Laptop Displaying the GigaOm Research Portal

Get your Free GigaOm account today.

Access complimentary GigaOm content by signing up for a FREE GigaOm account today — or upgrade to premium for full access to the GigaOm research catalog. Join now and uncover what you’ve been missing!

GigaOm Key Criteria for Evaluating Agile Planning and Portfolio Management (PPM) Solutionsv3.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Agile PPM Solution Sector Brief
  3. Decision Criteria Analysis
  4. Analyst’s Outlook
  5. About Dana Hernandez

1. Executive Summary

Agile environments take an iterative approach to software delivery, and agile planning and portfolio management (PPM) tools apply that approach to managing the large volumes of work or “epics” and smaller “stories” that feature in these environments. In an agile environment, much of the decision-making is decentralized at the team level, so it’s important to be aware of how teams progress. Agile PPM tools help ensure that teams collaborate and that project status is visible to all parties, including team members, leaders, and other stakeholders.

These tools track key metrics and allow reporting on progress at various levels. They support a flexible, collaborative way for teams to engage, and they provide a framework that’s both structured and adaptable, allowing teams to focus on the high-priority features the business needs, even as those priorities change.

Agile PPM tools continue to mature each year, providing features that support speed to market and business value prioritization. In addition, the ability of these tools to integrate with other agile and DevOps tools continues to expand. Many of these agile solutions are becoming more platform-like, rather than just a set of applications. As agile development continues to evolve, these solutions are maturing too.

Challenges do exist, however. Not least of these is the reality that agile PPM tools can become quite complex as they grow in functionality. It can take several months to get a tool in place before benefits are realized. Some offerings require multiple products to obtain end-to-end functionality, adding to cost and implementation complexity. Extensive customization of solutions can slow teams down and be costly to maintain over time as new updates are rolled out.

Tools range from basic applications that support small teams to advanced platforms that aid entire organizations and various enterprise-level initiatives. Organizations need to understand the complexity of their operations and product structure in order to select the appropriate agile PPM tool.

Business Imperative
Agile PPM not only eases the management of agile projects, it is a key enabler of visibility and collaboration within those projects. It involves aligning strategy, execution, and continuous improvement while enhancing transparency across a portfolio of projects. It embraces cross-team collaboration and makes project status visible to all parties, including team members, leaders, and other stakeholders.

Sector Adoption Score
To help executives and decision-makers assess the potential impact and value of an agile Planning and Portfolio Management solution deployment to the business, this GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a structured assessment of the agile PPM sector across five factors: benefit, maturity, urgency, impact, and effort. By scoring each factor based on how strongly it compels or deters adoption of agile PPM solutions, we provide an overall Sector Adoption Score (Figure 1) for agile PPM of 4.4 out of 5, with 5 indicating the strongest possible recommendation to adopt. This indicates that agile PPM is a credible candidate for deployment and worth thoughtful consideration.

The factors contributing to the Sector Adoption Score for agile PPM are explained in more detail in the Sector Brief section that follows.

Key Criteria for Evaluating Agile PPM Solutions

Sector Adoption Score







Figure 1. Sector Adoption Score for Agile PPM

This is the third year that GigaOm has reported on the agile PPM space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report highlights the capabilities (table stakes, key features, and emerging features) and nonfunctional requirements (business criteria) for selecting an effective agile PPM solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those decision criteria. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading agile PPM offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.


The GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a detailed decision framework for IT and executive leadership assessing enterprise technologies. Each report defines relevant functional and nonfunctional aspects of solutions in a sector. The Key Criteria report informs the GigaOm Radar report, which provides a forward-looking assessment of vendor solutions in the sector.