In Project-Management.com, we have published over 200 software reviews. Some of the individual articles even reviewed 5 or 10 of the top project management software at a time for a particular type of industry, application or some other criteria. Indeed, the PM software market is crowded, and therefore, choosing the right PM software for one’s team or business is not a simple undertaking. Further complicating the selection process is the somewhat generally defined project management software category, where a software that only features collaboration and another software with full PPM functionality are both classified as PM software.
5 Categories of PM Software
To help navigate the PM and PPM software market landscape, Genius Project, an enterprise project management software, published a white paper that categorizes related software in the market into 5 types. These are project collaboration, project management, enterprise project management, project portfolio management and professional services automation. Each category caters to an identifiable type of customer organization, has a core set of features, and provide certain benefits, among others. Some features may overlap, as most provide support in managing projects, but the approach and priority may differ.
Software that are categorized under project collaboration provide basic communication and sharing of project information, documents and emails to optimize project results. This type of software is ideal for smaller startups whose main goal is to centralize information. Organizations that do not yet have any formal PM practices in place but use tasks heavily to complete work such as graphic design projects would greatly benefit from this type of software. Some of the benefits of this software for users are it is simple and quick to implement, is highly accessible from the cloud with data stored remotely, provides quick turnaround time, minimizes email use, and displays shared calendar views.
Project management software is the most commonly known and the most difficult to navigate, according to the white paper. However, a classic definition would describe it as a tool that provides a bottom-up approach to manage the people, timelines, scope, budget and project activities within a time frame as defined by the customer or stakeholder. As such, it is for organizations with the need to plan projects, manage tasks, share documents, solve issues and track time. It is a software that addresses and supports the role of a project manager to be able to create a plan, schedule, tasks, and deliverables, to manage resources, and to create progress reports. Features would include Gantt charts, document management, social team collaboration, project and time tracking, dashboards and reporting, among others.
Enterprise Project Management
Software categorized as enterprise project management (EPM) tools such as Genius Project take a holistic approach to managing projects, consider its impact on people, process and corporate objectives, and develop an environment based on interrelated goals linked to a group of people with finite availability and talent. It is the main tool used in a company or organization to daily manage multiple projects simultaneously with shared resources. It provides strong scheduling, dashboards and reporting capabilities, with powerful resource management across multiple projects. It has the intelligence to provide a holistic view of the status of projects, resource availability and alignment to strategic organization goals.
Project Portfolio Management
Project portfolio management software is closely related to EPM but differs in approach. PPM software takes a top-down approach with a focus on strategically aligning and optimizing potential and active projects, grouped into portfolios, with corporate objectives and available resources. It is software that is ideal with those that have a Project Management Office (PMO) that plays a significant role in managing portfolios. Important features that must be included are those capable of providing what-if scenario planning and demand management. It provides a macro view of a portfolio of projects so that profitability, alignment with corporate goals and other constraints imposed by external factors can be effectively assessed.
Professional Services Automation
The final PM software category falls into professional services automation (PSA). It is a tool that helps manage the entire lifecycle of service-based projects starting from sales, project delivery, time and billing, up to invoicing, which are fed back to the Accounting department of that company. It is basically an EPM software for service, specifically designed for the service industry, to assist professionals with their project and resource management. Examples of types of these businesses are bookkeeping, accounting and auditing services, architectural, engineering and facilities support, consulting, surveying and testing laboratories, among others. Important list of features include project, time and expense tracking, document and resource management, dashboards and reporting, as well as project invoicing.
Competitive businesses possess increased efficiency and successful project delivery. Project management software has tremendously helped these organizations to achieve said qualities and environment. Companies who are interested to use the right PM software should first evaluate carefully their needs, intended benefits, budget, and long-term goals, among others, to be able to find the proper match. Some software are flexible in pricing, modular in deployment and therefore scalable to the growth of the organization. Thus, one does not necessarily have to choose the software with the least number of features just because it is only starting, although simpler solutions such as project collaboration are generally needed by businesses of all sizes and complexity.
Genius Project can adapt to an organization’s business process with its highly flexible and configurable features for enterprise and PPM needs. Planning and Gantt Chart, Project Tracking, Dashboards and Reporting, Workflow and Resource Management, What-if Scenario Planning and Demand Management are but some of its features that are valuable to a wide array of teams and project types.