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Posts by Calina Madden:

Permissions Update: Releasing Team to Project Managers

Update 11-10-2016: Since we published this blog post, we’ve heard significant feedback that expanding project manager permissions in Team has the potential to expose sensitive information many of our customers need to continue to restrict. We’re currently reconsidering our permissions change, and will update this blog post as soon as we have more news. In the meantime, only administrators have access to Team, and our permissions remain unchanged.

Our new Team section has been live for a few weeks. So far, only administrators have been able to see it.

This means project managers are missing out on useful Team info—like the quick and easy glimpse at who’s working on what, when, and how much.

Soon, project managers won’t have to miss out anymore! Within the next couple of weeks, we’ll open Team to project managers.

Permissions Change

When we release Team to project managers, they’ll be able to see some time-related info they currently can’t. Here’re the details.

What will project managers see in their Team section?

Project managers will be able to see this info in their Team section:

  • All the people on projects they manage.
  • All the time tracked by these people (including time on projects the PM does not manage).

What will project managers NOT see in their Team section?

  • Project managers will not see any billable rates or cost rates in Team.
  • They will not see any money-related information in Team, like fee-based budgets, billable amounts, or invoiced amounts.
  • They will not see a person who is not on a project they manage.
  • They will not be able to edit time entries for other people.
  • They will not be able to add, edit, archive, or delete anybody.
  • They will not see anyone’s profile page (it looks like this, and contains the person’s name, email, rates, etc).

A side note: if your project managers can currently see rates, invoices, or fee-based budgets in other parts of Harvest, they’ll still be able to.

How does this differ from what project managers see today?

Currently, project managers can see only time tracked to projects they manage.

For example, T.J. may have worked 1 hour on my project and 60 hours on another manager’s project. I won’t see those 60 hours, because they’re for a project I don’t manage.

With this upcoming change, project managers will be able see the full timesheet for people on projects they manage. This means a PM may see time tracked to projects they don’t manage. But, they’ll only see this time if it’s been tracked by a person on a project they do manage.

Why the change?

We think it’s important for a project manager to get the full story about their team’s work. Take the above example, where T.J. worked 1 hour on my project and 60 on another manager’s project.

Previously, I wouldn’t know that T.J. worked a 61-hour week. And I’d be stumped as to why my project wasn’t done, or maybe frustrated at T.J.’s lack of motivation.

But in reality, maybe T.J. just tracked time to the wrong project! Or, maybe he really is spread too thin and is stressed about his workload. The problem might not be with his work, but with scheduling—which is beyond his control!

Our permissions changes should make these problems obvious and easy to catch. Your team’s time will be more accurate, and you’ll have a better picture of their day-to-day. We think this kind of transparency is going to be hugely beneficial to understanding your team’s work, and catching those time tracking mistakes.

Get in Touch

We believe this upcoming permissions change will make Harvest all the more useful for all you project managers out there! We’ll release this change within a few weeks, to give some time to prepare for it.

If you think this change is going to be problematic for you, or you have any questions, please let us know!

Team Is Here!

team graphs

This week, we begin rolling out our new Team section!

Since our last announcement, we’ve been putting the finishing touches on our work. And we can’t wait for you to see it! A few things up front:

  • You don’t need to do anything to get Team. It’ll simply show up in your main navigation within the next few days.
  • Team replaces the People section, under Manage. You’ll have all the same features you’re used to, plus more.
  • Team is only visible to administrators for now.

Why Team?

As we launch, we wanted to give you some insight into why we built Team. There’s an age-old question in time tracking: How do I know my team is tracking, and how do I know they tracked accurately?

Two things need to happen to answer this question.

First, it needs to be easy for your team to enter time. Harvest has a lot of features to help with that: timesheet reminders, Android and iPhone apps, desktop apps, and integrations galore.

But secondly, it should be easy to review timesheets, so you can ensure tracking is happening. And it should be breezy to edit those timesheets, so you can fix mistakes.

Team Has the Answers

This second point is where Harvest used to fall short:

  • It was cumbersome to see who wasn’t tracking time.
  • There wasn’t a clear way to understand if the time your team tracked was enough, too little, or too much.
  • And lastly, editing a teammate’s time could be time consuming!

