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Coming Soon to Forecast: Weekly Utilization

Update 12-5-2016: The Weekly heat map is back! This time we’re re-introducing it alongside the trusty Daily heat map.
Update 10-18-2016: While we originally rolled out this change earlier this week, after reviewing feedback from our customers we have decided to bring back the daily heat map to Forecast for now. While customers are excited about the new weekly utilization feature, it’s clear that customers have also found the daily heat map to be indispensable. We will be re-introducing weekly utilization, as a separate feature, in the near future.

From the beginning, Forecast was built to make it easy to schedule your team’s time across projects. It was purposely designed for you to quickly see your team’s availability from a high level, and help you make smarter decisions for your business.

A few months ago, we took an initial step towards making Forecast even better for higher-level planning by offering the ability to schedule in hours/week. Now we’re taking the next step: the Team Schedule will soon show each person’s utilization week-over-week.

weekly-heat-map

With this improvement, it’s even easier to visually see when your team has availability, who is over-booked, and when you can start on that exciting new project. We believe these questions are best answered at a high-level, and we’re building the solution right into Forecast’s schedule.

How Will This Work?

In Forecast, “Max Hours/Day” will be changing to “Capacity” (essentially max hours per week). This requires no work on your part, since we’ll make sure your team is pre-filled. And for those of you integrated with Harvest, we’ll also support Capacity in your Harvest account soon.

Then, as you assign your team across days, the heat map on the Team Schedule will total their hours across each week. Weeks will fill with green up to 100% capacity, and turn red when a person is over-booked (similar to how it works today). We also believe knowing when your team is going to be out is essential to planning. The heat map will still show days off in dark gray, as well as when assignments conflict with Time Off.

We’re excited to bring this week-over-week utilization report right into Forecast. It will be rolling out in the next few weeks. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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  • Hi Harvest,

    Forecast is a great tool, but it really needs to be integrated, its too cumbersome as it is and makes it difficult to manage. There are too many places where projects need to be updated & importing every project is painful, especially if you have 100 projects a month.

    regards, Brad

  • Thierry Brodard on September 13, 2016

    I agree with Brad: an ICS-feed would be really helpful, to read the planning from a standard calendar (Outlook, …)

  • an ICS feed would indeed be great. It would save me a lot of time when time planned in Forecast could be synced with calendars :)

  • Tina Hart Prieto on September 13, 2016

    I also agree this would be a great asset. Importing projects is a nightmare and then having to archive them in forecast even thought they are already archived in Harvest drives me mad and I end up with a stupid amount of projects in forecast as I don’t have time to do the same task twice in two different places, I wish they would talk more smoothly on this.

  • Exactly same feeling regarding archiving / importing, it’s annoying to say the least.

  • Arun Srinivasan on September 13, 2016

    @Brad @Tina @David:

    Our next big effort is going to be polishing the integration between Harvest and Forecast. We know that it’s less than ideal right now, and we’re going to work to make it as smooth and seamless as possible.

    @Thierry @Wijnand:

    Calendar integration is a feature request we hear from time to time, and I’ve added your comments to our list. We have nothing to announce about it at the moment, but it’s definitely on our radar.

  • Thierry Brodard on September 13, 2016

    @Arun

    Okay, many thanks for the feedback !

  • To be able to manage my team’s availability i would like to suggest the following feature: making it possible to manage a resource availability schedule for resources which are not full time available. For instance people who’re working from Monday until Thursday. There’s no way i can manage that properly at this moment. Solved it now by creating a project called “Off schedule”. But that’s more of a work around.

    • Arun Srinivasan on September 13, 2016

      @Patrick

      That’s hopefully one of the things the move to “weekly capacity” will help you out with.

      We won’t be dictating specific days of the week, but you’ll be able to say that a given person has a max capacity of 32 hours/week (assuming a full work week is 40 hours).

  • Would be great to see also how many hours/week remain available.
    So maybe you could add a switch button so I can see weekly utilization or weekly availability (e.g. 70% scheduled or 30% free)

  • This is a great step forward for reporting, an area Forecast falls a bit short of other products. Nice work.

    Will you still be able to see daily availability / capacity?

    When you just need to see who can fit in a 2 hour task, it’s great to be able to see a daily breakdown. Knowing the WEEK they can do the work is fine for high level planning, but without knowing the DAY it makes it harder to actually assign and manage work.

    Oh, and any plans to roll this up into some form of agency / team reporting?

    Thanks.

