Harvest is our time tracking solution. Every minute that you work for Cantilever should be logged in Harvest. It’s annoying, but it works! We track both billable and non-billable time there.
Billable time is defined as time working directly toward deliverables for a client. Working on legal paperwork, invoicing, etc is considered "Client Relationship Management" and is not billable. Any meetings/emails/calls related directly to deliverables you are creating is billable. When in doubt, ask your manager.
One of our values is transparency. Accurate timesheets allows us to be fully transparent with clients. Another one of our values is flexibility. Since our clients trust us, we get to be flexible in the style we work within, and don’t need to have super-rigid scopes.
We currently spend significant time analyzing and reshuffling timesheets after entry when we prepare to bill a client. If we can get more efficient and accurate with the timesheets the first time around, it will save us significant time and money over the long run.
Please note that the PMs and Ops teams are regularly reporting data to clients and coordinating finances based on what is in Harvest. If you are out of date, you could cause a mistake if they report the wrong information to clients or send an erroneous invoice.
- Track your time while you work. Your goal is to log, to the minute, all the time you spent on a given task. Turn the timer on while working, and turn it off when done. If you forget and have to rough it in later, that‘s fine, just don’t let the day pass without ensuring your timesheet is complete.
- Timesheet entries must be in the correct project and task. If you cannot find a suitable task to put your time in, speak to the relevant project manager and write it in a notebook to enter when fixed.
- Timesheet entry descriptions must describe not just what task you were working on, but what you did for that task. When possible, they should complete this sentence: "During this time, I ________________". Remember that this description is a BILL for the client and needs to be clear and accurate with regard to what Cantilever did for them.
- Example 1:
- Project: New Homepage
- Task: Frontend Development
- Good description: "Started on homepage HTML/CSS"
- Bad description: "Frontend". What did we do on the fronend?
- Bad description: "Homepage". What did we do on the homepage?
- Bad description: "HTML/CSS". What was the HTML/CSS for?
- Example 2:
- Project: New Invoicing System
- Task: Initial Implementation
- Good description: "Migrated old invoices from 2011 through 2013 into new system"
- Bad description: "Old invoices". What did we do with them?
- Bad description: "2011-2013". What from those years?
Harvest has a desktop app as well as a Chrome extension. If you use the Chrome extension and use Basecamp in Chrome, you will be able to track time related to specific basecamp todos very easily.
Since you have to track everything, managing small bits of work can be annoying. To minimize the amount of times you need to update your timer, we suggest "bundling" work related to a single project instead of moving from project to project. Do everything in one sitting, and then switch your timer and move on to the next project.
It is often tempting to use internal categories like "Non-Client Meetings and Communication" to encapsulate your daily Basecamp/email sweep. Please avoid this temptation and make sure to log Basecamp and email time within the actual categories and projects they belong to.
Project vs. Client Relationship Management
Project management (Used to be "General Meetings & Emails") is billable time, defined as time spent creating the work product in some fashion. This can include emails, meetings, phone calls, shopping for required software/fonts, research, scheduling, etc. “Client Relationship Management” is non-billable time spent on the client relationship. This includes legal paperwork, estimates (typically), billing, hours calculation, monthly retainer reports, etc.
The key question to determine which is which is whether your actions are advancing the project itself, or are necessary for attaining and keeping the client at large.
Cantilever projects should be assigned to a specific quarter. At the end of the quarter, Nikki will turn over that year’s iterations of each project and start anew. This will help us understand where our time went each year.
Setting Up Projects
For information on how to set up projects in Harvest, refer to: Create a Harvest Project