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Posts by Danny Wen:

In the Field: How ‘Discernment’ Allows Anchour to Do Great Work for Its Clients

Part of our company mission is to help people work smarter—and that doesn’t stop with our products. We believe we can all benefit from sharing the collective wisdom of our community. That’s why we’ve created this column called In the Field.

In it we’ll feature interviews with Harvest customers, unpacking how they work, how their teams are organized, and what makes them unique. Hopefully it will allow you an opportunity to peer inside someone else’s company and provide some insights that you can take back to your own work.

For our first In the Field column we head to Lewiston, Maine to chat with Anchour, a branding, design, and web development firm. Managing Director Stephen Gilbert talks to us about how he got his start, how the Anchour team works together, and how the element of ‘discernment’ allows them to deliver quality work for their clients.

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Four Ways To Work Faster in Forecast

Harvest Forecast was created with three founding principles: be visual, be frictionless, and be central to you and your team. Today, we’re proud to announce major updates which make Forecast even more frictionless to use. We know the continuous sculpting, shaping, and hammering of your team’s schedule is no small task, and now you have a few more tools to help you get the job done faster.

Here are four big power-ups to know about:

Recurring assignments? Repeat them with ease.

You need Jason assigned to a project for 4 hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the next 5 weeks? What used to be a tedious series of steps is now one simple process: just specify how many weeks you need an assignment to repeat when you create it, and Forecast will do the rest. Easy and effortless.

repeat assignments

Project delayed? Shift everything forward.

You’ve just finished a meticulous project plan when you receive news from your client: the project is delayed by 2 weeks. This used to mean lots of manual clicking and dragging to shift things around, but with the new Shift Timeline feature, it’s now one simple action. Fast and graceful. You’ll find this option in the Actions menu for a project.

shift project timeline

Multiple people working on the same project? Copy assignments.

You know Jack, Joe, and Jason are going to be assigned to the same upcoming project for the same amount of time. Rather than manually creating three assignments, it’s a breeze to copy assignments to other team members. You’ll find this option in the Actions menu for an assignment.

copy assignments

Need to switch things up? Reassign assignments.

You’ve scheduled Joe to a certain project, but something’s come up and you need Jason to work those hours. You can now easily reassign an assignment from one person to another. You’ll find this option in the Actions menu for an assignment.

reassign assignments

These updates are just part of our continuous focus on making Forecast the easiest way to schedule your team. The less work required to update your schedule, the more accurate your schedule is, and the more useful Forecast is to you and your team.

We hope you enjoy these new features! Let us know what you think in the comments below or email us.

Happy schedulin’.

Smarter Project Scheduling with Harvest and Forecast

Today, we’re proud to unveil the first step of the highly anticipated integration between our two products, Harvest and Forecast. The project budgets in Harvest will now be reference-able from Forecast in real time. You can now compare the hours you have left in a project budget with the hours you have scheduled from today through the end of a project. With this first point of integration, using Harvest with Forecast lets you make smarter scheduling decisions. Here’s how it looks in Forecast:

Remaining Budgeted Hours Demo

Scheduling With Insight

As a project manager, you are constantly striking the balance between deadlines, your team’s availability, and the project budgets. Forecast provides a realistic view of your team’s schedule, availability, and commitments. By referencing future scheduled hours, you can quickly see how many hours are committed across your projects and team members. For projects linked to Harvest, you can easily compare these hours against the actual budget left. This handy feature informs your scheduling and ultimately keep your projects running smoothly.

For example, if your project is scheduled to take another 300 hours (in Forecast), but you only have 280 hours left in the budget (according to Harvest), you can take action before it’s a bigger problem. Maybe you need to talk to your client to revisit the scope, or talk to the finance team to see if there’s room to increase the budget. By having quick access to these key numbers, you will be better equipped to keep projects predictable and clients happy.

More To Come

This is just the first step of the Harvest and Forecast integration. We’re excited to bring together the information from these products in a way that will not only save you time, but provide a new level of insight to help you manage projects.

In the near future, we’ll bring Forecast data into our new Projects section. Our goal is to help customers not only see where they are in their project budgets, but to also see it alongside the expected efforts needed to complete the projects. We’ll share more details about this in a future post.

