Harvest is nearly 5 years old and serving thousands of customers from over 100 countries. It’s great to be in this position, but with a large user base comes the responsibility of receiving many feature requests. Requests flow in via email, support requests, blog comments, Twitter, and often on our forum. How do we handle such a high volume of requests?

Two Buckets

We categorize requests into two buckets:

  1. Things we plan to work on.
  2. Things we don’t – requests we don’t hear of often, or suggestions that don’t fit our vision.

Feature requests that fall in the first bucket are tricky. We genuinely want to work on a lot of these features, but if something is not in our immediate plan, the best we can tell you is that “it’s on our list.”  Whether it’s through email or the forum, we can only say that so many times before we start to sound insincere.

Whatever the case, we ask each prospective customer to make their purchase decision based on what is available in Harvest today. We are constantly improving Harvest, but we simply cannot promise a timeline for new features. We do not make false promises.

What Are We Working On?

Frankly, I feel like an ass whenever I have to say “it’s on our list” to a customer. So what should we do? One thing we’d like to try is to make our first bucket public. Here’s a list of the 4 big things coming to Harvest in the upcoming months:

  • Reports 2.0 – we’ve done an extensive survey with our customers, and we’re overhauling our reports section based on the feedback. We’re breaking this down to many releases, and the first one will be public by March 8th.
  • The ability to change the start of the week on a timesheet.
  • Better control of user permissions.
  • Invoice customization.

These are, by far, the most highly demanded features from our customers, and we want to get them done.

Kaizen & The Team

Another thing we’d like to make known is that the “list” we refer to is real:

We built our own custom project management application called Kaizen, in which we record every single suggestion that comes in. We save your email address to the request – and once it’s ready, we email you. To the astute observer, you can see that some of the most popular requests are not shown in the screenshot. These requests have already been turned into actual projects.

Oh, and by “we,” I mean every member of the Harvest team. Christopher takes care of the bulk of the incoming tickets, but we all answer support emails and questions on the forum. Your requests are answered and handled by the same people who design and build the application.

Fast & Agile

Today, Harvest has a total of 13 people (we hope to grow that to 18 before Summer). Danny and I cannot be more proud of our small, but nimble, agile and extremely capable team. We execute much faster than traditional desktop applications – have you tried asking QuickBooks or Photoshop for a new feature or to fix a bug? We also release features and updates much more often than our peers – we average about at least one big feature per month, with many smaller updates and improvements deployed throughout the week. What we can do better is to make these updates known to our customers. But really, would you rather we spend our time improving the product, or devote our energy to writing blogs and books?

On that note, I’ll end this blog post and get back to work.