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Archive the Old, In with the New

Everyone likes to start the new year with a goal in mind. If yours is to be more organized, then archiving projects in Harvest may be the most satisfying thing you do all week! Even if organization isn’t your goal (maybe you’re looking to take up knitting, instead), it’ll still feel great when you’re looking at freshly cleaned list in the Projects section of your account. It’s like seeing the floor in a closet for the first time in months (or years…we don’t judge)!

Sounds good! How do I archive my projects?

To archive a project, just head over to the Projects section of your account and click the Actions menu for any project. Select Archive, and you’re all set!

archive_link

What projects should I archive?

You can archive things that are no longer actively being worked on. When you archive a project, all the data stays put in your account, so you’ll still have easy access for reporting and invoicing. However, it’ll no longer appear in your list of active projects, and people won’t see it as an option to track new time or expenses to.

Another pointer: it can be helpful to duplicate long-term, internal projects every year. Then archive the original. This gives you one project per year, and can make it easier to use reports to show you the most relevant information.

Okay, but why should I bother archiving projects? They’re not bothering anyone.

Trimming down your list of active projects will make the Projects page in your account more useful, since you’ll be able to see just the projects that matter to you now. Your team also won’t have to scroll through tons of unused projects to find what they’re looking for when they track time.

You can learn more about archiving projects in our Help Center, or shoot us an email at support@harvestapp.com, where our Experts are ready to help! We hope you have a happy and clutter-free New Year!

How an Agency Used Forecast to Improve Resource Scheduling

Forecast makes it easy to schedule your team on multiple projects and plan out what you’re working on over the next few months. But it’s much more than a visual team calendar. It provides you with the insight to answer critical questions about your business: What is the team working on right now? Who’s under water? Do you have the capacity to take on new work? How secure is the future of the business?

In this post, Holly Davis, a project manager at White October, describes how her digital agency implemented Forecast and used it to help manage their business.

Resourcing for a growing agency is a big challenge. Things change from minute to minute and everyone has different information they need access to:

  • The whole team needs to know what they’re supposed to be working on.
  • Project managers need to ensure that resourcing forecasts mirror the needs of their upcoming project work.
  • Account managers need long-term forecasting so they know what new business they should pursue.

A year ago we were struggling to fulfill these needs, mainly due to the fact that we had little confidence that the data we were putting in was an accurate reflection of ‘reality.’

One of our project managers, Sarah Clarke, decided to take on the challenge of improving resourcing at White October. She chose Harvest Forecast, integrated with our main Harvest account, as the management tool.

Continue reading…

How a Digital Agency Used Harvest to Re-Examine Its Business

In this guest post we learn how Shareef Defrawi, President and Founder of digital marketing agency Bonafide, used data gleaned from Harvest to make three vital improvements to his business. 

I resisted time tracking for a long time—way longer than I should have as an agency owner. I had a checklist of fears in my head: Wouldn’t time tracking impede creativity? Wouldn’t it come across as a little 1984—“Big Brother is watching you?” And wouldn’t monitoring time actually take time, maybe more than it saved?

Then there’s the comfort of the status quo: business is good, our clients are happy. What can time tracking possibly contribute when things are already running smoothly?

The answer, as it turns out, is quite a bit.

Continue reading…

Be Transparent and Accurate When Tracking Time in Other Apps

It’s pretty neat to never have to leave an app you use everyday to start a timer. Our integrations with various project and issue management apps like Asana, Basecamp, Trello, or Zendesk do exactly this. But there’s another huge benefit to these integrations that flies a bit more under the radar. Your Harvest timesheet entries link back to their external reference–like the Basecamp to-do, Zendesk ticket, or Trello card.

Trello Time Entry in Harvest Timesheets

Exports Now Include External Reference URLs

We spent a lot of time talking to customers who use these integrations and learned that they’re transparent with their clients. They share their Basecamp projects and Trello boards with their clients so that they can see what’s being worked on and what progress has been made. The one key thing that’s been missing is the ability to share how much time has been tracked to each task or ticket with your clients without a big manual effort.

Now, it’ll be much easier to know how much time you spent on specific items in other apps. We’ve added a new column to your Detailed Time export: the External Reference URL. When you prepare your weekly reports to send to your clients, you can now easily group time entries by tasks or tickets from these other apps, or provide a click through to the details.

External Reference URL in Export

Enter Time for Previous Dates

And if you’re going to share this data with your clients it should definitely be accurate, right? Up until now, tracking time from these apps has been a very in the moment thing. But now, you can backdate entries if you forgot to log time from a task or ticket on a specific day. What used to be a cumbersome process of flipping between these apps and your Harvest timesheets is now just one click away!

Changing date from Harvest Button

If you have questions or feedback on other ways we can improve time tracking from your project and issue management apps, let us know!

Using Harvest to Automate Tasks & Improve Work Happiness

Here at Harvest we’re always interested in hearing how customers use our software. A few weeks ago Stephen Thomas gave a talk at the Digital PM Summit that mentioned Harvest as a way to help bring some creativity, flexibility, and innovation to your projects and work life. He’s been kind enough to share his tips and insights with the Harvest community.

How long before the robots attack?

While getting drinks one Friday after work, some friends and I got round to discussing whether it would be such a bad thing if robots took over the world. We didn’t come up with any answers, but the discussion did leave an impression on me. It got me wondering whether my job as a project manager at White October could eventually be fully automated.

I wanted to go a bit deeper than just speculation and really try to find out whether a robot could do my job. To do this I needed to understand what it was I actually did every day and whether any of these tasks could be automated or at the very least delegated. Laboriously logging all this information felt like it would be a step too far for such an idle fancy until I realized that I was already doing this very thing as part of my job.