We hope you enjoy this new feature and if you have any questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to reach out the team at support@forecastapp.com.

Customize Max Hours Per Day in Forecast

In July, we introduced Harvest Forecast, a whole new way to schedule your team’s time. Since then, hundreds of companies have adopted Forecast as their tool of choice for team planning. While this has been an exceptional beginning, we’ve been hard at work to make Forecast even better.

Starting today, you can customize the max hours per day for each person. Until now, every person in Forecast is scheduled against a default of eight hours per day. Many customers have asked for this to be flexible to match their needs and we listened. If your entire team schedule around something other than eight hours per day, or if certain individuals on the team have unique availability, you can now accurately reflect that in Forecast. Learn more about how to customize hours per day in our Help Center.

customize max hours per day

This is the first of more updates to come. If you find yourself struggling with unwieldy resource planning spreadsheets or programs, we welcome you to give Forecast a try.

Introducing Harvest Forecast

For the past year, a small team within Harvest has been working behind-the-scenes on a brand new project.

Today, after 5,443 hours of research, design, prototypes, more research, rewrites, polishes and betas, we’re excited to unveil our newest product: Harvest Forecast.

Forecast-Team-View-800

Thinking About the Future

For the past eight years, Harvest has refined how businesses track, analyze, and get paid for their time.

As our customers have grown their businesses, we recognized that Harvest was only part of the solution. Tracking time in the present and past was easy, but there was no answer for the future. Coordinating team assignments and schedules proved to be challenging. You might ask questions like:

  • Do we have enough capacity to take on a new client in two weeks?
  • What are the important milestones and deadlines on our projects this week?
  • Should we hire another person to meet the upcoming project demands?
  • How can we share this plan with the team?

Traditionally, businesses call this kind of scheduling “resource planning.” We like to think of it simply as team time planning.

Many businesses build spreadsheets to try to manage this planning. What we’ve heard from our customers, however, is that spreadsheets just don’t cut it. They’re unwieldy, difficult to maintain, and hard to share.

A New Way to Plan Your Team’s Time

Here at Harvest, we started to imagine what a truly modern solution to the problem could look like. Time was already our primary focus, and we knew that there could be a simpler answer.

We put together a small team of developers and designers with three key concepts in mind:

  • Be Visual – Scheduling projects and people is easier when done as a simple, visual experience.
  • Be Fluid – Accept the reality that schedules and priorities frequently change. Make the information easy to update and maintain so that it can accurately reflect reality.
  • Be Transparent – Plans work best when everyone knows where their time should go. The easier they are to share, the more informed and productive everyone becomes.

Around these simple concepts, Forecast was born. It’s a simple, visual way for you and your team to collaborate on who is working on what and when. It’s a solution designed precisely for the challenge.

Just the Beginning

While Forecast is beautifully simple to use on its own, we’re most excited about the possibilities for people who use Forecast in tandem with Harvest. Harvest tells you how your team spent time; Forecast anticipates where your team will spend time.

At launch, we’re starting simple. Harvest customers can easily bring all of their clients, projects, and people right into Forecast and start scheduling.

In the coming months, we have big plans to bridge the future and the past. One of our primary goals is to surface estimates vs actuals so that business owners and project managers can have previously unavailable insight into how they run their projects.

We’re excited to announce Forecast’s launch today not only because it’s the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work and thought, but because we believe it can make managing your business easier. Check out what a few of our beta customers had to say here.

If you or someone you know finds scheduling people on projects challenging, we invite you to give Harvest Forecast a try today!

Pricing Update (8/15)

After listening to input from many of you, and after deep consideration on our part, we’ve decided it’s best to price by person rather than by projects. You can learn about our new pricing here.

This past month has been an amazing ride, and we’ve heard a lot of great feedback and feature requests, many of which were already on our roadmap. We’re looking forward to sharing these updates with you in the coming months.

Introducing the New Harvest Chrome Extension

Since last Fall, our Chrome extension has helped thousands of Harvest users track time seamlessly within project management applications like Basecamp and Trello. Users can start a Harvest timer right from either application. Today, we’re releasing an update to make Harvest time tracking even more convenient whenever you use Google Chrome.

