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GigaOm Radar for Agile Planning and Portfolio Management (PPM)v2.0

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Market Categories and Deployment Types
  3. Key Criteria Comparison
  4. GigaOm Radar
  5. Vendor Insights
  6. Analyst’s Take
  7. About Dana Hernandez

1. Summary

In response to changing customer and employee needs, many companies escalated the adoption of agile processes over the past several years. Agile planning and portfolio management (PPM) solutions help companies and teams organize and accelerate delivery of solutions. They help ensure teams are collaborating and that project status is visible to all parties, including team members, leaders, and other stakeholders. The ability to adapt to an ever-changing business environment more quickly and easily is a key driver for these solutions.

This market has matured significantly in terms of core table stakes functionality. Most tools today have robust collaboration capabilities, solid automation, iteration and release planning, backlog management, task management, reporting, and risk and issue management. All the solutions we reviewed here have functionality across the core agile methodology.

Enterprise-focused vendors have built additional functionality for financial management, including budgeting, forecasting, and actuals tracking. These functions are found at the feature level as well as at higher epic, portfolio, and enterprise levels and can tie the financials to business value and objectives and key results (OKRs) that are linked to their delivery pipeline. These links at all levels help companies prioritize and focus on the highest value work. They also assist the transition from traditional IT funding of projects to agile IT funding of products.

There’s a strengthening focus on version management, available through built-in functionality or via integrations with third-party products. This represents the growing convergence of agile development with development operations (DevOps) solutions. The ability to take advantage of DevOps information within agile planning allows greater visibility into a product’s status and issues.

Also emerging in these solutions is functionality around using data for predictive analytics and predictive governance. Tools are beginning to enable increased automation for repetitive tasks, as they are identified by historical data in the tool. Moreover, they can identify issues earlier in the process, which is key to solving them sooner. Value stream management (VSM), which identifies areas for workflow improvement with increased efficiency, elimination of redundant processes, and identification of backlogs, is becoming more and more valuable.

Based on their functionality, some of the solutions we reviewed demonstrate more of an engineering perspective, providing data to improve the life of the developer during the development process. Other solutions support less-technical aspects of agile delivery and leadership reporting. These solutions often add financial management to each level of the process to help ensure that what’s being delivered has actual business value.

The PPM market has evolved rapidly, with mergers and acquisitions enabling vendors to attain functionality that solutions were lacking previously. This trend is likely to continue.

The solutions we reviewed are available at varying price points: free tools or free versions, low-cost solutions priced per user per month for core functionality, and costly platforms consisting of multiple integrated applications providing end-to-end functionality. The more complex solutions often require the assistance of professional services for implementation. Many have add-ons or marketplace options that further enhance the breadth and depth of the solution.

Most of these solutions are available as cloud-only, software as a service (SaaS) models. Very few have on-premises or private cloud deployment options. The companies with on-premises and private cloud offerings tend to focus on highly regulated industries, such as government, medical devices, automotive, and aerospace.

Before selecting an agile PPM tool, organizations need to understand the complexity of their operations and product structure. Tools range from basic applications that support small teams to advanced platforms that bolster entire organizations and multiple enterprise-level initiatives, with varying areas of emphasis that alternatively may lean more toward planning and collaboration, engineering, or regulatory control. These are key factors that differentiate PPM solutions, and determining which one suits your company’s strategic goals will help you make the best choice.

This GigaOm Radar report highlights key agile PPM Solutions vendors and equips IT decision-makers with the information needed to select the best fit for their business and use case requirements. In the corresponding GigaOm report “Key Criteria for Evaluating Agile PPM Solutions,” we describe in more detail the key features and metrics that are used to evaluate vendors in this market.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.