The HARVEST Blog

News & small business tips from your beloved time tracking & invoicing app.

Supporting Harvest: Tools of the Trade

I had the opportunity to speak at the fabulous UserConf NYC a few months ago, about how Harvest dropped its support response times. I then followed up with a guest appearance on Supportops Podcast with Chase Clemons from 37signals, where we talked about remote working, Hurricane Sandy, and a some of the tools we use in Harvest support that help to speed up the process. Here’s a quick look at a couple of the tools that I use everyday. Continue Reading …

Accept Online Payments in Canadian Dollars with Stripe!

While we’re a bit late for Canada Day, we’re excited to announce support for accepting online payments in Canadian Dollars with Stripe.

Setting up a Stripe account is remarkably simple, and it’s rapidly becoming one of our most popular gateways. Using Stripe with Harvest makes it that much faster for your clients to send you that hard-earned money. It was time to share some of that love with our friends to the north.

CAD Payment

Getting set up to accept Canadian Dollar payments is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Sign up for a Stripe account and configure it to use CAD.
  2. In Harvest, go to Invoices > Configure > Online Payment and add Stripe as your payment gateway.
  3. Profit!

Don’t have a Harvest account? Sign up for a free trial and start collecting payments online!

Introducing the New Harvest Chrome Extension

Since last Fall, our Chrome extension has helped thousands of Harvest users track time seamlessly within project management applications like Basecamp and Trello. Users can start a Harvest timer right from either application. Today, we’re releasing an update to make Harvest time tracking even more convenient whenever you use Google Chrome.

Once installed, with a single click (or press Alt + Shift + H), you can bring up Harvest to start or stop timers right from within Chrome. It’s fast and convenient. See it in action:

Whether you’re on Mac, Windows or Linux, Chrome is a fast and free way to browse the web. Combining Chrome with the Harvest extension is a great way to enjoy the speed and ease of time tracking on your desktop. Quickly start and stop timers and always know when you have a timer running at a glance.

To get started:

This is the first step in making our Chrome extension even smarter to help you work. Enjoy!

PS – Looking for more ways to incorporate Chrome into your workflow? Alongside Harvest, check out the complementary business apps for Chrome curated by Google.



Next Week: Switch Projects On-the-Fly

UPDATE (6/14): This update is now available to all users. Enjoy!

The Harvest Platform is about to get even easier to use. Next week, we’re launching an update that will allow you to track time entries to Harvest without first linking them to Harvest projects. From now on, you’ll be able switch between projects on-the-fly from a dropdown in each timer window. This small but significant change will bring an increased level of flexibility to the Harvest Platform that many of our customers have let us know they need.

harvest-platform-screenshot

For those who do not need or want to switch projects, fear not! After the change rolls out, the Harvest Platform will remember which projects you had previously linked to your application and show them in the project dropdowns for each entry. While you’ll now be able to change projects, you don’t have to if you’re happy with the current settings.

This is just the beginning of some exciting news for the Harvest Platform. Stay tuned for more next week!

Important Notice for Harvest Chrome Extension Users

Along with this update, we’ll be rolling out a version of the Harvest Chrome Extension that will need to be granted new permissions. This auto-update will cause the timer icon in Basecamp, and the Track Time button in Trello, to disappear until the extension is granted access to these apps. To grant the extension permissions:

  1. Open Chrome, and click the Chrome menu.
  2. Select Preferences.
  3. Next, go to Extensions.
  4. Next to Harvest Time Tracker, check Enabled.

Scheduled Maintenance, Tuesday June 4th 10pm – 12am EDT

UPDATE: Maintenance has now been completed successfully at 12:33am EDT on June 5th.  Everything is operating as expected with Harvest once again.  If you experience any problems, try clearing your web browser’s cache and reloading the page you’re on.  If you need assistance with this, or with anything else, please drop us a line at support@harvestapp.com. Thank you!

UPDATE: Due to availability issues with one of our vendors, we have postponed this maintenance window to Tuesday June 4th, between 10pm – 12am EDT. What time is that for you?

We’re making some changes to the way Harvest is delivered from our servers to your computer (for those of you with Rails knowledge, we’re rolling out Asset Pipeline across Harvest). Because the changes affect every page in Harvest, we wanted to give you some advance warning just in case you’re using Harvest at the time and it doesn’t seem quite right.

Harvest will be in scheduled maintenance mode on Tuesday June 4th, between 10pm – 12am EDT.  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 change.

As always, we appreciate your support! We will update the progress of this upgrade via @harvest and HarvestStatus.com

Time Tracking Insights from Jason Calacanis

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.

Read more about the tools Jason uses for his business in this OPEN Forum article.

RSVP to WalkaboutNYC Tech Edition

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 the second year in a row, we’re happy to see WalkaboutSingapore happen!
  • 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.

Join Us

RSVP now to join us on Friday, May 17th, and meet the entrepreneurs, designers, and engineers who are shaping tomorrow’s technology.

Harvest Is Moving to a New Data Center on Sunday, April 28th (Completed Successfully)

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 support@harvestapp.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.

Thanks for your support.

Christopher Gamblée-Wallendjack on Systematic Ep. 39

Systematic on 5by5

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.

Scheduled Maintenance, Sunday March 3rd, 11am – 4pm EST (Completed)

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.

Original Post:

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.

As always, we appreciate your support! We will update the progress of this upgrade via @harvest and HarvestStatus.com