Once installed, with a single click (or press Alt + Shift + H), you can bring up Harvest to start or stop timers right from within Chrome. It’s fast and convenient. See it in action:

Whether you’re on Mac, Windows or Linux, Chrome is a fast and free way to browse the web. Combining Chrome with the Harvest extension is a great way to enjoy the speed and ease of time tracking on your desktop. Quickly start and stop timers and always know when you have a timer running at a glance.

To get started:

This is the first step in making our Chrome extension even smarter to help you work. Enjoy!

PS – Looking for more ways to incorporate Chrome into your workflow? Alongside Harvest, check out the complementary business apps for Chrome curated by Google.



The Harvest Platform: Bring Time Tracking Into Your Application

Today, we’re excited to give developers an easy way to add a seamless time tracking experience right into their applications. Introducing the Harvest Platform.

Traditionally, integrations between applications have required tedious API calls and database changes. With the new Harvest Platform, adding time tracking to a project management, issue tracking or task management application is as easy as embedding a few lines of JavaScript and HTML. Developers can now focus on the core functionality of their apps while easily harnessing Harvest for time tracking, reporting and invoicing.

Background

Over the last 6 years of building Harvest, we’ve received countless requests to integrate with various applications. The reason is simple: users want to simplify their daily workflows. Our customers use Harvest in conjunction with project management or issue tracking applications and they crave a tight integration between the apps.

For the application developers, many are reluctant to add time tracking on top of their product’s core focus. They know that time tracking is just scratching the surface of the true customer need. Once time is captured, customers need to run reports and send invoices based on that time.

With these reasons in mind, we’ve created the Harvest Platform. It’s an extremely easy way for developers to enable time tracking in their application while offloading time tracking, reporting and invoicing to Harvest.

A first-class user experience

To see the type of experience the platform can enable, take a look at the first application to take advantage of the platform: Do by Salesforce. Do is a social productivity tool that helps people work together on shared tasks and projects.

Using the Harvest Platform, the Do team has enabled time tracking by including a timer button with each Do task. When you click the button, the Harvest Platform modal window opens, and it already knows about the Do project and task details and the user simply enters any additional notes and tracks time. The user never needs to leave the Do application for time tracking.

Do.com shown here using the Harvest Platform integration to bring time tracking to their tasks. If you wish to request early access to this integration on Do, simply create a Do account (if you don’t have one already) and email the Do team

Implementation in 15 minutes

As developers know, integrations between applications can often be a cumbersome development effort. With the Harvest Platform, we worked hard to make sure it’s incredibly easy to use for any developer. Implementation involves only adding JavaScript and HTML to your code. There are no APIs or data models to worry about.

If you’re a developer, head to the Harvest Platform page to learn more. If you have a favorite application which you wish had time tracking, let them know about this new effortless way to add time tracking right into their application.

Harvest Availability Related to Hurricane Sandy

Since Monday night, the flooding and power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy have severely affected our availability. Harvest’s primary datacenter is located in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The building is home to Google’s NY operations and a major datacenter in the north eastern U.S. While flooding has not affected our datacenter, the power outages in New York City, despite backup generators, have caused repeated issues.

Our team has been working around the clock to keep Harvest available. This post is to keep you informed of our current status and share the details of this event with you thus far.

Current Status

Saturday, Nov 3rd 7:00am ET – At approximately 5:52PM ET on Friday Nov 2nd, Harvest became unavailable due to problems related to the restoration of commercial power in the datacenter. The Harvest team worked through the night to safely restore service after the transition back to commercial power. By 7:00am ET, Harvest service is once again accessible to all customers. We thank you for the extra patience during this weekend evening which allowed us to restore our service properly. With commercial power in place at the data center, we take a big step towards stable conditions.

Thursday, Nov 1st 1:45pm ET – We continue to operate normally on backup generators with plenty of fuel at the datacenter. Based on ConEd’s latest estimate, they expect power to be restored in lower Manhattan by Saturday.

