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Posts by Matthew Lettini:

Introducing Placeholders in Forecast: A Handy Tool for Uncertain Times

Figuring out who will work on what project is the tough recurring question all managers face. Today, scheduling time to a project in Forecast requires that you also assign that time to a person on your team. For the most part, this is naturally how scheduling works (“So-and-so is planned to work X hours next week on Project Y”).

However, this requirement can sometimes become a hassle. What if you have hours to assign to an upcoming project, but you’re not yet sure who’ll be working on it? What if everyone on your team is already at full capacity that week? What if you planned to hire someone to work those hours, but you haven’t hired them yet?

These are common real-life scenarios we’ve heard from our customers. As a workaround, our customers have been adding “dummy users” to their team in Forecast. Then they assign those dummy users to projects.

The main problem with this: Forecast charges for each person on your team! We don’t believe we should be charging you extra for a workaround.

Introducing Placeholders

Today, we’re excited to introduce Placeholders to Forecast.

Continue reading…

Team Tags Are Now Roles in Forecast

Team Tags in Forecast have always been a powerful way to organize your team when scheduling. If you want to see which of your developers has availability next month for a new project, you can simply filter your Team Schedule to just people tagged “Developer”.

Today, we’re shipping a small change that renames Team Tags to Roles. Roles work exactly like Team Tags did yesterday, so you might not even notice!

However, we did take this opportunity to also include a Roles manage page (which you can access from the navigation menu in the top left of Forecast). This page simply lists all roles you’ve created, and allows you to add, remove, or rename any role. You can also add or remove people from any role right from here.

Lastly, if you sync your Forecast account with a Harvest account, we have some news for you: we’re actively working to bring roles to Harvest! Stay tuned for more information on that soon.

If you haven’t used team tags before, we encourage you to try assigning roles to your team and filtering your Team Schedule! It’s a handy way to make scheduling more manageable. As always, if you have any questions, please drop us a line.

Export Scheduled Hours by Month in Forecast

Forecast exports are a great way to take your scheduled hours on-the-go or to calculate various future business metrics. However, while the Forecast schedule view focuses on days and weeks, business metrics are often looked at from a higher level.

Today, we’re excited to introduce a new Monthly format for Forecast exports. The exports are mostly the same, but now hours can be rolled up by month instead of just by week. You can find this option under the new “Time Format” section on the Export form:

We’ve also recently updated the “Timeframe” section, adding quick selection for the most used timeframes. This should greatly speed up your exporting, but you can still select a custom timeframe if you need to. As a bonus, we’ll also remember the options you use the next time you export.

As always, if you have any questions, please drop us a line. Happy scheduling!

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!