  • Arun Srinivasan on September 19, 2016

    @Marcin

    That’s an interesting idea. We’ll definitely take it into consideration.

    @Andy

    Assignments will still work exactly as they do now, so you’ll still be able to manage daily assignments on the schedule. The changes we describe here are primarily to the top level team view. When you expand a row for a given person, you’ll still get all the detail.

    And yes, this work is part of polishing up and improving reporting. We’re still working out exactly how we want to proceed, but it’s definitely an area of focus for us.

  • Sooo excited about this! Are you able to say how soon this improvement is coming? Is it a matter of days, weeks, or months from now until it’s released?

    • Arun Srinivasan on September 21, 2016

      @Hannah:

      Bigger than days, but smaller than months.

      So… weeks! I can’t safely get more precise than that, but we’re getting pretty close.

  • calendar integration is a must. i’m at the point i’m considering dropping harvest because I’ve to double book entries in our google calendars!

  • This is so true, i could not agree more how annoying it is.

  • How should I manage a project that I know it takes 7 hours/month but that the person can pick what days they work on it? That makes a huge difference in terms of availability on a day to day basis.

    • @Maria – You can make an assignment for a person from the first day of the month until the last day of the month and assign 7 to the Total Hours for the assignment. However, Forecast is still better built for day-to-day planning, so the assignment will still focus on the hours/day. We’re hoping to improve how Forecast handles higher-level planning, and this release of Weekly Utilization is one step closer to better handling what you describe, but on the weekly level.

  • I am looking for a project tool like this, but in our company we shift people around projects all the time. For me a decision making feature would be to drag people from one project to another in the time line.

    Also team members can work on multiple dates on projects, maybe not connected days but periods with several days in between. I know there is a possibility to split or repeat an assignment, but it would also be very helpful to for example press cmd + drag to copy an assignment to the next week.

    Let me know if this is already in your roadmap.

  • Alain Van Echelpoel on October 7, 2016

    Dear harvest team,
    Another great plus for Forecast would be to extend the forecast period to a full year….meaning that you can expand or collapse to the level of days/week over weeks/month and months/quarter all the way to quarters/year.
    Is this already possible or planned for future version?
    Best regards,
    Alain

  • @Stefan – Thanks for letting us know you’d like to see an easier way of reassigning a person from one project to another, as well as an easier way of copying assignments. I’ve added your thoughts to our feature request list.

    @Alain – It is possible to zoom out in the schedule, but this does not show an entire year. We tried to have zooming out preserve all the ability to assign a person across days. I’ve made a note about zooming out further, to see a full year, to our feature request list as well.

  • We’re just seeing this roll out on our production Forecast now. And unfortunately it’s a step backwards for us.

    The problem is we can no longer see availability per day, per user.

    We used to be able to see the time each person had free per day, so we could slot in an hour task here, or a 3 hour task there. That visibility is now gone.

    I can see the detail of each person’s assignments, but we now have to manually add up the time on their assignments to see if they have time free.

    Essentially, we rarely plan at the week level. We need to be able to plan (view capacity and assign tasks) at the hour/day level.

    I like what you’re trying to do, it’s a better view on capacity, but it actually makes our job of managing resources and assignments with Forecast harder.

  • I completely agree with Andy. Now it’s more challenging than ever to figure out if we’ve overbooked someone with projects for a single day.

  • I also agree with Andy, this view is nice but why not give the possibility to toggle view here. I need to know day by day as well as weeks.

    Also – plz ad calendar integration, if you do this the tool will be so much better!

  • Tina Hart Prieto on October 18, 2016

    Oh no I don’t like this, I need to schedule the team on a daily basis and it changes daily, I need to know how many hours per day are free per person. Can we revert I don’t want it like this, you have just made my job harder!!

  • Ozlem Williams on October 18, 2016

    Hi Harvest Team,
    With this weekly view, I cannot get the daily hours for every single developer, and I need to see how much time is left daily to shift their hours around regularly.
    Expanding the row does not help, as I need to calculate every single time how much time, does that person have, whereas in the old view I could see this immediately.
    Could you please help me to go back to the old view, as the weekly view does not help me at all?

    Thank you,
    Ozlem

  • I also agree with Andy – really hard to see who has availability when – weekly allocation is nice to see, but the bigger (critical) issue for us is day-to-day planning.

    Before we could just shuffle time as priorities changed – now we have to manually add up and subtract which is really painful – typically I just adapt to your changes but this is going to require significant additional changes/time investment!

