The HARVEST Blog

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

Easier Duplicates, Smarter Selectors, and Consistency

Back in May we posted a quick note about polishing. Since then we’ve been chugging away and wanted to highlight some improvements we think will make your Harvesting a bit more bountiful.

Duplicating Archived Projects

First, you can now duplicate archived projects. In the past, you used to have to unarchive a project to duplicate it—but why? You let us know duplicating was just as important for archived projects, and now it’s easy peasy. Just click the Duplicate button that appears at the top right of the archived project’s Analysis page and it’s done.

image_duplicate_button

Smarter Date Selectors

Second, we made our date selectors smarter. In many places throughout Harvest, we let you easily select a date range. You have one field for the start date and another for the end. This usually works fine, but sometimes you’d select a start date in the future. If so, the end date wouldn’t change—and you’d wind up with an end date that fell before the start date.

Today, Harvest is just a bit more savvy: We’ll update your end date based on the start date you select.

Consistency in the Small Things

Last but not least, we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes to make sure your experience in Harvest is consistent. Recently we’ve been focusing on:

  • Improving the look and consistent usage of icons.
  • Making sure high-level layouts (like page headers) are the same throughout Harvest.
  • Editing copy, so when referencing the same thing, we use the same language.
  • Updating components like tables, forms, and buttons to use the same design styles.

Some of these updates aren’t immediately obvious, but with consistency comes predictability. And a predictable app is easy to use. There’s more in the pipeline for consistency updates, but we think in the long run Harvest will feel smoother and more familiar.

That’s it for today’s update from Harvest HQ! And if you have any questions, just let us know in the comments.

New Feature: Budget by Task Fees

Not all budgets are created equal. Here at Harvest, we know how important it is to keep track of those budgets, no matter how big or small. Budget tracking ensures your projects run smoothly, efficiently, and profitably. In the past few months, we’ve made big strides toward bettering your budget experience—we released Forecast, project graphs, and a recent integration between Forecast and Harvest Projects.

In the next few days, we’ll be rolling out another new feature that’ll help with all your budgeting needs: the ability to budget by fees per task.

Let’s take a typical fixed-fee project that’s composed of phases:

  • Phase 1: Research  | Budget: $5,000
  • Phase 2: Design  | Budget: $8,000
  • Phase 3: Implementation  | Budget: $5,000
  • Phase 4: Launch  | Budget: $3,000

How would you set up that project in Harvest? Some of you might budget by total project fees. That works fine, but you won’t be able to track the project’s progress at a more granular level.

The other option is to budget by hours per task. The trouble is, you can’t translate your fees into hours—different people might work on the same phase at different billable rates.

Let’s fix that problem! Our new feature makes it possible for you to break down project fees by tasks. Simply edit a project, and choose the “Fees per task” option:

budget-method

Then scroll down to the Tasks section and type in your fees:

budget-form

Make sure you set an Invoice Method and specify your billable rates and Harvest will do the rest!  If you head to your Project Analysis page, you’ll find this useful report—a breakdown of your project progress by task fees:

budget-table

We hope you find this new feature useful! And as usual, we’d love to hear what you think.

Harvest for Zendesk: Refreshed!

Zendesk, the lovable help desk solution, launched its very first integration with Harvest way back in 2008. As most of us know, firstborns get showered with love in their early days. And then the second (perhaps third, fourth) child comes around, and the firstborn might start to feel a little less in the spotlight. Over the years, there have been bouts of attention given to the Harvest for Zendesk integration, but certainly not enough. We decided it was high time to show Zendesk’s firstborn integration some well-deserved love!

We’ve taken ownership of the Harvest for Zendesk Lotus integration and have rewritten it to work off of our Harvest Platform. With this refreshed version of the integration, you’ll notice:

  • Less clicks. Whether it’s entering time via duration, starting your next timer, or tabbing through the fields without a mouse, it’ll be much quicker to log your time.
  • Auto-populated notes. The Harvest notes field will auto-populate with the Zendesk ticket ID and ticket title.
  • Projects and Tasks are remembered. You won’t have to reselect the Harvest Project and Task when you open a ticket you already tracked time to. For a ticket you haven’t tracked time to, the Harvest Project and Task selected on the most recent ticket you tracked time to will be defaulted. We realize you might have other ideas for how the Project and Task should be defaulted, so by all means, please share them!

Zendesk Anywhere Widget

These changes make it a bit smoother to track time with the Harvest for Zendesk integration. If you have any other ideas how we can make it better, please let us know!

If you’re not using the Harvest for Zendesk integration, you can install it from your Zendesk account here.

Expense Categories: Now with Archiving

It’s spring! Time to throw out that sweater you haven’t worn since 1995, and dust off your beach umbrella.

