optimization process . First of all, because it allows effective management of projects and operations. By configuring a budget that ensures the achievement of objectives, the availability of resources to achieve them and the operations to ensure their availability as soon as necessary.


It also allows you to define specific tasks and designate managers in an agile, intuitive and coordinated manner. It also automates notifications and accelerates communication between parties to notify any deviations in the planned execution of these tasks. This is very important for the correct management of deadlines and to detect gaps that prevent the execution of tasks according to established parameters.


Project monitoring and control

To ensure that everything goes as planned, it is necessary to track project performance . This can be done more easily with a PPM tool , thanks to reports , dashboards and alerts.


The first thing to do is to establish a few KPIs , easily configurable, on which monitoring will be carried out. These KPIs can be strictly financial . It is possible to have contract management that monitors down to the smallest detail the profit margins of each project, its progress, profit and loss reports, etc.


But they can also focus on personnel management and human resources, or any other relevant value depending on the company's values and philosophy. 

In short

It is a transversal tool , which makes it possible to monitor the needs and objectives of the different sectors of the company.

The human resources department may ensure workload balance, workload balance or ensure professional development of employees through current and future projects. And, at the same time, the accounting and financial department will be able to verify that the expenses allocated to a certain activity correspond to what was planned and that the margin is respected.

Thus, a PPM tool brings efficiency to the entire company, as well as to the clients themselves, who will obtain the expected results in their projects.

Consult our guide dedicated to project monitoring to find out more.

View the article

Holistic project portfolio management

The strong point of a PPM is that it allows joint management of the quality of the project portfolio, based on the optimization of the common and limited resources of each of them. In the daily operation of companies, unforeseen events arise, such as the unscheduled absence of a professional due to illness, for example, which require correct change management.


In these circumstances, a PPM methodology that allows joint, optimized and simultaneous management of portfolios makes it possible to reallocate resources with ease, without being subject to the actions of other clients. With a PPM tool, we have a single overview. A real overview that allows us to know where we are and what is the best decision to make to achieve individual and overall objectives.


Capacity can be planned and resources allocated efficiently. Define the exact needs based on the types of projects we will undertake. At the same time, this makes it possible to establish a budget in line with the client's (competitive) reality, without reducing the profitability of the company.


Check out our dedicated article to learn more about project portfolio management .

Integration with other systems

For businesses that need to streamline internal processes , remove administrative hurdles, and improve communication and stakeholder management.


Let's imagine that the finance department can connect its expense management application to invoices that are assigned, via the PPM platform, to a specific project. 


These expenses are automatically included in the accounting without any member of the financial department having to intervene. This saves a lot of time in paperwork and procedures. Time that can be devoted to other strategic actions with high added value. Additionally, possible errors when manually transferring information from one location to another are minimized.


Benefits that could be extended to other areas of the business. Now consider a project that required the execution of a series of overtime hours. Automatically and without human intervention, the following circumstances will occur:

  1. An additional cost is attributed to the project in question, which was not initially planned, and which the project manager will have detected and controlled.
  2. The finance department will reduce the initial cash flow forecast, due to the unexpected increase in personnel costs resulting from these overtime hours.
  3. HR will see the salary information of these workers updated automatically, thanks to the API connection between the PPM tool and its salary creation and management platform.
Integrations with Stafiz
Stafiz integrates with your existing tools.

Learn more about integrations with Stafiz.

How to choose a PPM tool, step by step

The first thing to do in choosing the best PPM tool is to determine our needs . From there, we will be able to detect the characteristics that our project manager must have as a priority.


Once we have selected the programs that match the needs of our business, we must pay attention to three other parameters: price, ease of use and customer service. 

Think about your needs

Each company has its own situation, its own processes and its own organizational culture. Depending on these parameters and the type of project you are working on, you will face challenges and needs that will determine the functionality and features of the PPM.

Need #1: Improve strategic vision and project portfolio design

Some organizations make mistakes by prioritizing projects whose tasks cannot be completed under the agreed conditions. In other cases, errors are made in accounting for costs and benefits at the proposal stage, identifying projects as opportunities that are not. 

These organizations need consolidated key performance indicators and projects that are truly tailored to their capabilities, resources and objectives.


Ability to easily configure KPIs and financial indicators . As well as the possibility of monitoring through reports that take into account the financial management of projects.

