Harvest customer Jason Calacanis has started companies like Weblogs, Inc. (acquired by AOL), Mahalo.com and ThisWeekIn.com. Jason recently wrote about why his businesses track time and how that has helped them make better decisions.
Time tracking is a very touchy subject in the employment space, and you have to be very, very careful implementing it if you’re not in advertising, legal or consulting (where it’s standard). Time tracking asks team members to report on which projects and tasks they are working on down to the quarter hour.
It seems annoying, but it actually isn’t a big deal. It adds about five minutes to each person’s day—max —since most folks work on fewer than 10 tasks a day. The information you can get from it can be unexpected. For example, we realized that one of our video shows was costing eight times another, with two more sitting squarely in between. When drilled down, we figured out what the more efficient shows were doing, and applied those best practices to all the other shows.
Additionally, we went to our distribution partner and said, “Look, this is costing us more and here are the numbers—we need a better deal.” We got it!
If you’re having trouble motivating your team to adopt time tracking, Jason offers some sound advice:
Now, you will get standard objections like “I’m too busy to do this” and “You don’t trust me?” The first objection tends to come from high performers, who will respond properly to “I understand you’re slammed, but if you do this, it’s a short-term cost for a long-term benefit, because we’re going to show exactly how much more effective you are than everyone else—and you can use that in your next review!”
The “You don’t trust me?” protest tends to come from “eeyores” or low performers. When they respond this way, you should look them in the eye and say, “We wouldn’t have hired you if we didn’t trust you. This is for the good of the team.” Then say nothing. If they whine some more, you can use the metaphor of athletes who track every metric under the wisdom of “If you can measure it, you can manage it.” If they still complain? Well, it might just be time to hit the eject button on that employee.
Today, we’re proud to announce our 4th annual WalkaboutNYC Tech Edition. Since organizing our very first WalkaboutNYC in 2010, we’ve nurtured and grown this behind-the-scenes event to showcase the vibrant tech movement in New York City.
WalkaboutNYC Has Grown
We’ve created an RSVP system, so that you can better plan your schedule, and your day. About 1500 people RSVP’d for sessions at last year’s event, and many used our mobile-friendly view while they were on the go.
We created a new version of WalkaboutNYC, the Agency Edition, where we invited NYC’s independent creative agencies to join in the Walkabout fun.
For those who don’t live in NYC but want to throw their own Walkabout, we made Walkabout available as an open source project, so that you can share your own behind-the-scenes look at your own city’s tech movement.
Why Do We Do This?
Harvest co-founders Danny Wen and Shawn Liu have always enjoyed taking tours of workspaces. Whether it’s a loft or shared co-working space, they’ve always been inspired to see where companies are born, people spend their time, and products are launched. WalkaboutNYC enables us to share that experience everyone.
RSVP now to join us on Friday, May 17th, and meet the entrepreneurs, designers, and engineers who are shaping tomorrow’s technology.
UPDATE: This migration has been successful. Harvest is back online in our new data center. If you are seeing any issues in your account, or are having trouble accessing Harvest, please email email@example.com with details. Thank you all for your support as we made this large migration.
Summary: 3 hour maintenance window on Sunday April 28th, 9am – 12pm EDT. (Your local time)
In September of 2011, we moved Harvest to a new data center. That turned out to be a great move for our customers, solving a few reliability issues. Since 2011, Harvest has grown. A lot. We now have more resources online to serve your data, and every week brings record traffic volume. We’ve also been severely impacted by natural disasters and other challenges. We’ve been looking for a data center we can really stretch out in, a facility that has an impecable track record, and a vendor with an excellent reputation. We believe we have found all three with ServerCentral.
We have deployed a new set of servers with ServerCentral in the Chicago area and are getting ready to turn them on. The facility we have deployed our servers in is one of the highest quality data centers out there. The engineering behind the power and infrastructure systems in the building is some of the best in the industry. Besides the facility itself, a lot of work has gone into making this new server cluster more tolerant of everyday failures. Building this base cluster we have high trust in is only the first step in our global availability plan.
In order to perform the final sync of customer data to the new facility in the safest possible way, we need to take Harvest offline for up to 3 hours. This is going to take place Sunday, April 28th, between 9am – 12pm EDT. What time is that for you?
During this window, you’ll see a maintenance notice if you access your Harvest account. We will work as fast as humanly possible to get rid of that maintenance notice and get you back to your important data. During the work we’ll keep you updated via Twitter and on HarvestStatus.com.
I had the pleasure of joining Brett Terpstra on this week’s episode of his Systematic podcast (“A weekly discussion about creativity, productivity, work, and everything Mac and iOS.”) I’ve been a fan of Brett and his work for a number of years now, as an avid productivity and Mac enthusiast, and he’s developed a number of tools and scripts that I use almost daily here at Harvest to help provide the world-class support that our customers have become accustomed to. I was a little nervous at first, on account of the fact that I only had a few hours notice that I was appearing on the show (more on how that came about on Brett’s blog). Once we got rolling, though, I was put right at ease.