With Team, you’ll have answers! In your new Team section:

  • You’ll see at a glance who is and isn’t tracking time for the week. This makes it simple to ensure your team’s putting in their hours.
  • You’ll be able to track capacity! That’s the total hours per week a person is available to work. This is key to understanding if someone is tracking enough time or too much (and are in danger of burning out!). Forecast users, you should be familiar with capacity already. We’ll sync your capacity between Forecast and Harvest!
  • And, you can edit a person’s time in the same place where you review it. This’ll make correcting mistakes a snap!

What We’re Excited About

The first time you go to Team, you’ll see an introduction to get acquainted with the new features I mentioned above—capacity and in-line editing.

So for this blog post, I wanted to share how Team has changed my own Harvest experience while managing some of our recent projects. I’ve been using Team internally for the past few weeks, and one of my favorite features is the ability to see who’s over capacity.

capacity overview

While we worked on Team, I noticed the over-capacity graph pop up for our front-end developer, Pez. And it was enough to prompt me to check in with him, just to make sure he wasn’t overwhelmed. Turns out he was fine! But this check-in was something I wouldn’t have easily known to do before. The change in Harvest is small, but the benefit to our team feels really good.

I also love the project breakdown on each person’s page. During our recent Invoices work, these project breakdowns helped me understand what else our developers had on their plates. And knowing this gave me a deeper understanding of their workload (or a clue that they might have been tracking to the wrong project!).

Project breakdown

To the Future

There’s so much we’re excited about, but for now we’ll let Team speak for itself.

We’re also thinking ahead. A few things we’ve been considering for the future: how to filter your team, a tighter integration with Forecast, and how best to share Team with project managers.

For now, we hope you enjoy Team and all it has to offer today! And as always, we’ll be on hand to help you with the transition. If you have any questions or feedback, just get in touch!

Team: A New Section Coming Soon

harvest-team-section

Get ready, in the coming weeks we’re releasing a new section in Harvest called Team!

Why the change? We heard from a lot of you that it’s difficult to keep track of your team’s time. There were some burning questions that Harvest just wasn’t great at answering quickly:

  • How do I make sure my team’s putting in time, and that their time is accurate?
  • How do I answer basic questions about my team? For example, did my team track enough time? Or, who’s working way too much and in danger of burning out?

Team will offer some insight. We imagine it as the place you’ll go to review and edit your team’s time, easily see who is and isn’t tracking, and better understand the details of their hours.

Team will also replace your Manage > People section. You’ll still be able to do everything you currently can. We’re simply combining those old administrative features with some more useful and robust reporting to help you better understand your team’s time. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on!

We’ll slowly release Team to all Harvest accounts in the coming weeks, and you don’t have to do anything to get it. When we release, you’ll simply see Team in your main navigation. And, we’ll be sure you have all the info you need to use and understand your new section.

If you have any questions until then, the best place to chat with us is by email. Just get in touch!

Topping Off Invoices with a New Graph and Summary Numbers

When we set out improving Invoices Overview, we had a vision of love. Okay, maybe not love. Fall’s just making me reminiscent for 1990s Mariah Carey. But we had a vision, it was pretty lovable, and it was called graphs.

Our vision grew out of a few basic desires.

  • First, we want you to be able to understand the overall story of your invoices at a glance, so you don’t have to run quite as many reports.
  • Second, we know comparing month-to-month activity is useful to understand progress and invoicing trends, and want to offer easy access to this info.
  • And third, we want to offer a visual way to analyze your invoicing data.

Over the next few days, we’ll release the results of that vision: a visual invoice summary at the top of Overview, including a new graph and two summary numbers. Currently, the graph shows the present year, and we’re working on support for other years as well.

overview-graph

The graph itself will show you the invoices you issued in specific months. If you hover over a month’s bar, we’ll show you some details of the invoices issued in that month: you’ll see how much has been paid and how much remains open.

overview-graph-tooltip

 

We also show you two summary numbers:

  • The total open amount. This includes all unpaid invoices for all time, a great way to know what you need to track down.
  • The total paid amount for invoices issued this year. A simple way to see how much money you’ve brought in for invoices issued since the year began.

overview-numbers

Feel free to let us know your thoughts! We hope you find this new graph useful!

Editor’s Note: Changes were made to this post after it was released, to reflect updates made to the invoice summary graph. The graph’s open amounts now exclude written-off invoices, which is reflected in the monthly bars and the graph’s tooltips. 