Need #2: optimize costs

Whether for reasons of competitiveness or for specific cash flow needs, some organizations require excellent cost optimization.

They need comprehensive cost tracking, cost assessment during the project, additional cost reduction strategies, etc.


  • Project management software that allows you to define detailed budgets based on task configuration, estimation of required resources, work distribution, availability of equipment and tools or project costs, such as per diems.
  • Including project control and monitoring, with comparisons between expected results and profitability (project profitability analysis) and warnings of detected or foreseeable deviations.
  • With the ability to identify areas for improvement by segmenting and isolating data: by team, business unit, grade, project type, etc.).

Need #3: Efficient resource management

This is a problem that particularly affects large consultancies that work on a multitude of projects simultaneously and with high demands.


  • Great ability to plan resources and needs, from the execution of a proposal.
  • Enable complete management of all phases of a project: definition of objectives, planning, budget forecasts, identification and strategic alignment of technical and human resources and monitoring.


Need #4: analyze your projects to identify areas for improvement

For organizations that need flexibility and agility to make the right strategic decisions. Through risk management, you can detect mistakes and learn from them for future projects.


  • Including Business Intelligence functions. With a clear and intuitive view of the overall project status based on key key performance indicators. And which allows comparisons between the actual state of the project and the expected result.
  • With consolidated views of projects, to identify the most profitable ones.


Need #5: improve collaboration and governance

Organizations that have been identified in performance reviews as having overly long meetings or highly structured hierarchies where it is difficult to make decisions.


  • PPM dashboard with global and centralized information on all projects .
  • Easy access and configuration for different types of profiles .
  • Agile data validation with predefined and automatable flows
  • Human resource availability visualization panels, before starting new projects


Need #6: improve delivery times

Companies that need to improve compliance with delivery deadlines and monitoring of current projects .


  • Control and time allocation functions per project and per person.
  • Automated alerts for deviations from forecasts and predictive technology to facilitate decision-making based on similar cases that have occurred before.


Need #7: integrate the tool with your other tools

For businesses that need to streamline internal processes , remove administrative hurdles, and improve communication and stakeholder management.


  • Possibility of connection via API .
  • Wide range of agile and easy integrations with all types of applications for different functionalities and departments (HR, Accounting, Helpdesk, IT, etc.).

Other parameters to take into account

In addition to the specific needs described above, there are other parameters common to all organizations that must use a PPM platform to optimize the planning of their project portfolio:


  • Customer service. 
  • Ease of use .
  • The price .


Regarding customer service , it is desirable that the software or platform in question offers a wide range of solutions to resolve doubts and manage problems related to the tool. From DIY academies and video resources with which you can carry out certain configurations yourself, to forums where you can ask questions that the experienced community can solve. Plus, of course, confirming that it has online and telephone customer service that responds quickly to any questions.


In terms of usability , it is important that such a central and essential tool is easy to use . The shorter the implementation and adoption times , the quicker the multiple benefits offered by this type of PPM platform will be felt.


Finally, special attention should be paid to the price . Not just in terms of quantity. Is the company paying for what it really needs, investing too much in a PPM platform that doesn't really fit its needs, and is it investing too much in a PPM platform that doesn't really fit its needs? ?


These calculations must also take into account the total cost of ownership . In other words, you invest in a tool that, at the same time, allows you to avoid other types of costs.

If, for example, the new tool will save time for the HR department, it makes sense to count these savings in working hours which can be devoted to other actions which, at the same time, can provide measurable added value. from an economic point of view. 


In addition to the costs of training in the use of a PPM tool . As we said, the easy adoption of a new tool will limit the time invested by employees, which also generates quantifiable savings at the economic level.

Final thoughts

In summary, to choose the best PPM tool , you must first identify the business needs . Next, it is necessary to identify the tools that integrate the functionalities to meet these needs.

Finally, you need to analyze the shortlisted tool in terms of usability, learning curve , customer service, and costs .

Better project portfolio management includes better selection of works at the proposal stage, better planning of costs and benefits, easy identification of available resources and greater ease of monitoring and establishing possible improvements. 

Added to this is the automation of processes and management in all areas of the company. 

In summary, the company improves its overall competitiveness , which is only possible by choosing the best portfolio management tool according to the particularities of each organization.