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Posts by Calina Madden:

Power Up Your Project Knowledge by Budgeting in Fees per Task

Have you been using Harvest’s new budgets for fixed fee projects? If so, you might’ve run into an interesting problem. A project can come under its total budget, but how do you know exactly what happened beneath that total number? How do you pinpoint where your team’s kicking butt, or going off track? Or where should you rethink expectations for future projects?

Those questions can be hard to answer if you’re setting just one general budget for every project. But we’ve just released a bit of x-ray vision into exactly what’s going on: the Fees per Task budget.

What’s Beneath the Surface of Your Budgets?

Check it out: this under-budget project looks healthy, and probably made a profit.

 

But is this project really as on-track as it appears? What if:

  • One task took 10 times longer than you expected. Egad!
  • Another task took up $200 worth of time, instead of the $2000 you expected. Nice, but something’s off.
  • Someone tracked $500 worth of time to a task you didn’t expect to work on for several more weeks.

If you look at just the overall budget, you might never know these things were happening. And you wouldn’t have the info to know how to improve (or whom to high-five), how to better budget your next project, or where to focus your project management energy.

Continue reading…

New Roles Get You Faster Access to Team-Specific Reports

A few weeks ago, we announced a forthcoming feature: roles. Today, we’re beginning to roll out this new feature, so you should see it in your account within the next few days! That means you’ll be just a few clicks away from reports that can answer questions like:

  • Do I need to hire another person to help my design team?
  • Did my remote team track time this week?
  • Which team is most billable, most overworked, or consistently under capacity?

What’s a Role?

Roles are descriptors for your teammates, which let you associate a person with their responsibility or position at your company. You can create any role to help identify your teammates—like Designer, Sales, Manager, NYC Office, etc. And you’ll be able to apply any role to anyone on your team.

Harvest roles on a person's profile

The Power of Roles

Don’t let the simple setup of roles fool you. A role’s real power is in your Team report.

In the past, your Team Overview was just a list of everyone on your team. If you work with more than a handful of people, that list was unwieldy. What if you just wanted to report on a specific group?

Continue reading…

New Fixed Fee Budgets Show If You’re On Track or Billing Enough

We were excited to kick off the summer with the release of our new Fixed Fee feature. But one problem’s been bugging us all summer long. After you set up your fixed fee project, how do you know if it’s on track, or if you charged enough?

Answering those questions isn’t easy. Your fixed fee project might be wildly profitable or leaking thousands of dollars. Maybe your team’s working too much (and potentially out of scope), or working too little (and in danger of missing milestones). There simply isn’t a straightforward way to know this info in Harvest.

Today that’s changing! We just released budgets for fixed fee projects, so you can keep things on track.

Now if you create or edit any fixed fee project, you’ll see two ways to budget: in fees or in hours. And depending on which budget method you choose, Harvest will surface different kinds of useful info.

Continue reading…

Coming Soon: Organize Your Team by Role

Have you ever gone to your Team section and asked yourself, “How do I get this report to show me just the people I’m most interested in?” Maybe you want to know how billable your designers are, what your developers are working on, or which team might be overworked.

Good question, and good news. We’re working on a feature that’ll allow you to get answers quickly, and it’s called Roles.

Roles are descriptors for your teammates, and allow you to specify what role each person plays in your company: Designer, Manager, Copywriter, etc. When we launch in a few weeks, we’ll share more details about how we envision these roles being used.

Today, however, we want to tell you about some important changes we’re making to support roles, so you know what to expect.

Continue reading…

New Features You May Have Missed

The past month flew by quickly with the release of our new fixed fee projects. So we wanted to pause to highlight some new summer releases that you might have missed! (And if you haven’t skimmed our blog recently, here are last month’s mini updates too.)

Delete Projects with Tracked Data

Until now, Harvest wouldn’t let you delete projects with tracked time or expenses. That may have been too overprotective. Sometimes you just want to delete dummy projects, or get rid of old data. Now that’s as easy as typing YOLO.

Delete project modal

Save Time When Checking on an Invoice

Now when you search for an invoice, you’ll see your invoice’s status (paid, sent, etc) right in the search menu. This means you don’t have to waste time clicking into the invoice to check if you sent it, or if your client paid. Just search the ID, and you’ll see the status immediately.  Continue reading…

Introducing Fixed Fee Projects

Get ready, today we’re introducing support for fixed fee projects!

We’re rolling out these features gradually, so administrators and project managers, you can expect to see some changes to your account within the next few weeks.

What Is a Fixed Fee Project?

A fixed fee project is any scope of work that you bill at a set price, no matter how long it takes to complete. You may also call these projects flat rate, fixed price, or flat contract.

What’s New?

Harvest has always been great for tracking projects that bill hourly. Our project settings, reports, and invoices are built around these kinds of time and materials projects.

But until now, there just hasn’t been a clear way to track a fixed fee project. Today, we’re introducing three features to better support those fixed fees.

1. Setting Up a Fixed Fee Project

When you create a project, you can now choose if that project is time and materials, fixed fee, or non-billable.

fixed fee project type selector

2. Invoicing a Fixed Fee Project

If you invoice for a fixed fee project from its Analysis page, we’ll automatically pull in your uninvoiced fees. (Previously, we would pull in hours and hourly rates—yikes!).

fixed fee invoice

3. Reporting on a Fixed Fee Project

The Uninvoiced Amount for your fixed fee projects will now be accurate. Previously, it was based on hourly rates. Now, we’ll calculate it by taking your total project fees, and subtracting any invoiced amount.

uninvoiced amount report for fixed fee project

What Happens to My Existing Projects?

When you get access to these new features, all your projects will default to the Time and Materials project type.

But don’t worry, this is simply a label! All your project settings, reports, and invoices will remain unchanged. In fact, you may not even notice any changes to your account.

If you want to change the project’s type, all you need to do is edit the project. Otherwise, you don’t need to do a thing!

You can read more detail about how our new features will affect your account here.

What to Expect Going Forward

We’re happy to introduce these first steps to help track fixed fee projects more accurately and obviously. But we also know some additional features could make these projects even more useful.

There are a few features we’ve purposefully left out so that we could start simply. Over the next few months, however, you can expect us to keep improving fixed fee support.

A Note on the Past, Looking to the Future

If you’ve been with Harvest for a while, you might know that we’ve wanted to support fixed fee projects for…well, a long time. It’s been a winding path getting us to this blog post.

On that path here, we’ve knocked out some blockers—like a new Projects section, and the ability to link a project to an invoice. We released a preliminary set of fixed fee features to a group of beta users, whose generous feedback helped us learn how these projects work. And there have been a few paths we’ve gone down, only to turn around and start again.

That’s why we’re all the happier to be able to bring these features to you today. It’s a start of something we think will lead to a more useful, more powerful Harvest.

If you have any questions, or want to share your ideas to make fixed fee projects better, just let us know!

Hey Harvest, What’ve You Been Up To?

It’s been quiet here on the Harvest blog. Perhaps a bit too quiet…

The thing is, we’ve been heads down on a few big features. You’ll hear more about those later this year.

But every day, we also push out small updates that fly under the radar. This post will cover a few of those features, so you don’t miss out!

Archive People Faster

Our new Team section has been a hit. But unfortunately, archiving someone could take up to five clicks!

We didn’t like that, especially since archiving helps save money. If a contractor completes their work or a teammate moves on, just archive them. Then you can update your Settings to save a few bucks.

Now archiving in the Team section is quicker. Just click a person’s name, then choose Archive from their new Actions menu. Plus, we refreshed your list of Archived Users, so you can restore with just one click.

archive menu

Continue reading…

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!