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Time recording in Harvest

As an agency we sell our time. That’s why using Harvest properly is very important.

This section of the handbook sets out how team members should use Harvest and how projects/other work should be set up on.

The guide in this section relates to the digital agency Harvest only- not to the publishing team Harvest.

Billable time

In principle if we can find a way to bill time to a client then we should.

We can only sell our time and being mindful of this being our only source of revenue is important.

This doesn’t ever include being dishonest or misleading - that would be toxic, not in line with our values and doesn't help us build long term relationships with our clients.

Another way to consider it is if the client doesn’t pay for it then we do - the time isn’t free. Is it part of the overall effort of delivering their work for their benefit?

If a task is necessary to successfully deliver a project then it should be considered billable. Meetings (inc. internal), calls, emails, estimating, documentation are all necessary activities needed to support the delivery of the work and should go under the chargeable task for your role.

Work where there is no question that it should be billed e.g. bugs, correcting mistakes that are solely ours should be recorded against the “warranty” or “mistakes” task on the project

How to use log time

We expect everyone to use Harvest to record their working time each week. Normally that’ll be a minimum of 35 hours per week.

We know from experience that logging time retrospectively is inaccurate, so wherever possible please use the Harvest timer, Mac app or browser plugin to record what you are working on in real-time.

Please make sure you add notes to your Harvest entry to give some more detail on what you were working on. This might be a JIRA reference/narrative or a description of some training activities or a pitch you were working on.

Make sure your Harvest is fully completed by the end of the working day every day. We use Harvest for the company scorecard and other reporting on Monday morning so the data needs to be right.

If you need access to a project or think a new project needs setting up, please speak with the account manager in your team. They’re responsible for doing this so you don’t need to do it yourself.

Where to log your time in Harvest

You’ll need to log all your working time against the appropriate task and project in Harvest. For full-time team members that means:

  • minimum 35 hours working time logged per week
  • minimum 31 hours logged to billable tasks per week, unless agreed with your chapter

Managing Harvest projects / tasks

Please don’t create new Harvest tasks to break project activities apart, either create new projects or use the comments to tag separate activities. More tasks make it hard to do accurate reporting, so check with a director before creating.

Unless there’s a reason we want to track a specific set of time you probably don’t need to create a new project, especially for internal work or if there’s an umbrella project already.

Budgets in Harvest

Every project that we set up in Harvest should have an hours budget associated with it. This should be the same as set out in the statement of work, unless a variation has been agreed by a director (for example if we have chosen to spend more hours on a project than we are able to bill to the client).

These budgets should always be at a task level - so each team member knows their own budget allocation (in hours).