Here at Harvest, we’re prepping for a bit of spring cleaning, too. A few weeks back, we revealed an improved design for expense categories. Over the next few days, we’re releasing the second part of that improvement: the ability to archive expense categories.

If you’re an administrator, just go to Manage > Expense Categories and you’ll be able to archive any category in your list. Check it out:

archived_expense_categories_gif

If you’re not using a category anymore, just archive it! It’ll be removed from your active categories list, keeping your view nice and tidy.

Worried about how archiving affects data? Don’t stress. Here’re some useful details about how archiving affects your account:

  • If an expense category is archived, you can’t track an expense to it.
  • Archiving an expense category won’t delete your data. Instead, the category is moved to an archived list.
  • If there were expense entries tracked to the category that you archived, they remain intact. You can still report on them and invoice for them. You can also still edit all data related to those expense entries!
  • You can restore an archived category at any time. Restoring the category allows you to track expenses to it once again.

If you don’t see this feature in your account yet, don’t worry. We’re doing a gradual release, so you’ll see it soon! We think this’ll make your spring cleaning—at least in Harvest—a bit smoother. And if you have any questions, just give us a shout!

* We pulled the cat scene of our GIF from Ethan Marcotte’s craftily curated bukk.it. If anyone knows whose cool cat that is, we’d love to know too! 

Export your Forecast Schedule (Beta)

Today we’re introducing a new feature to Forecast: you can now export your schedule to a CSV file! This is super useful if you want to work with your Forecast data in other applications, such as Google Sheets or Excel. We’re still fine tuning things, but we wanted to get this out to you today in its Beta form so you can give it a try.

To try this out, just head over to the new Export section from the navigation menu. Once there, it’s as simple as choosing the weeks you’d like to export, and choosing the format of your export:

  • Projects Schedule View will list your projects, with a separate line for each person’s assigned hours for each week.
  • Team Schedule View will list each person on your team and a rollup of their assigned hours for each week.

forecast-exports

As you can see, exports are a fast way to get weekly summaries of your Forecast schedule. We hope these exports allow you the freedom to do more with your data!

If you have any questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at support@forecastapp.com.

A New Design for Expense Categories

There’s a section in Harvest that’s looking a little more dapper today. For all you admins out there who track expenses, head to Manage > Expense Categories for a peek at its brand new design.

new_expense_categories

Besides a more streamlined look (which we hope is also easier to focus on), we updated a few interactions:

  • Adding a unit price (like $1 per mile or $6 per puppy) is now enabled with a checkbox.
  • The Delete button now says Delete (it used to be a trash icon), and you can access it with one click.

What’s the point of this makeover? We’re laying the foundation for more functional improvements! Next up, the ability to archive expense categories, so you can start tidying up those categories you’re no longer using!

Polishing Projects

Since we released Projects a few months ago, we’ve made several small but important improvements. You may have noticed the start and end dates we added in April. But we didn’t stop there. Our team’s been hard at work polishing Projects to get it working its best.

The most significant update is to the Tasks and Team tables on the Project Analysis page. If you budget your project by task or team hours, that table used to look like this:

tasks-before

Some items might have a budget and some might not, which made the table hard to read. We updated the design to separate items with a budget from those without, making the information much easier to scan and understand:

tasks-after

While we were at it, we also made two other useful improvements to the tables:

  1. If you specify billable rates, Harvest can show you the budget’s progress in both time and money.
  2. We brought in some pretty bar charts to make it easier to visualize each budget’s progress.

Clearer Graph Tooltips

Some of you found the Project Progress graph’s tooltips confusing. That’s because the tooltip header displayed only the week you were looking at, as if the data you saw were for that one week only. However, each data point on the graph is a cumulative of all the hours up to that week. Still with me? These screenshots should clear things up:

budget-tooltip

Much better!

Improved Interaction for Editing Tasks or Team

In the past, if you removed a person or task from your project, Harvest would simply hide that item on the screen. We made that decision with good intentions, thinking that it would simplify the design. But there are two problems with hiding info that we didn’t consider.
First, if you removed a person or task from your project, the related budget would be hidden. That made the budget total at the bottom of the Edit Project table wrong. Second, the information on the Edit Project form wouldn’t match the Project Analysis page:

polish-4

That’s not good! We fixed this problem by updating the Project Edit form—it now shows the tasks or people that have been removed from your project:

polish-5

We hope these small polishes make your job easier when reviewing projects in Harvest!

A Better Uninvoiced Report and a Nod to Polishing

I often think of software improvements happening in leaps and bounds—major changes, obvious design upgrades, brand new features. Think Mavericks to Yosemite, Harvest’s own Projects upgrade, Dots to TwoDots (other fans out there, how do you get past level 58?!).

