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Product News posts:

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.

Power Up Your Project Knowledge by Budgeting in Fees per Task

Have you been using Harvest’s new budgets for fixed fee projects? If so, you might’ve run into an interesting problem. A project can come under its total budget, but how do you know exactly what happened beneath that total number? How do you pinpoint where your team’s kicking butt, or going off track? Or where should you rethink expectations for future projects?

Those questions can be hard to answer if you’re setting just one general budget for every project. But we’ve just released a bit of x-ray vision into exactly what’s going on: the Fees per Task budget.

What’s Beneath the Surface of Your Budgets?

Check it out: this under-budget project looks healthy, and probably made a profit.

 

But is this project really as on-track as it appears? What if:

  • One task took 10 times longer than you expected. Egad!
  • Another task took up $200 worth of time, instead of the $2000 you expected. Nice, but something’s off.
  • Someone tracked $500 worth of time to a task you didn’t expect to work on for several more weeks.

If you look at just the overall budget, you might never know these things were happening. And you wouldn’t have the info to know how to improve (or whom to high-five), how to better budget your next project, or where to focus your project management energy.

Continue reading…

New Roles Get You Faster Access to Team-Specific Reports

A few weeks ago, we announced a forthcoming feature: roles. Today, we’re beginning to roll out this new feature, so you should see it in your account within the next few days! That means you’ll be just a few clicks away from reports that can answer questions like:

  • Do I need to hire another person to help my design team?
  • Did my remote team track time this week?
  • Which team is most billable, most overworked, or consistently under capacity?

What’s a Role?

Roles are descriptors for your teammates, which let you associate a person with their responsibility or position at your company. You can create any role to help identify your teammates—like Designer, Sales, Manager, NYC Office, etc. And you’ll be able to apply any role to anyone on your team.

Harvest roles on a person's profile

The Power of Roles

Don’t let the simple setup of roles fool you. A role’s real power is in your Team report.

In the past, your Team Overview was just a list of everyone on your team. If you work with more than a handful of people, that list was unwieldy. What if you just wanted to report on a specific group?

Continue reading…

New Fixed Fee Budgets Show If You’re On Track or Billing Enough

We were excited to kick off the summer with the release of our new Fixed Fee feature. But one problem’s been bugging us all summer long. After you set up your fixed fee project, how do you know if it’s on track, or if you charged enough?

Answering those questions isn’t easy. Your fixed fee project might be wildly profitable or leaking thousands of dollars. Maybe your team’s working too much (and potentially out of scope), or working too little (and in danger of missing milestones). There simply isn’t a straightforward way to know this info in Harvest.

Today that’s changing! We just released budgets for fixed fee projects, so you can keep things on track.

Now if you create or edit any fixed fee project, you’ll see two ways to budget: in fees or in hours. And depending on which budget method you choose, Harvest will surface different kinds of useful info.

Continue reading…

Introducing Harvest API v2

Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of a new version of the Harvest API!

Our API has a long history. It was first introduced in November 2006, with a limited set of time tracking functionality. A year later, we added support for managing clients, projects, tasks, and users. In 2009, invoicing and expenses made their API debut. But the last major update to the Harvest API was made in October 2011.

The new version we’re releasing today is faster, more consistent, and more complete than our existing API (v1), and gives us a solid foundation to expose even more functionality in the future.

What’s New in API v2?

API v2 is a JSON API that allows you to interact with your Harvest account programmatically. You can track time, log expenses, create projects, and more.

Security: Authentication is even more secure. Starting with API v2, we’re replacing Basic Authentication with Personal Access Tokens via Harvest ID. To get one, sign in to your Harvest ID account and click on the Developers link in the top navigation. From there, you can create a new personal access token to authenticate yourself! You can add or destroy these as needed, so you have finer control over your tokens.

Pagination: All collection responses will be paginated so that they’re faster to generate and deliver. You’ll have the freedom to choose how many items you’d like to receive per page. We also include links to the first, last, previous, and next page.

Consistency: Consistency was a major goal for this version. We now return more appropriate HTTP response codes and use consistently coded timezone and currency codes.

Continue reading…

Introducing Harvest for Slack

It’s our belief that time tracking should be frictionless and accessible, no matter where you prefer to work. That’s why we offer desktop and mobile apps, browser extensions, and integrations with your favorite tools, including Trello, Basecamp, Asana, and Github. Until now, however, there’s been one glaring exception: Slack.

If you’re like many modern businesses, chances are you spend a lot of your working day in Slack, discussing projects, sharing updates, asking questions, and posting that Bitmoji that perfectly captures your feelings. Now you can add tracking time to that list.

With the launch of Harvest for Slack, you can bring time tracking directly into your team’s conversation. The integration also puts a ton of new information at your fingertips with the magic of slash commands. Try out the new Slack integration for yourself or read on for a rundown of everything you can do with it:

Conversations move fast. It’s easy to start chatting about a project without getting a chance to start a timer. Now all you have to do is type /harvest start into Slack and you’ll be able to start a Harvest timer without leaving the conversation. And when you’re done, just type /harvest stop to stop tracking. Continue reading…

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…

Coming Soon: Organize Your Team by Role

Have you ever gone to your Team section and asked yourself, “How do I get this report to show me just the people I’m most interested in?” Maybe you want to know how billable your designers are, what your developers are working on, or which team might be overworked.

Good question, and good news. We’re working on a feature that’ll allow you to get answers quickly, and it’s called Roles.

Roles are descriptors for your teammates, and allow you to specify what role each person plays in your company: Designer, Manager, Copywriter, etc. When we launch in a few weeks, we’ll share more details about how we envision these roles being used.

Today, however, we want to tell you about some important changes we’re making to support roles, so you know what to expect.

Continue reading…

New Reports in Mobile Apps

We recently released a new Reports section in our mobile apps, which includes a basic Time Report for all users and a Team Report for Admin users. I’d like to give you a quick explanation of these two reports, plus another small enhancement that comes with these recent updates.

The My Time Report gives you a high level overview of how much time you’re tracking as an individual. It shows where you’re spending your time, whether it’s billable or non-billable, and how much you’ll be able to invoice for that time. This report is similar to the My Time Report in the Harvest web application, only it’s been designed with the mobile user in mind. Important figures stand out, and we took care to make any tabular information fit well on smaller screens. For now, we allow you to choose between five preset timeframes for this report. You can quickly navigate between timeframe periods by swiping left or right on iPhone or using the arrow buttons on Android. In the future, we hope to allow custom timeframes for this report.

The Team Report is based on the new Team section, released late last year. This report will give Administrators an overview of total time spent per week, along with time spent by each individual on their team that week. Similar to the My Time Report, you can easily navigate forward and backward through weeks using the arrow buttons (Android) or by swiping left and right (iPhone).

In addition to the new reports, we’ve also done some work on the backend to make sure the Favorites that you assign are persisted across all three of our apps: iPhone, Android, and Mac! If you track time from several different devices or switch accounts often, you don’t have to worry about that Favorites list disappearing or looking different when you sign in from somewhere new.

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.