Wednesday, Oct 31st 7:30pm ET – Harvest experienced intermittent network issues from approximately 6:17pm ET till about 7:00pm ET. During this time, some customers were not able to access Harvest. The network issues were resolved at the datacenter and service should be 100% accessible at this time.

Wednesday, Oct 31st 12:30pm ET – Harvest is available and operating normally. Due to the power outage in lower Manhattan, all services are still powered by backup generators. Our datacenter has ample fuel and the ability to refuel as needed. To minimize downtime for our customers, we will continue to operate as-is and monitor the situation closely. Based on a statement from Con Edison (the power company in New York City), it will take an estimated 3 more days before commercial power is restored in lower Manhattan. We will provide updates if and when estimates change.

In the meantime, we have a backup plan in place to migrate our services should we need to (more details on that below). Note that all data continues to be safely backed up on-site and off-site in several locations during this time.

Please also note that you can always check our status at http://harveststatus.com

What’s Been Happening

Around 11:35pm ET on Monday, Oct 29th, Harvest went offline due to a power outage in our datacenter. During this time, datacenter staff worked to restore power and network connectivity. By 6:25am ET on Tuesday, Oct 30th, service had been restored. Harvest continued to operate on backup power generators during this time. Harvest operated normally for the rest of Oct 30th.

At 5:48am ET on Tuesday, Oct 31st, Harvest experienced a second outage window due to power failures in neighboring datacenters. This caused network connection problems which made Harvest unreachable by customers. By 7:00am ET, network paths had been re-routed and made Harvest accessible to most customers again. By 9:00am ET, all known network issues were resolved and Harvest became accessible for all customers.

Contingency Plan

While our core datacenter issues were being addressed, our team has been working tirelessly to ensure that we can reliably serve Harvest from a different datacenter if necessary. After around the clock efforts led by Harvester Warwick Poole to deploy and test the setup in a new datacenter, with support provided by our entire team, we are ready to take this step if necessary.

In the event of another extensive outage, we will immediately begin to switch service to a new datacenter located in Dallas, Texas. We expect this move to take approximately 2 hours, during which time Harvest will not be available. Should we need make the switch, we will alert all account owners via email and provide information through Twitter and harveststatus.com.

Thank You

Thanks to all our customers for the understanding and overwhelming support sent our way during this crisis. We couldn’t be more proud to have you good people as our customers. We will continue to do our best to provide service to you during this challenging time. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@harvestapp.com.

Bring Harvest Time Tracking Into Basecamp

Basecamp is a popular web-based project management application by 37signals which we’ve been using since 2006. Earlier this year, 37signals launched an all new version that is fast, simple and powerful. For some users of the new Basecamp, there was only one thing missing: the ability to track time.

While Harvest has long supported the previous version of Basecamp (aka Basecamp Classic) with an integration that synced projects and people, we heard from many customers that they needed just a little more — they needed to track time on specific to-dos. With that in mind, we decided to rethink our approach to the integration.

Today, we’re very excited to announce a seamless way to track time in Basecamp. Unlike most integrations which can feel disjointed, we really mean it when we say seamless. With the help of the official Harvest Chrome Extension, you can now track time for your to-dos right inside Basecamp. To see what we mean, take a look at the video below.

With Harvest for Basecamp, you can do your project management and collaboration in Basecamp, and your time tracking, reporting and invoicing in Harvest.

To get started with Harvest for Basecamp, simply do the following:

That’s it! We hope you enjoy this new integration and thanks for using Harvest.

Track time the modern way. Try Harvest for free today

What’s It Like To Intern at Harvest?

Earlier this year, we decided to provide internships to students who were interested in working in a technology company like ours. We saw it as a way for us to give back to the next generation of technologists and as a way for us to mentor bright young minds. We wanted to show them another option to use their craft beyond the usual campus tech-related recruiters like large businesses, consulting firms and banking institutions.

Our goal was to provide a program where interns would have a real-world problem solving experience. They’d learn how to work alongside our full-time team and gain exposure to the real challenges we’re solving.

In May, computer science major Anthony Chen joined us in New York. In August, Anthony put together a summary of his experience in the Harvest Academy, an internal blog where we share learnings and ideas. With Anthony’s gracious permission to repost, here’s what he had to say:

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