Timesheets are often seen as a chore, a necessity for agencies, freelancers, and professionals, something we have to do in order to get paid but not a part of our job in which we enthusiastically engage.

However, timesheets give you a minute-by-minute account of your day. There is so much potentially rich metadata and knowledge that we overlook, focussing instead on what we bill. Timesheets can give us insight into what we do.

Continue reading…

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.

Topping Off Invoices with a New Graph and Summary Numbers

When we set out improving Invoices Overview, we had a vision of love. Okay, maybe not love. Fall’s just making me reminiscent for 1990s Mariah Carey. But we had a vision, it was pretty lovable, and it was called graphs.

Our vision grew out of a few basic desires.

  • First, we want you to be able to understand the overall story of your invoices at a glance, so you don’t have to run quite as many reports.
  • Second, we know comparing month-to-month activity is useful to understand progress and invoicing trends, and want to offer easy access to this info.
  • And third, we want to offer a visual way to analyze your invoicing data.

Over the next few days, we’ll release the results of that vision: a visual invoice summary at the top of Overview, including a new graph and two summary numbers. Currently, the graph shows the present year, and we’re working on support for other years as well.

overview-graph

The graph itself will show you the invoices you issued in specific months. If you hover over a month’s bar, we’ll show you some details of the invoices issued in that month: you’ll see how much has been paid and how much remains open.

overview-graph-tooltip

 

We also show you two summary numbers:

  • The total open amount. This includes all unpaid invoices for all time, a great way to know what you need to track down.
  • The total paid amount for invoices issued this year. A simple way to see how much money you’ve brought in for invoices issued since the year began.

overview-numbers

Feel free to let us know your thoughts! We hope you find this new graph useful!

Editor’s Note: Changes were made to this post after it was released, to reflect updates made to the invoice summary graph. The graph’s open amounts now exclude written-off invoices, which is reflected in the monthly bars and the graph’s tooltips. 

Create Assignments Faster with Click and Drag

Be frictionless is one of our core principles on Forecast, and today we’re pulling out the WD-40 and going friction hunting. We’re excited to introduce a better way to create assignments.

Simply select the desired start date on the schedule, hold down your mouse and drag it out to the desired end date. That’s it! You’ve now created an assignment without having to open the date-selector or resize the assignment after.

Not only that, it also works for assigning a new project or person.

clickendragon2_v2

Assignments are at the core of Forecast, and our users create more than 30,000 of them each week. At that rate, the time and energy lost to a few extra clicks can really add up. We want Forecast to help you do your best work without getting in your way.

We’ve found this change makes Forecast even more pleasant to use. We hope you will too!

Harvest for iPhone 4.0: Faster Time Tracking

The Apps Team at Harvest is very proud of our latest work on Harvest for iPhone. One of our major goals this year has been to make your mobile time tracking experience faster by simplifying and streamlining the interactions required to do basic tasks.

In this release, we’ve focused heavily on how you get around the app. The new tab bar navigation gets you between Time, Expenses, and Invoices with a single tap. And it’s close to your thumbs, which is increasingly important as screen sizes continue to grow.

Harvest for iPhone 4.0

The Weekly Summary Bar allows you to see a full week’s worth of totals, plus it will let you jump between individual days with just one tap. You can quickly go back and forth by swiping: swipe on the bar itself to jump backwards and forwards by a whole week; swipe on the Timesheet to go backwards and forwards a day at a time. And if you need to get back to a specific date several weeks ago, you can now go directly there using the Jump to Date calendar. As part of this improved Timesheet navigation, we’ve also optimized the way we load Timesheet data. In general, we think you’ll notice a much snappier UI with significantly reduced load times.

We’ve also exposed start and stop buttons in timers directly in the Timesheet view. Need to re-start a timer quickly? Open Harvest for iPhone and in one tap that timer is running. Did you forget to stop a timer before you packed up your laptop? No problem, just open the app and tap the stop button.

There are many more updates in this version that we think you’ll enjoy: from miscellaneous bugfixes to a faster receipt chooser to an improved Account & Settings section. Rather than detail all of our updates here, we invite you to update your app today and see these great improvements for yourself. As always, if you have feedback on Harvest for iPhone, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Share a Project’s Budget Progress with Your Team

One of Harvest’s most useful features is the Project Analysis page. Here, you can see reports on your project’s progress–how much time was tracked and how much of your budget remains. In the past, only Administrators and Project Managers could see this page. Over the next few days, we’ll be releasing a change that’ll allow you to open up this report to the rest of the team on a project by project basis.

Why the change? In a nutshell, transparency! You can give non-project managers a read-only view into project progress so that everyone can be more proactive about keeping the project on track. Project Managers will no longer need to update the team on how they’re doing against the budget–the whole team can see it for themselves in Harvest in a few clicks.

All you have to do is select Show project report to everyone on the project in the Permissions section of the project form and the project team will have access to the Project Analysis report.

ProjectPermissionsEdit2

What can your team see with this permission?

  • Total time for the project, broken down by billable and non-billable hours
  • Their own hours, broken down by task
  • Hourly budget progress (for the project as a whole, or their own)

What can’t they see?

  • Breakdown of each team member’s hours
  • Fee-based budget progress
  • Expenses
  • Billable rates and amounts
  • Costs

Here’s an example of what the team will see:
Project Analysis for Regular User

And if you don’t turn this new permission on for a project? Regular users won’t be able to see the Project Analysis page at all. They’ll just see their own timesheets and expenses (same as they do now).

You’ll see this new permission on your projects within the next few days. If you have any thoughts or questions, let us know!