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Posts by Curran Boomer:

One Is the Loneliest Number

How PMs who work alone can get feedback from peers

 

The second installment in our series of interviews with project managers brings us to London for a conversation with Holly Davis, an agile project manager at Deeson. She has worked as a PM at White October and has served as a contributor at Every Day DPM. She addresses a problem confronted by many PMs: how to get feedback on your work and grow in your job if you’re the only project manager at your company.

Tell us a little about your role and the work you’ve been part of. What are you most proud of?

I work at Deeson, one of the UK’s longest-established open source agencies. We build innovative, stable, and effective digital properties for a range of high-profile companies and organizations.

My role as an agile project manager involves providing high-level, agile-style leadership to the development team, managing the working environment in which the solution is evolving, and coordinating all aspects of project management at a high level.

In terms of work I’m really proud of, in my previous role at White October I was part of the team that designed and developed Let’s Talk FGM, an iPad app that helps health professionals talk to patients about female genital mutilation. We had a small budget but designed and developed a brilliant tool for social good which even won a London Design Award at the end of last year. It’s hugely rewarding to build something that has the ability to change lives. Continue reading…

Add Expense Reports to Invoices, Automatically


We know you aren’t tracking time for the fun of it. You want critical insight into your projects and the ability to invoice your clients. That’s why Harvest makes it easy to pull the time you track into professional online invoices. But when it comes to invoicing, time is only half the equation. You also need the ability to invoice for any expenses you incur.

That’s where Harvest’s expense tracking comes in. You can record expenses right alongside your time. (If you’ve never checked it out, head to Timesheets > Expenses to give it a spin. Just make sure the Expense Tracking module is turned on under Settings.) The Harvest mobile apps make tracking your expenses as easy as taking a picture. Snap a picture of your receipt, enter the details, and boom—you’re done.

While Harvest has always made it easy to record expenses, there hasn’t always been an easy way to make sure those expenses were transparent to your client. Our latest update changes that.

A picture (of your receipt) is worth a thousand words

Now with the tick of a checkbox you can seamlessly attach an expense report, including pictures of your receipts, to an invoice.

When you create a new invoice, you’ll notice the Expenses section now includes an option to attach your receipts. All you have to do is check that box and voilà, an attachment will appear on your saved invoice that includes all your expense details and images of your receipts.

We think you’ll love this change for a couple reasons:

  • It saves time and takes the manual work out of attaching an expense report.
  • It allows you to see exactly which expenses are associated with an invoice.
  • It promotes transparency with your clients by letting them see the actual receipts you’re invoicing for.

That’s not all, folks

There are a couple more advanced features that should please veteran invoicers. For example, if you forget to check the box while you’re creating your invoice, you can still attach the expense report to a saved invoice.

And what if a team member forgets to attach receipts to their tracked expenses? You could wind up with an expense report without any receipt images. But don’t worry! Just edit those entries and attach the receipts. Then, head back to your invoice, remove the first expense report, and attach a new one. The receipt images will automatically show up in the new report.

To see this feature in action, check out the video above. We hope you’ll give it a try the next time you create an invoice in Harvest. And, as always, if you have any questions, you can drop us a line.

What’s in a Name?

One producer wrestles with the ambiguity of her title.

All sorts of people use Harvest to track their time, but we know Harvest holds a special place in the heart of many project managers. We’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of these PMs and hear about the unique challenges of a job that doesn’t often get a lot of attention. So, we created a column on our blog for PMs to share their biggest challenges and inspire each other with creative ways to tackle them.

Our first contributor is Grace Steite Masri, a senior producer at Your Majesty who has previously worked at Big Spaceship.

grace-steite-masri-min Grace, center, with the Your Majesty team at their Swedish Midsummer celebration.

Tell us a little about your company.

Your Majesty is a digital agency based in Manhattan. Our work is primarily geared toward web design and development, but includes everything from branding and advertising to experiential work. Continue reading…

Focusing Your Sales Efforts with Time Tracking and Team Scheduling

Time tracking and team scheduling are two familiar tricks of the trade for project managers and business owners, who rely on them to keep projects on track and keep tabs on the health of the business.

But these tools can also provide a wealth of useful information to account executives and business development managers responsible for winning new business. Here are six ways you can use time tracking and team scheduling to make your sales process even better:

1. Define your ideal client

When your business was first getting off the ground, you probably worked with whoever would hire you as a matter of necessity. But as your business grows, you can afford to adopt a more long-term outlook that may involve turning away some potential clients. Continue reading…

Harvest for QBO: Control If Payments Copy Over

We realize everyone’s workflow might be a bit different, which is why we’ve added some long-overdue flexibility to our QuickBooks Online integration. You can now control if your Harvest invoice payments get copied to QuickBooks Online. If you manage your payment process in QBO, this means you won’t have to worry about duplicate payments getting copied to QBO anymore!

Administrators can configure this setting by going to Settings in the upper-right corner and scrolling down to the Integrations section. Click Edit Settings next to QuickBooks Online. You’ll see that you can turn copying payments on/off:

harvest-quickbooks-online-integration

Additionally, we made another small update to the integration. If an email reminder gets sent out for a Harvest invoice, that invoice will no longer automatically recopy to QBO. Invoices that have been copied to QBO will only recopy if you go to More Actions > Copy to QuickBooks Online, or if you receive a payment on the invoice.

