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Posts by Matthew Lettini:

Push Projects from Harvest to Forecast, or from Forecast to Harvest!

Linking projects between Harvest and Forecast offers a wide range of useful benefits. It opens up the possibility to see where your projects are headed, allows you to plan your team against the remaining budget, and offers a view of estimates vs. actuals.

However, getting new projects from one app into the other has always required a cumbersome process:

  • First, the project has to be created in Harvest.
  • Then you’d need to make your way over to Forecast.
  • Then you’d need to locate the “Import from Harvest” option for projects.
  • Then finally, you’d be able to import the project into Forecast.

Phew, that’s a lot of steps! I’m exhausted just typing that out…

We want to make this workflow faster and simpler. Today, we’re excited to announce two new ways of getting projects created and linked between Harvest and Forecast.

Part 1: Harvest to Forecast

The first part of our workflow improvements allows you to push projects directly from Harvest to Forecast, without having to go to Forecast and import.

Create this project in Forecast

If you’re a View-Edit user in Forecast, you will see a new option when creating or editing a Harvest project: “Create this project in Forecast so you can plan your team’s time”.

Saving the project with this option selected will automatically create the project in Forecast. You can push projects to Forecast the first time you create a project, or anytime later when you’re ready to start scheduling it.

After pushing, we’ll also offer a quick link to jump over to the Forecast schedule if you want to start planning your team right away.

Part 2: Forecast to Harvest (New!)

The second part of our workflow improvements offers the brand new ability to create and plan your projects in Forecast before pushing them to Harvest.

Create Project in Harvest

In Forecast, you will now see a new option under a project’s Action menu to “Create this project in Harvest”. Select this action, confirm, and Forecast will do just that.

There’s one extra feature we’ve included here: When pushing a project from Forecast, if the project has people scheduled to it, we’ll automatically assign those people to the created project in Harvest!

Again, after pushing, we’ll offer a quick link to jump over to Harvest so you can update any further project details (e.g., budgets, rates, task assignments, etc).

Note: The new “Create Project in Harvest” action won’t appear if the project is already linked to Harvest. Also, only scheduled people imported from Harvest will be automatically assigned in Harvest when a project is pushed.

All New H+F Project Workflows

Getting projects created and linked in both Harvest and Forecast shouldn’t be a hassle. Now, it’s as easy as an extra click, giving you time back to the work that matters.

Whichever direction works best for you and your team—pushing a project from Harvest to Forecast, or from Forecast to Harvest—we’ve got you covered.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the team. Happy scheduling!

Weekend Scheduling Is Now Available in Forecast

Harvest Forecast was introduced in the summer of 2014, bringing a simple and intuitive experience to planning your team across projects. From the beginning, scheduling in Forecast has focused solely on weekdays, Monday–Friday.

Over the past 3 years, scheduling on Saturday and/or Sunday became our number one most requested feature. Whether it’s contract work, hosting an event, shooting a commercial, or simply needing to meet a Monday deadline, there’s a myriad of reasons why many of our customers need to schedule on the weekend.

Today, we’re excited to share that scheduling on Saturday and Sunday is now available for all accounts.

Weekends for New Accounts

All new Forecast accounts automatically include Saturdays and Sundays on the schedule.

For anyone that wanted to use Forecast but needed to schedule on the weekend, you can sign up for Forecast today!

If it’s been a few years since you last tried Forecast, catch up on other new features you might have missed.

Weekends for Existing Accounts

If you’re a customer today, or you plan to revisit an old trial, you can add weekends to your account right within Forecast.

If you missed our in-app announcement, simply head to your Settings page. You will see a new section to “Add Weekend Scheduling to Your Account”, which will take you to a new page to do exactly that!

Planning your team’s time is as seamless as ever—you’ll find all the same functionality with just a couple extra days per week.

An important note: Adding weekends to your account is permanent, and there is no undo. Make sure everyone on your team is on board with this change before proceeding!

Assigning on Saturday or Sunday

Saturday and Sunday will automatically default to non-work days for all team members. Since assignments scheduled across non-work days automatically exclude those days from hours calculations (per our recent change), this will allow you to continue to create weeks-long assignments without needing to edit out the weekend time.

However, if you want to explicitly schedule on the weekend, simply click directly on the Saturday or Sunday you need!

We’re excited to start the year closing out one of our most requested features. We have a lot of ideas for 2018 too, stay tuned!

If you have any questions about adding weekends to your account, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Happy scheduling!

Smoother Scheduling for Part-Time Employees in Forecast

Earlier this year, we added the ability to choose which days of the week people work in Forecast. This allows for more accurate scheduling and reporting of part-time employees and freelancers.

However, non-work days (days on which someone is not available for scheduling) can create an issue when assigning large blocks of time. The flexibility of dragging an assignment out for multiple days/weeks/months has always been one of Forecast’s most useful features, but assigning over non-work days would create overbookings that needed to be fixed.

We wanted to improve this small issue. Starting today, Forecast will now automatically schedule around non-work days, so you don’t have to fix those overbookings.

Smarter Non-Work Day Scheduling

When dragging an assignment across a non-work day, Forecast previously would count the number of hours on that day. With this change, Forecast will now automatically not count the assignment’s hours on those non-work days.

Visually, the assignment looks like it’s “behind” the non-work day indication (the diagonal gray bars). The heat map on the Team Schedule will take this into account and not count those hours for that day or week. Simple.

But what if you need to schedule on that non-work day? No problem!

If you need to schedule on a day someone normally does not work, you can do so by explicitly creating an assignment on that day. Forecast will ask if this is what you’d like to do, and create an assignment that does count on non-work days.

This new functionality is seamless, simple, and further promotes Forecast’s goal to create a frictionless scheduling experience.

Coming Soon: Scheduling on Saturday and Sunday

We haven’t been entirely forthcoming with you. Dragging assignments across multiple weeks for part-time employees is indeed an issue, but only a few customers actually have this problem today. This change will most likely not immediately affect you and your team.

However, today we’re also announcing that Weekends are coming to Forecast! We’re excited to finally offer planning on Saturdays and Sundays.

When we launch Weekends, all new Forecast accounts will automatically start with a 7-day schedule. All existing accounts will remain 5-days at first, but we’ll be offering an option to update to a 7-day schedule soon after (more details on how and when that happens will be announced soon).

A 7-day Forecast schedule will mean that everyone on the account will have at least two non-work days (typically Saturday and Sunday). We wanted to make sure that the flexibility to drag assignments out for multiple weeks remained intact once we added Weekends, and that’s a bigger reason why we made the change outlined above.

Wrapping Up

Assignments in Forecast now schedule around non-work days. Today, most Forecast customers will not notice any change. When Weekends are added to Forecast, this change will make a huge difference in providing a flexible and seamless scheduling experience.

When can you expect the ability to plan on Weekends to land in Forecast? All I can say today is “soon”. We’re actively working on this feature, and simply need to get this new assignment functionality out the door first. When Weekends are ready, we’ll be announcing that both inside of Forecast and right here on our blog. Stay tuned!

If you have any questions about this change to assignments, or Weekends coming to Forecast, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

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.