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Posts by Matthew Lettini:

Refreshing Harvest: Thinking about the Visual Design of an 11-Year-Old App

Did you know that Harvest turned 11 years old this past March? That’s right, Harvest is approaching its teens! We’re proud and thankful that, with your support, we’ve been able to build a useful product that helps businesses both track time and work smarter.

But with that many years behind us, Harvest is starting to show its age—the design of Harvest hasn’t seen a major update in a number of years.

With each new project, we tend to focus on the experience, and not so much on overhauling the visual design. We’re usually content as long as something is clear and easy to use. But if you look closely, you can see that our treatments of type, color, layout, and interactions across different sections vary, sometimes wildly. Inconsistencies have developed as different designers have been responsible for different sections of Harvest.

Inconsistency makes things difficult to use, and while that difficulty can be subtle, it’s not what we want for Harvest.

Time to Refresh

We’ve been thinking about (and bothered by) our aging and inconsistent design for the past few years, and last summer we decided to step back, sit down, and make it a priority. Our goal is simple: to have an updated, unified, and consistent design experience throughout Harvest.

Continue reading…

Choose Which Days People Work in Forecast

Many of our customers have people on their team who do not work a full 5 days a week. They might hire freelancers, contractors, and other part time workers. For these team members, the Daily Availability heat map did not always get their availability correct. To solve this, we’ve added a new field to select which days of the week someone works.

Forecast - Daily Availability

On Edit Person, below the Capacity setting, you will see a new Availability setting which allows you to select between Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. All of these are defaulted to ON for people on your team, but you can turn specific days OFF (simply by unchecking them). For example, if a contractor only works on Monday and Tuesday, you would shut off Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for that contractor.

Forecast - Daily Availability

Setting their Availability to the specific days that a person works allows Forecast to accurately calculate how many hours that person will work on those days. In the above example, you can clearly see that Andrew works 7 hours per day only on Monday and Tuesday. We get this from his Capacity, which is 14 hours per week.

You’ll also be able to see your team’s availability reflected on both the Team Schedule and Projects Schedule. The days that a person does not work will be crossed out, prompting you to not add any time on those days.

Forecast - Daily Availability

Note: This is a purely visual indication. Forecast will not prevent you from assigning time on those days.

If you don’t have any people on your team who work part-time, then nothing should change for you. If you do need to customize the days of the week some people on your team work, this new Availability setting will help keep your assignments and heat map accurate and useful.

If you have any questions about this new feature, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the team. Happy scheduling!

The Weekly Heat Map Is Back in Forecast

Last month, we launched a way for Forecast’s heat map to show how much of your team’s weekly capacity had been scheduled. While we heard excitement for this new feature, it also replaced a really useful feature that many customers missed: the daily heat map. So shortly after launch, we rolled it back.

Today, we’re excited to reintroduce the weekly heat map, this time alongside the trusty daily heat map. Customers will see a new option on the Team Schedule to select how they would like to view the heat map.

weekly-heat-map-1

  • Daily Availability
    This view shows how many hours per day a person is available or overbooked. This is best used to locate available hours in a week to schedule more specific tasks on a daily basis.Daily Heat Map
  • Weekly Capacity
    This view shows how many hours per week a person is booked. It also shows the percent of these scheduled hours against their total capacity. This is best used if you plan in weekly assignments, or if you’re trying to answer high-level questions about your team’s overall availability and health.Weekly Heat Map

With this improvement, it’s even easier to visually see when your team has availability, who’s over capacity, 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 with the new Weekly Capacity heat map.

If you prefer one view over the other, no worries! Forecast will save your preference. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the team. Happy scheduling!

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.

Scheduling Partial Time Off in Forecast

Knowing when someone will be off or on vacation is incredibly important to scheduling your team. Having that information handy helps you make better decisions about how to staff your team’s upcoming weeks, and helps you determine more realistic timelines for projects. In Forecast, Time Off is highly visible within your schedule views so you can quickly see how they affect your timelines.

Today, we’re adding more flexibility in Forecast by allowing you to schedule partial time off. While you can already mark full days off for team members in Forecast, the reality is people also take just a couple hours off. With today’s release, you can mark a team member’s time off for as few or as many hours in a day. Schedule around your designer’s 2-hour doctor appointment next Monday, your project manager who leaves early on Thursdays to pick up their kids, or those half-day summer Fridays. This partial time off feature lets you get a more accurate picture of what’s in store in the future.

forecast-partial-time-off

You can also schedule partial time off for Everyone at the company. We hope this insight leads to more accurate schedules and planning. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team. Happy scheduling!

Smarter Filtering in Forecast: Project Tags, Search, and Multiple Options

Filtering the schedule in Forecast is one of the best ways to focus when planning your team’s time. You’re most often scheduling—or looking at the schedule of—a single person or project, and all other visible rows can become quite distracting.

Today, we’re excited to announce a big release that expands the current filtering in Forecast and includes several new features to help you work smarter. Watch the video below to get a better understanding of the new filter, and read on for more details.

Project Tags

Tagging people in Forecast has always been powerful: filtering the Team View down to a specific skill, team, department, or even location allows you to find just the person you want to see. So we’re bringing tagging to your projects, offering that same flexibility in the Projects View.

Now you can filter your projects by the project tags you create: project owner, sales funnel, budget, phase, department, or whatever makes sense for your needs. And unlike color labels, you can have multiple tags on a single project! Project tags open the door to an all new way of managing your projects in Forecast.

Search

Instead of just selecting a color label or tag from a list, you can now filter the schedule just by typing and the schedule will filter in real-time as you type. But we’ve also expanded what you can search for, which offers all new options to filter your schedule.

  • Projects View: You can now search by client name, project name, project code, color label, or project tag.
  • Team View: You can now search by person name, email, or team tag.

