Acuity PPM is a lightweight portfolio management solution designed to support the selection, planning, and execution of multiple projects simultaneously. You can use it to optimize and prioritize projects based on return on investment and easily manage your organization’s project portfolio. However, limited role-based permissions and reporting capabilities mean other PPM solutions could be more suitable for some users.
Acuity PPM Compared to the Best Project Portfolio Management Software
We’ve reviewed the best project portfolio management tools and found a few high-quality alternatives to Acuity PPM. These Golden Eggs help you get an in-depth picture of individual projects while providing other unique or exceptional benefits.
Monday.com is a super flexible and customizable tool that lets you juggle multiple projects simultaneously without breaking a sweat. Get started on a 14-day free trial.
Hive offers several collaboration features that help with communication and transparency among team members who work on multiple projects in different combinations. Try Hive for free for 14 days.
Asana is the most user-friendly PPM software but boasts several advanced features that simplify portfolio management. Start a 30-day trial to experience the premium features.
Acuity PPM: The Good and the Bad
We used Acuity PPM for over two weeks as a part of our research to understand its capabilities as a project portfolio management tool. This helped us gain an in-depth understanding of both the good and bad aspects. Let’s take a quick look at where Acuity PPM rises to the challenge and falls short.
What Acuity PPM Is Good At
Acuity PPM is incredibly user-friendly project portfolio management software. It has an intuitive and easy-to-use interface designed to drive user adoption from their first login. However, it’s also not lacking in advanced features for PM needs like reporting and resource management.
User-friendly: For most organizations, managing project portfolios without software can be problematic, but using PPM software seems too complicated. Acuity PPM provides an approachable, intuitive solution that’s easy for first-time users. Sections are clearly marked in a clean, uncluttered interface that displays information in a familiar tab-and-pane design.
Real-time project visibility: Acuity PPM not only gives you a single system to manage all projects across your portfolio, but you can also get an eagle-eye view of overall progress and resource utilization. Use the software to identify and address potential bottlenecks and issues faster, helping prevent project delays and cost overruns.
Project scoring: Large organizations will love Acuity’s enterprise-grade features, allowing the software to handle portfolio management at an incredible scale. Prioritization can always be tough the more you’re juggling, but you can tap into Acuity PPM’s project scoring model to evaluate the risk and reward of pending and backlogged endeavors. Plus, utilize the software’s work intake features to review and approve project proposals and only take on the best projects.
Resource management: One of Acuity PPM’s strongest virtues is its resource management abilities. With it, you can easily optimize the usage and workloads of your people, equipment, and materials.
Lean on this platform’s comprehensive resource planning and scheduling, including leveling and allocation, to balance workloads, reduce resource conflicts, and prevent over-allocation. As a result, you’ll become more efficient over time, leading to greater profit on each project you finish.
Flexibility and scalability: Another significant advantage of Acuity PPM is its customizability. Tailor the software to meet your unique organizational, portfolio, or project needs. Acuity PPM supports a wide range of project management methodologies, including hybrid, Agile, and waterfall. Plus, seamless integrations with popular tools like Microsoft Project and Google Sheets further extend Acuity PPM‘s ability to scale up to meet broader needs.
Rich feature set: Don’t let the simple user interface fool you; Acuity PPM provides enterprise-grade functionality that significantly simplifies portfolio management. For instance, its roadmaps feature is useful for visualizing project timing and sequencing from both a bird’s eye and a granular level. Use it to identify dependencies and avoid potential conflicts.
The strong reporting and analytics capabilities of Acuity PPM further allow you to track KPIs and make more informed decisions. And the core features for portfolio tracking let you centralize all status reports in one place, improving real-time reporting and visibility into your pipeline.
What Acuity PPM Is Lacking
Acuity PPM rises to the challenge for organizations of all sizes. But like any other software, it also has its own set of disadvantages for some users and one major barrier in terms of its pricing. Let’s dive into what Acuity could improve upon.
Time-consuming setup Despite Acuity PPM‘s simple and intuitive interface, getting everything configured to work how you want it to takes some time. User setup is involved, and the wealth of features means there’s a lot of frontend work in terms of configuring views, resources, reports, and more. Be prepared for lengthy onboarding for your team members, too, as it may take time for them to get up to speed and use the platform effectively.