  • Same here… This shows utilisation. I need availability…

    Kind regards,

    Wijnand

  • This sums it up perfectly: “This shows utilisation. I need availability”

  • Agree with Andy and John! We use it to plan the daily availibility. Is there a way to toggle the view in the settings?

  • Agree with all of comments, and like Lukas I wonder why not give the possibility to toggle view. Please give this possibility or step back for this update, quickly please !

  • Not sure if interesting to folk; but I’ve had an email that suggests there won’t be a toggle and this is here to stay :(

  • Agree with all of comments, please bring back the old version or let the possibility to switch with the old view ! Thanks.

  • Agree, please let us the possibility to switch, I need the availability view…

  • As this rolled out this week, I would like to know how I can see the old view. I need to see the hrs per day, not per week in percentages.

  • Add me to the list of people above. I (at least) have to be able to toggle this on and off. I must know at a glance who is over for a particular day. 100% utilization is great but not if all 40 hours are on Tuesday!

  • Agree with above. Would like to see this as an option. Also, calendar integration would make Forecast more useful. Ow, and read-only client access mode ?

    Thanks!

  • Hello,
    This is the same for me ! I don’t see any improving with this new view. Actually, it’s more difficult to me to see which person is available or not. As everyone has already said in here, isn’t it possible to offer the possibility to your user of switching between the old view and the new one ?

  • I agree with Andy from October 17, 2016 “We’re just seeing this roll out on our production Forecast now. And unfortunately it’s a step backwards for us. The problem is we can no longer see availability per day, per user. We used to be able to see the time each person had free per day, so we could slot in an hour task here, or a 3 hour task there. That visibility is now gone.”

    I now have people scheduled for 40h in one day showing as *green* in Forecast at the week level. This means Forecast is misleading me. Such overloading used to show as *red*, which was much more useful.

  • I totally agree with the above comments. This is a step BACKWARDS. We need to and much prefer to see hours than percentages – percentages mean nothing! Can you please just give us a switcher or just remove ASAP. There is no point using this if we can’t.

  • Shaun Robinson on October 19, 2016

    This feature has ruined Forecast for our team, as we need to be able to schedule number of hours per day, not per week. Now everything takes longer. Please switch it back!

  • ! also agree with Andy and Audrey!

    It takes me much more time now to plan. It’s not workable for me.

  • Agree.

    This does NOT look like an improvement!

    (we have 60 seats!)

    Someone who’s fully booked for 3days and off for 2 days is now displayed in light green with a 60% Utilization!
    – This suggests some kind of problem or inefficiency that is not there (since all the person’s working days are booked)
    – This makes me do all kinds of calculations to eventually find out that there is no problem.

  • By the way:

    I am also a seasoned Interaction Designer, I could give some pointers on how to solve this…

  • Where have the Harvest/Forecast staff gone?

  • Maybe the staff have all been sacked after realising what a non-thoughtout idea they had implemented!?

  • I’ve posted a survey so they can see popularity of each solution:

    It’s on my twitter account (ukjc) for anyone who wants to vote – it’s 2 clicks!

  • We just need to combine them. Show hours free like we use to. Then just show weekly utilisation % as a note. Even have a toggle switch in options to turn utilisation % off!

  • Hi,
    We work 4 days a week (we are off on Friday) and it would be great to have a global setting to tick which days of the week are working days.
    For now we managed to ignore the Fridays in Forecast, even if it made the usage a bit more complex. But with the weekly utilisation it becomes really complicated to get the right information as the calculation of the utilisation over 5 days is not correct for us.
    Thanks

  • Do you prefer the new Weekly Utilization or the old system of Daily Allocated Hours?

    The ‘Weekly Utilization’ survey is running and I’ve also posted live results on twitter (ukjc) – feel free to share your opinion.

    Low numbers so far, but a clear picture!

  • Fully agree with Geoffrey. The solution is to divide the weekly utilisation over the working days in a week. Those working days should be available to set per user, by ticking them on/off. On top of that one should be able to set the max. hours per working day.

    In the current situation someone who’s contracted 4 days per week will be having an availability of 6,4 hours per day. When you book him for 8 hours then on a day basis he will appear overbooked for 1,6 hours. But if the above solution would be implemented then one could book a resource for 8 hours per day (if the max. is set to 8 hrs/working day) without being overbooked, and after 4 days the max. utilisation of 32 hours would be reached.