We talk a bit about Harvest in the beginning of the episode, and then we branch out and touch on a number of subjects: walking, making and recording music digitally, and — of course — accordions. It was a ton of fun getting a chance to meet Brett and have a conversation. You can listen to the episode here.
Also, in the interest of full disclosure, Harvest occasionally sponsors the 5by5 podcast network.
UPDATE: This software update was successfully deployed with less than a minute or two of service interruption. Thanks for your patience as we rolled out this significant upgrade.
We deploy new software to production multiple times in the average work day, but some software releases contain so much new code that we need to be a little extra careful when we deploy them. Over the past few weeks the Harvest team has been upgrading much of the Harvest code base and the time has come to deploy this to production. This upgrade will allow us to make better software by leveraging new features of our software libraries and will make future software upgrades easier.
Harvest will be in scheduled maintenance mode on Sunday March 3rd between 11am – 4pm EST. What time is that for you?We are not planning to take Harvest offline during this maintenance window, but there could be temporary performance or availability issues during this window as we roll out this large software upgrade.
Over the last 7 years, 95 million hours were tracked in Harvest. With each passing year, we’ve labored behind the scenes to change the way you work. Our goal with every Harvest update has been to streamline your workflow, so you can focus on the work that matters most and get more done.
2012 was no different. Whether it was through redesigning the timesheet to make time tracking even faster from any device, or launching a developer platform to provide the ability to track time from any application — we pushed Harvest further last year to make your life easier. To recap, we put together a little story of what we accomplished for our customers in 2012 – The Year In Work.
2013 is already off to a great start with another integration made public, and updates tailored towards helping you communicate better with clients. As always, we invite you to send us feedback on what else you’d like to see this year. For any time tracking integration requests, why not send along the Harvest Developer Platform to the team behind your favorite application? They’ll be able to add Harvest time tracking to their application in 15 minutes.
We look forward to providing you with another stellar year in work.
Clients can have a knack for suspense, especially the times after an invoice is sent. You’re left in the dark with little or no insight into whether they’ve seen an invoice. We’ve made things less theatrical by eliminating the detective work. Now you can tell exactly when clients view the Harvest Web Invoice in their browser.
Every time the client views the invoice via his/her unique Web Invoice link, the corresponding date and time appear under Invoice History for your eyes only.
Of course, you can still view the Web Invoice and not be mistaken for your client– just make sure you’re signed in to your Harvest account before doing so. We hope this feature helps you communicate with your clients better and ultimately gets you paid. Let us know if you have any feedback!
Great news! We are excited to announce a new integration with Xero, a popular online accounting platform. You can now have invoices automatically copied from Harvest into Xero for your accounting records. You can also manually copy any unsent or updated invoices by using a simple drop down menu right from an invoice.
With both Harvest and Xero at your disposal, it’s now possible to streamline your business processes from start to finish. Track project time and budgets as usual in Harvest. Then invoice off the tracked time with one-click in Harvest. The invoice is copied over to Xero via the integration.
In Xero, financial transactions are pulled from your bank accounts so you can run reconciliation, payroll, and keep an accurate picture of cashflow.
To set up the integration, just go to Account Settings in Harvest and select Connect to Xero. You’ll then be sent to Xero to confirm the integration. That’s all there is to it. From Xero, you can easily jump back to Harvest to see your original invoices.
For more information, watch the video below or check out our Help Center.
Special thanks to all of our beta testers and the team at Xero for making this integration go so smoothly.
For the past three years, we’ve been organizing WalkaboutNYC for technology companies, as a way to give people a behind the scenes look at how these companies get work done. Last month, we organized our very first WalkaboutNYC Agency Edition. We invited 28 independent creative agencies to open their doors, and share how they work with the public. We held a kickoff event in downtown New York’s SoHo, to bring together some of the participants, share lunch, and have some interesting discussions related to design and getting work done at an independent creative agency, with sponsorship from Mailchimp and Behance.
During the kickoff, Sam Potts, Communications Designer at IDEO, discussed his circuitous path through the world of design. What may, in retrospect, look like a master plan, was really an unplanned route that included publishing, superhero supplies, travel in China, and now IDEO. Hear why he made the decisions he did, and how he traveled from A to Z.
QuoteRoller is web-based software that lets you create winning proposals, collaborate with clients, and receive sign-off all in an integrated online workflow. If you’re looking at a way of automating your RFP response process, check out QuoteRoller.
The fine folks at QuoteRoller have put together an integration with Harvest that lets you quickly convert your accepted proposals into an invoice in Harvest, and share contact information between the two systems. Check it out: