GigaOm Radar for Agile Planning and Portfolio Management Toolsv1.01

Improving Visibility and Collaboration for Product Teams and Leaders

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, particularly with the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies escalated the adoption of agile processes. Agile planning and portfolio management (PPM) solutions help companies and teams organize and accelerate delivery of solutions. They help ensure that teams are collaborating and that project status is visible to all parties, including team members, leaders, and 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 around the core table stakes functionality. Most tools today have robust collaboration capabilities, solid automation, and processes related to planning of iterations and releases, task and issue management, dashboard reporting, and KPI tracking. All the solutions we reviewed here have functionality across the core agile methodology.

The enterprise-focused solutions for agile PPM have built new 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 the business value, objectives, and key results 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 product-based agile funding.

There’s a strengthening focus on version management in these solutions, available through either functionality in the tool or 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 a focus on 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 are able to 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 significant.

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 focus more on 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 pricing points: 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 may lean more toward planning and collaboration, engineering, or regulatory control. These are key factors that differentiate PPM solutions, and determining which suits your company’s strategic goals will help you make the best choice.

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.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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