The truth is, though, we’re always polishing things up, moving toward better design and interaction. And those things often go unnoticed. And those things can be really useful!

One of the most handy undercover upgrades we made recently improves your Uninvoiced Report. Remember when that report showed you a long list of all projects, even if some of those projects were completely invoiced? Good news: You don’t have to do that anymore. Take a gander at this sly little filter:

uninvoiced_report_filter

Click it, and you’ll hide all projects that are fully invoiced. This filter changed my list of over 100 projects to a list of 5. Woot!

Polishes like this are usually quiet, without fanfare. Granted, some, like this one, require you to take an action to have effect, but others work under cover of subtlety. And I think that’s a strength. You may not notice a slight change in font size, the consistent use of a word, a second-faster load time. But a small change can have a big impact. In the long run, you’ll feel it. And it just feels…better.

Harvest for Android 2.0: Invoice Management & Push Notifications

Today we’re delighted to announce Harvest for Android 2.0, the most exciting version of Harvest for Android to date!

If you’re a long-time Harvest for Android user, you may have noticed some nice improvements over the past nine months. Time and expenses sync more quickly, navigation is snappier, a persistent notification lets you view and stop timers from outside the app, and stability is greatly improved.

We decided to call this version 2.0 because we feel Harvest for Android has turned a corner. Slowly but surely, the app has transformed into a better, faster (stronger!) tool, and it’s on a path to keep improving.

 

android_side_by_side_small

Invoice Management Away from Your Desk

Let’s talk about the new features first. The Android app always supported Timesheets and Expenses, but Invoices were another story. They just weren’t available on the Android app.

With Android 2.0, those days are past! After you upgrade, you’ll notice a new Invoices section in your navigation drawer. Simply tap into it, and behold your full list of open and closed invoices!

We call this feature Invoice Management, and we think it’ll be an especially useful upgrade for our on-the-go users.

Ever left the office and wondered if you forgot to send your draft invoice? Harvest for Android 2.0 has you covered. Just tap and send!

And what about payments? Now you can get a push notification whenever a client makes an online payment. Tap that notification, view the invoice, and send a thank-you all from your phone!

Notifications for Payment and Submitting Your Time

In addition to invoice payment notifications, you’ll also receive reminders to submit your time. We’re looking forward to expanding our use of push notifications in ways that make tracking your time easier, simpler, and more accurate.

Of course, as we add more notifications, you are fully in control of which ones you receive. You can select the type of notifications you want to receive at any time in the app’s Settings.

The Road to 2.0: Nine Months of Harvest for Android Updates

Up until now, we’ve been pretty quiet about the many improvements that we’ve rolled out over the past nine months. To help give you a better idea of why we view this as a major milestone for the Android app, I’d like to take a moment to recap all that’s been done:

  • In version 1.6, we brought you better timesheet navigation and awareness of locked time/expenses.
  • In version 1.7, we updated our time and expense entry forms, made project/task lists filterable, added the ability to view attached receipts, and gave you a way to create clients, projects, and tasks from within the app.
  • In version 1.8, we introduced support for timestamp mode for tracking time. We also added the ability to start, stop, and restart timers directly from the timesheet view, billable expenses, and the persistent notification for your currently running timer. 1.8 was also the first release that allowed you to submit your timesheets for approval.
  • In version 1.9, we optimized the app for Android 5.0 (Lollipop) before it was available from most providers. We also improved the signup process.
  • Today, in version 2.0, we’re bringing you invoice management and push notifications.

And we’re nowhere near done. Thanks to the solid foundation that’s been established in these past five releases, we have a lot of great stuff planned for the rest of 2015.

If you’ve been using Harvest for Android recently, we’d like to thank you for your support. If you tried it before and haven’t been back in a while, we encourage you to give this new version ago! And as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Just share your feedback in the comments, or get in touch with us at support@harvestapp.com.

Account Settings Gets a New Home

Today you might have noticed a slight change to the location of your Account Settings. Take a look at the top right of your Harvest account, and you’ll see Settings in its new home.

navigation_change_screenshot

This change is twofold:

  1. Account Settings is now called Company Settings (don’t worry, it’s just a name change—all the functions are the same).
  2. Company Settings is now right in your top navigation menu. One click and you’re there!

Why the change? That’s a two-fer too.

First, this refreshed design is in preparation for future updates. Behind the scenes, our team is working hard to make Harvest better. Part of those improvements involve easier navigation, and this update is the first step.

Second, we’ve heard a lot of feedback that our Company Settings were hard to find. We’re not a fan of hiding features, and by pulling Settings into the main navigation, they’ll be both easier and quicker to access.

We think this change will be a nice tweak for a lot of Harvest admins (don’t fret, all you project managers and regular users—this change won’t affect you). Got any questions? Let us know at support@harvestapp.com!