    I suggest the Harvest team to have a good look at this solution, which is also being used by other products already. If the Harvest team would be able to implement this solution on short notice, then that would prevent that a lot of users will turn away from Harvest/Forecast looking for other products. Let me be clear about this…. Harvest/Forecast is a great product, but the latest upgrade was not a good one. It’s time for the Harvest to react to this topic on very short notice with a clear plan of approach, since a lot of people/companies are depending on it.

  • I just noticed one more mistake, which should be solved with the solution mentioned above. The project “Time Off” is not being subtracted from the utilisation percentage. For instance… if someone has 40 hours available in a week, and he’s being planned for 4 full days of 8 hours, and the remaining day is labelled as “Time Off”, then at this moment Forecast says that the resource is light green (80% utilised), underneath it says “32 hours (8 off)”. Those 8 off should also be calculated with, when calculating the utilisation

  • I pushed Forecast as a good solution for our company. I adviced against custom solutions, saying that modern-cloud-based solutions like Forecast (and 10.000 ft) are often much more user-friendly and reliable.

    As a result we now have over 90 seats!

    Now this has happened (Utilization-gate) and it makes me look bad!

    Please address this ASAP

  • Hi all,

    After reviewing feedback from our customers this week, we have decided to bring back the daily heat map to Forecast. While customers are excited about the new weekly utilization feature, it’s clear that customers have also found the daily heat map to be indispensable. We’re very sorry for interrupting your workflow. We are working to re-introduce the daily heat map within the next few days.

    We also believe that these two features can co-exist. The daily heat map is useful for scheduling while weekly utilization is great for analysis. We will be re-introducing weekly utilization, as a separate feature, in the near future.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback with us!

    Cheers,
    Matthew

  • Great decision!

  • I love that you are listening to your people :) I really like that. Good job!

  • Thank you for listening to all the feedback. You guys have released so many great updates to Harvest and Forecast, and this has been your only misstep.

    I would also encourage you to enrol everyone who commented here in some kind of beta program. These are some of your most loyal and engaged customers, getting their thoughts on new features and enhancements might be great for everyone. I know I’d be very happy to provide early feedback.

    Thanks again.

  • Great idea Andy!

  • Yes! Thank you for listening:)
    Now give us Calendar integration and we WILL send flowers.

    Love the idea with beta testers. Sign me up

  • Sooooo disappointed to lose the weekly view so quickly. I understand the rollback but at the same time the daily view has never been beneficial to me. Please bring it back soon!

  • John Reynolds on October 24, 2016

    It was said earlier … “This sums it up perfectly: “This shows utilisation. I need availability””

    Well, we have been waiting eagerly for the opposite as weekly allocation and utilisation has been our holy grail. Converse to all the other arguments for daily, we have to manually add up our daily totals to show weekly.

    Although I’m the only one who voted “yes” on Jon’s survey above, I would hope that the feature can come with a toggle for the utilization vs. availability view.

  • @Rob @John – No worries! The weekly utilization will surely return very soon. We simply underestimated some moving parts of this update, and the quickest process for us was just to revert the change for now. We are planning to bring utilization back as a toggle between daily/weekly to satisfy our customer’s differing needs. Considering most of the work for weekly utilization is done, we expect this to be out soon. Thanks for letting us know you want this feature!

  • We are interesting in filling both all available hours per day and knowing how many hours per week we need to fill. We have a person who has to manually track and email that out every week to the project managers. It would be helpful if the view was tracked in hours not % (doesn’t seem as valuable) and if it had an email alert to save a manual step.

  • I’m really looking forward to seeing the return of weekly utilisation. It’s a great help for users who work flexible hours, and so to some extent autonomously, I found it really cut down on the amount of schedule wrangling I have to do! However I do see the need for the daily view. Can’t wait for them to both be available!

    It would be good if it also let me know the percentage of time on a project I’m putting in so that I don’t have to keep reviewing it in Harvest (hours scheduled out of total project hours). Unless it already does this and I’m missing it?

    • @Sian – Weekly utilization will return soon! And yes, you’ll be able to toggle between daily and weekly heat maps. However, we do not plan on introducing time tracked into Forecast yet. We currently display estimates vs actuals for linked projects in Harvest. Thanks for letting us know this is something you’d like to see! I’ve added your thoughts to our feedback board.

  • Please bring back the weekly utilization view as soon as possible. It is great and a real added value for those who need to manage and need a macro view.

  • Hi there – can you give us an update on when you are planning to bring back the weekly utilization feature. Thank you very much!

  • The Weekly heat map is back! This time we’re re-introducing it alongside the trusty Daily heat map.

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