You can learn more about our Harvest for QuickBooks Online integration here. If you have any questions or feedback, get in touch with us.

Parting Ways with Difficult Clients (Using Data)

Letting go of clients is a painful decision. You become invested in their business and want them to succeed. But sometimes the economics of a client relationship just don’t work out.

At the end of the day, every business needs to turn a profit. If you discover you’re losing money on a client, it may be time to part ways. But how do you figure this out? Your intuition might be telling you a client isn’t working out, but you need data to be 100 percent sure.

This is the position Shareef Defrawi, president and founder of Bonafide, a Houston-based digital marketing agency, found himself in when he decided to take his business in a new direction. Bonafide began life as an SEO agency, but as the digital space evolved, Shareef realized he could better serve his clients by embracing a more holistic marketing strategy. This new approach drove considerably more value—but at a higher price. Continue reading…

Using the Harvest API for Radical Transparency with Clients

The beauty of Harvest is that it brings time tracking to life. All the data you collect through your timesheets gets pulled into graphs and reports that give you insight into your business. For the tech savvy, the Harvest API unlocks even more possibilities for making use of your data. In this guest post Zbigniew Sobiecki, CEO of Macoscope, shares how his company has taken advantage of the Harvest API to fit time tracking into their workflow.

Our work as a software house is governed largely by agile methodology. Part of this involves charging clients by the hour (as opposed to fixed-price projects) so they only pay for the time we actually spend working on their project. Such an approach makes Harvest the single most important data source in our whole organization.

What Exactly Does Harvest Do for Our Company?

First of all, each member of our development team should spend 6.5 hours a day working on client projects. Harvest helps us monitor their current workload and quickly notice when someone is working too much. Believe it or not, it can be a real lifesaver! Each developer on our staff is obliged to responsibly track their time every single day, so they aren’t relying on their spotty memories when trying to fill out timesheets a couple days later.

Continue reading…

How an Agency Used Forecast to Improve Resource Scheduling

Forecast makes it easy to schedule your team on multiple projects and plan out what you’re working on over the next few months. But it’s much more than a visual team calendar. It provides you with the insight to answer critical questions about your business: What is the team working on right now? Who’s under water? Do you have the capacity to take on new work? How secure is the future of the business?

In this post, Holly Davis, a project manager at White October, describes how her digital agency implemented Forecast and used it to help manage their business.

Resourcing for a growing agency is a big challenge. Things change from minute to minute and everyone has different information they need access to:

  • The whole team needs to know what they’re supposed to be working on.
  • Project managers need to ensure that resourcing forecasts mirror the needs of their upcoming project work.
  • Account managers need long-term forecasting so they know what new business they should pursue.

A year ago we were struggling to fulfill these needs, mainly due to the fact that we had little confidence that the data we were putting in was an accurate reflection of ‘reality.’

One of our project managers, Sarah Clarke, decided to take on the challenge of improving resourcing at White October. She chose Harvest Forecast, integrated with our main Harvest account, as the management tool.

Continue reading…

How a Digital Agency Used Harvest to Re-Examine Its Business

In this guest post we learn how Shareef Defrawi, President and Founder of digital marketing agency Bonafide, used data gleaned from Harvest to make three vital improvements to his business. 

I resisted time tracking for a long time—way longer than I should have as an agency owner. I had a checklist of fears in my head: Wouldn’t time tracking impede creativity? Wouldn’t it come across as a little 1984—“Big Brother is watching you?” And wouldn’t monitoring time actually take time, maybe more than it saved?

Then there’s the comfort of the status quo: business is good, our clients are happy. What can time tracking possibly contribute when things are already running smoothly?

The answer, as it turns out, is quite a bit.

Continue reading…

Using Harvest to Automate Tasks & Improve Work Happiness

Here at Harvest we’re always interested in hearing how customers use our software. A few weeks ago Stephen Thomas gave a talk at the Digital PM Summit that mentioned Harvest as a way to help bring some creativity, flexibility, and innovation to your projects and work life. He’s been kind enough to share his tips and insights with the Harvest community.

How long before the robots attack?

While getting drinks one Friday after work, some friends and I got round to discussing whether it would be such a bad thing if robots took over the world. We didn’t come up with any answers, but the discussion did leave an impression on me. It got me wondering whether my job as a project manager at White October could eventually be fully automated.

I wanted to go a bit deeper than just speculation and really try to find out whether a robot could do my job. To do this I needed to understand what it was I actually did every day and whether any of these tasks could be automated or at the very least delegated. Laboriously logging all this information felt like it would be a step too far for such an idle fancy until I realized that I was already doing this very thing as part of my job.

Timesheets are often seen as a chore, a necessity for agencies, freelancers, and professionals, something we have to do in order to get paid but not a part of our job in which we enthusiastically engage.

However, timesheets give you a minute-by-minute account of your day. There is so much potentially rich metadata and knowledge that we overlook, focussing instead on what we bill. Timesheets can give us insight into what we do.

Continue reading…