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Review of Harvest Time Tracking Software

By Brad Meucci

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With roughly 10 years of professional experience under my belt, I’ve used several different tools to track time. Some were good, others bad, some were simple, while others were complex. When it comes to time tracking, for me it’s all about ease of use. I don’t want something overly cumbersome that requires intense training sessions to learn how to use.

On the other hand, as a Project Manager I want something that’s VERY detailed so that I can see how things are progressing in case I need to make adjustments.  My company recently changed over to Harvest (www.getharvest.com), and now that I’ve had a few months to use it I must say that it’s probably the best I’ve used to date. Below are a few remarks that you might find helpful if you’re considering making the switch.

It’s Easy to Use

It really is… now there’s no excuse for not tracking time! You don’t need a special training session; just select your project and task, add any relevant notes (my company uses this religiously) and start the clock. Depending on your preference, there are several ways to track your time, including a desktop widget (probably the most popular), a mobile app in case you’re offsite, or you can log it directly into a web browser.

Since my job requires me to regularly bounce between projects (often multiple times daily), I’ve found that the web browser works best for me. It allows me to easily view multiple projects simultaneously, so rather of logging every time I spend few minutes on a project, I take 5-10 minutes at the end of the day and do it all at once.

Slick Reporting

This was a big selling point for me.  I can look at time in a number of different ways depending on what information I’m trying to gather. Say that I want to track a specific team member, on a particular project, over a two weeks time period, in real time. A few clicks of the mouse are all that it takes. If you ever want to download and work directly from a spreadsheet, it can do that too. My only problem with this is how you receive the downloaded file. First, its not immediate, you basically put in a request, and then you will receive an email when it’s ready to download. Once you receive the email, you have to click a link taking you back to their website, where you have to log in again, before being able to download the document. It’s not too much of a pain, but enough to irk me each time I have to go back through the process.

Alerts

This is by far my favorite feature. No more worrying about going over budget! Set alerts to notify you when you reach a percentage of the project budget. The only problem I have found is that I can only set one per project (I’d prefer to know when we hit 30, 60, 90 & 100 percent of the budget). That said, I’m not complaining because one is certainly better than none.

Harvest Time Tracking is a great tool for staying on schedule.

As I mentioned before, my company has only been using this software for a few months now so I’m sure there are plenty of features & functionality that I have yet to take advantage of (like sending invoices). Make sure to check back in the future for a part II!

8 thoughts on “Review of Harvest Time Tracking Software

  1. Review sounds interesting. Options are always welcome, as using the same tool for years does make us think about change. Earlier we use in-house time tracking software which was custom built and we maintained all servers and data ourselves. But now we are using Replicon’s cloud based Online timesheet, where they take care of our data and servers.

  2. Hi Brad,

    Just wondering if you considered TimeTracker by CreativeWorx? (www.CreativeWorx.com) TimeTracker is a little different in that it *automatically* captures how time is spent. This automation replaces the time one usually spends reviewing emails, calendar, phone calls, notes, etc….with the flexibility to clean up the data before submitting to a financial system (such as Harvest, FreshBooks, SAP, Dynamics, MediaOcean, etc.).

    And since the early employees of CreativeWorx came from Adobe, TimeTracker is exceptional for creative professionals…as well as operations folks, Account Managers, etc. It’s new, so there’s still plenty coming, but if you’re in a creative environment, it’s especially worth taking for a test drive.

    1. Thanks Mark. This looks great for our creative team, but unfortunately most of our staff lives in the HTML programming world. I’ll definitely be paying attention to the integration list though!

  3. Hi Brad,

    We have been users of Harvest but we realized that there is a big community of freelancers, project managers, developers etc. out there who may want somethig simpler and may not be willing to pay $12 a month. With that in mind, we are coming out with our own Time Tracking Billing and Project Management tool called http://www.desksumo.com. We will be offering it as a free service and will also have a low monthly subscription option. It should be live in aboy 7-10 days time. We hope that you will review it.

    Regards,
    Sam

  4. How did you get on with Harvest?

    Are you still using it?
    Does it give you the data you want?
    Do you run different rate cards with different clients?

  5. I suggest you to have a look at TimeCamp (www.timecamp.com) – it’s a competitor of Harvest but it has more helpful features and it’s price is much lower.

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