Want to see all projects for a single client? Just type in the name of that client on the Projects View. Looking for a specific designer? Type in their name and see just that person. It’s that simple.

Multiple Options

In the past you could only filter Forecast by a single color or tag at a time. Now you can filter by multiple options to find just what you’re looking for.

  • Simply use a space when you need to further filter down your results. For example: want to see just designers in the Spanish office? Just type designer Spain to find everyone on the team that has both of those team tags.
  • If you’d like your schedule to include all results across multiple options, use the word “or” in your search. For example: if you want to see all your designers and all your developers at the same time, just type designer or developer. Want to see all orange and all blue projects? Type orange or blue.

These options work for anything you can search for on the schedule, as listed above.


At Harvest we continuously strive to help your team work smarter. With the added ability to tag your projects and the update to Forecast’s filtering options, you now have greater flexibility to help you focus on scheduling.

If you aren’t using tags and filters yet, now’s the best time to start! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at support@forecastapp.com.

Edit Forecast Assignments and Milestones Without Losing Your Place

One of Harvest Forecast’s founding principles was to be frictionless. Today, we release a simple update that should further minimize friction when scheduling.

Now when you create or edit an assignment on the Forecast schedule, you’ll have access to the edit form right next to that assignment. This also goes for milestones. This change keeps you in context with the project or person that you’re planning, so you’re in and out of Forecast even faster.

assignment-popover

As an added bonus, we’ve also added a Cancel button to the edit form. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team. Happy scheduling!

Smaller Increments and More Flexible Scheduling in Forecast

Scheduling your team is a fundamental part of Forecast. On average, our customers create 50,000 new assignments every week—that’s a lot! Today, we’re releasing a major update to scheduling in Forecast that offers you tremendously more flexibility when assigning:

  • Assign time in smaller increments than whole hours (e.g. 0.5, 3.68, etc)
  • Select 7.5 as an option for Max Hours/Day (this allows you to set a 37.5-hour workweek)
  • Quickly adjust the Total Hours for any assignment, instead of only its Hours/Day (more on this below)
  • Other workflow improvements for faster assigning

The above changes allow a wider range of scheduling options available to you in Forecast. You can now assign a project manager that is only sitting in on a 15-minute meeting (0.25 hours/day). You can also accurately book a 37.5-hour workweek without unnecessarily over- or under-booking your team’s schedules.

New Ways to Assign in Forecast

We want Forecast to be even better for high-level planning and have done just that by now allowing you to adjust the Total Hours for an assignment. Here are some examples illustrating how you can use this feature to plan at a higher level:

  • Hours/Week — You want your developer to work 30 hours on a project each week for the next few weeks. Simply create a Monday-Friday assignment, enter 30 into Total Hours to show hours/week, and repeat this assignment for as many weeks as needed.
  • Hours/Month — You plan to work 100 hours on a project for the entire month. Create an assignment from the first business day of the month through the last, and enter 100 into Total Hours.
  • Hours/Phase — You just won a new project and you want to assign 60 hours over the first three weeks to a designer. You can create one assignment for those three weeks, and enter 60 into Total Hours.

In each scenario, Forecast will do the math for you to break the assignment down to the proper Hours/Day. We’ve created a short, 2-minute video that highlights these new concepts. We highly recommend you watch it as you’ll learn some insightful ways to work faster in Forecast:

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team. Happy scheduling!

Zoom Out the Forecast Schedule

The schedule is at the heart of Forecast. It’s where you assign hours to your team and add milestones to your projects. It’s where you can see the team’s availability and overcapacity. Every week, it’s displayed on conference room TVs in meetings all over the world.

Today, we’re introducing an incredibly useful (and oft-requested) feature to the Forecast schedule: Zoom Out.

The amount of weeks you see in the schedule is based on your browser’s width. A typical schedule used to display only ~3–5 weeks at a time. That wasn’t enough… Perhaps you’d like to see the next two months to get clear insight into when a developer team would be freeing up. Maybe you want a high-level view of when you can take on that next project.

Now, with the click of a button, the schedule will show you ~9–12 weeks at a time.

forecast-zoom-out

Everything about the schedule will remain the same when you zoom out. You can still assign time, resize, drag, and split assignments, add and edit milestones, etc. It will simply show you more weeks in the timeline.

We believe this new feature will give you the high-level view you’ve been missing. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team.


As a reminder, you can still navigate the schedule forward or back in time. Make use of keyboard shortcuts to make this even faster: use the left and right arrow keys to navigate weeks, t to return to This Week, - to Zoom Out, and + to Zoom in.

Forecasted Project Health now supports Fee-based Budgets

Earlier this year we announced a tighter integration between Harvest + Forecast, combining your tracked hours with your scheduled hours. This update allows you to compare your team’s estimates vs actuals, and also reveals real-time project health, so you know ahead of time if you’ll go over your hours budget.

We’re happy to announce that we recently added two nice updates to this project health portion of our integration.

  1. We’ll now show if you’ll be over or under budget in the Forecast summary for all budget types, including fee-based budgets.
  2. If we are able to calculate the projected fees, we’ll also show that in the summary, even if you’ve selected an hours-based budget.

This means you’ll be able to know ahead of time if you will go over or come under your fee budget right in the summary!

project-health

Note: To calculate projected fees, you will need to select an invoice method of Project Hourly Rate or Person Hourly Rate.

We know that, at the end of the day, knowing where you stand against your projected fees is critical to your business. We think this update will help you run your projects more smoothly and efficiently.

Bonus! We’ve also just rolled out the “money graph”, which means we will show you a graph of your project’s progress against the monetary budget you have set for any projects budgeted by fees. This graph will also includes projected budget data from Forecast.