Inadequate role-based permissions: While it can accommodate large organizations, Acuity PPM should work on making its user permission and role settings more robust. It should allow project owners and managers to restrict permissions at every project phase as needed, so only the right sets of eyes can see private details related to a project, such as financials. This is particularly crucial for organizations dealing with highly sensitive or classified projects or highly regulated industries.
Dashboard customization: Currently, Acuity PPM doesn’t have a very customizable dashboard. This isn’t a serious disadvantage, as the default design is thoughtful and information-rich. But if you want to keep track of specific KPIs or metrics, you may find it inconvenient. Also, the fact that other project portfolio management software offers customizable dashboards doesn’t work in Acuity PPM’s favor.
High price tag: Acuity PPM mostly has Fortune 500 companies as its users, and its expensive pricing serves as further proof. We’ll get into pricing specifics in a bit, but in addition to a pretty high base price, you’ll have to purchase add-ons and other additional modules if you want to customize the software to meet really specific requirements. This is also exclusive of the cost of training and support, which is why organizations with limited budgets may not be able to fully take advantage of Acuity PPM’s capabilities.
Acuity PPM Options and Pricing
Aside from its lightweight PPM software, Acuity PPM also offers a PPM Maturity Calculator. Let’s dive into what the main software costs and how much you’ll need to pay to use the calculator.
Acuity PPM’s portfolio and project management software may give you some sticker shock at first. Pricing begins at $599 per month for the PPM Starter plan, but that’s a company-wide cost. You’re not paying per user, so if you run a large team, this monthly rate may be comparable to (or perhaps better than) paying for 50 or more seats on an alternative platform.
The Starter plan bundles together essential portfolio tracking, project and portfolio timelines, status reports, issue logs, risk logs, and resource planning capabilities.
Next up is Acuity PPM Essentials, which is $999 per month. This plan adds project scoring, work intake management, and risk-versus-value analysis. If you need resource capacity and team utilization features, you’ll want to step up to Acuity PPM Plus, starting at $1,300 per month.
There’s also a custom-priced Enterprise tier that unlocks better security, bespoke training, and software integrations.
It’s worth noting two big things that can affect your pricing and maybe lead to you paying less than the prices listed above. First, Acuity will work with your team to build a plan based on only the feature modules you need to use. That can allow you to mix and match from some of the packages we just discussed and not have to pay the full plan price.
Acuity also has a tiered discount system for companies that commit to a 12-month, 24-month, or 36-month agreement. These agreements provide an additional 10%, 15%, and 20% discount. That can go a long way on the higher-priced plans that are upwards of $1,000 per month.
Acuity PPM Portfolio Management Maturity Assessment Calculator
Use Acuity PPM’s portfolio management maturity assessment calculator to evaluate your team’s current level of maturity in the key areas of portfolio management.
Based on your input, it assigns you a score calculated using six sub-categories:
- Portfolio governance
- Portfolio definition
- Portfolio optimization
- Project and portfolio performance management
- Resource management
- Portfolio data and analysis.
You can use this score to better understand the various aspects of portfolio management. The specific components within each sub-category will help you identify each project’s strengths and weaknesses. The corresponding drop-down with maturity criteria is great for assessing team performance against industry standards.
You can develop an improvement plan and track progress over time using these insights.
While you can get your portfolio management maturity assessment score for free, Acuity PPM also provides a custom report for $99. This report will include more detailed information and a PowerPoint version of the brand’s maturity model, which can be useful for monitoring your current PPM maturity.
Acuity PPM in Summary
Acuity PPM is designed to support the selection, planning, and execution of many projects at once. Sporting a user-friendly and intuitive interface while giving enterprise-grade control over projects, it’s a great tool for preventing project delays and cost overruns at scale.
Acuity PPM’s flexible, scalable, and robust resource management abilities are commendable. However, its expensive price tag and a few other limitations may make other PPM software solutions a better fit based on your needs. Monday.com and Asana, for example, are equally user-friendly at a much better price point for small teams, while Hive is exceptionally suited for managing a dispersed team of remote project workers.
Or, just learn more about the entire category at large and all the software options in it. Learn more to make an informed decision by reading our post listing our top picks for project portfolio management.