Two Improvements to the New Invoices Overview

The new Invoices Overview has been out in the wild for about a month. Since its release, we’ve gotten great feedback that the new filters and search are pretty darn useful! We’re not the type to be easily satisfied, though, and we’ve been hard at work on some improvements.

First, we’ve added a Paid On column to your All Invoices tab. And, it’s sortable. Just head to your All Invoices tab, click the Paid On column, and you’ll be able to see invoices sorted by payment date. This’ll make catching up on your recently paid invoices much easier, and you’ll be able to work more smoothly when recording payments or sending thank-yous.

paid_on_column

Second, we made two updates to the way retainer invoices are displayed in Overview. The problem was that retainer deposits aren’t usually considered revenue, so we needed a way to separate these retainer invoices from your overall total. That way, you’d have more accurate numbers to understand your income.

If you have retainers in your account today, we now show you two separate totals: one that includes standard invoices and invoices that draw from retainers (this is usually revenue), and a second total for retainer deposits (this is usually not revenue).

retainer_totals

Also, we now visually distinguish retainer invoices in your table, so you can easily track them down. Check it out:

retainer_label

We’re continuing work on this section, so stay tuned for more improvements coming your way!

Introducing the New Invoices Overview

Two weeks ago we gave you the heads up about a new Invoices Overview. Today, we’ll start releasing that Overview—you’ll see it in your account soon!

For this first phase of our update, we had one primary goal: offer ways to more easily access the invoices you need, all in one place. You’ll notice an improved the design, but more importantly, we’ve added ways to search by ID, filter by client and timeframe, and manage your invoices without ever having to leave Overview. Get acquainted with the new view with this quick and handy intro:

First, you’ll notice that Overview’s design has been refreshed. In addition to being easier to scan, the new design is now home to two tabs: Open and All Invoices. We think of the Open tab as your invoice inbox. It’s a quick stop to view all your most important invoices, the ones that need action to get paid.

invoices_open_tab

What if you want to see all invoices, or invoices for a specific client or timeframe? Hop over to the new All Invoices tab. This is where you’ll find the new client filter, so you can see just the invoices for a specific client.

client_filter

Interested in how much a client owes or paid you? Use the status filter in the top left of the All tab to view just open, closed, late, sent, or draft invoices. And if you need to see invoices issued during a certain timeframe—like this fiscal year—just use the new timeframe filter to get just what you need.

status_and_timeframe_filters

Finally, we also added the ability to search by invoice ID. Let’s say a client’s emailing you about a specific invoice, or you just received a payment you need to record. Head over to search, type in the ID, click, and you’ll be brought straight to the invoice page for fast access.

invoice_search

We hope these improvements make it easier and faster for you to track down the invoices you need! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be releasing a few other features as well, like handy visualizations so you can better understand your income at a glance. Stay tuned!

If you have any feedback, let us know in the comments. Or, write to us at support@harvestapp.com—you’ll be in touch directly with the team working on this change, so questions or feedback are always welcome there!

A New Invoices Overview Is Headed Your Way

invoices_overview

Some invoice improvements are coming your way! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be releasing a new Invoices Overview.

What’s that mean? Soon, when you head to Invoices > Overview, you’ll see a new design, as well as a few new handy features. Other sections in the Invoices tab—like Report, Recurring, and Retainers—will stay the same. And never fear: all of your existing data will remain safe and sound.

Why the change? Simply put, Invoices Overview was old. We wanted its design to match newer parts of Harvest, like Projects. And more importantly, we needed to clean up this section so we could improve existing features as well as add new ones.

Speaking of new features, we’re adding search! When we release the new Overview, you’ll be able to search by invoice ID, so you can track down any invoice in seconds. Check it out:

invoice_search

You should see these updates in your account soon! We’ll also have another blog post closer to release to introduce you to all the sparkly new features. And in the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, just let us know in the comments or send us a note!

Update: We’ve gotten a lot of comments requesting ways to find invoices by client, and we wanted to let you know that feature is already included in this update! You’ll find filtering by client under a new All Invoices tab when the new Overview is released.

Update, August 31, 2015: The new Invoices Overview that this blog post announced is now live! You can see more here.

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.

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! 

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!