Features of most project portfolio management software include data tracking for current projects, tools for analyzing time, assets and costs of future projects, and financial and resource management and analysis to help a business deploy human and financial resources in the most cost-effective manner. At minimum, a project portfolio management program is a database that includes cost estimates, required resources, scheduled events and outcomes for various projects and enables the review of information for multiple projects concurrently.
Project portfolio management packages come in generic, widely applicable versions; those that fit a certain range of projects; and custom designs for a specific sector or business. Factors driving the selection of a project portfolio management system include the primary objective; for example, the objective may be to provide data, scheduling and staffing reports for project managers or to provide top managers with financial information. These programs typically approach data collection from the perspective of the senior executives. Some capture data using a graphical user interface to reflect the natural flow of work, both project-related and otherwise.
Project portfolio management software is available from consulting companies, operational research experts, and software vendors and service providers, but it appears that the packages offered by software vendors and service providers include the most functionality.