The Benefits Of Integrating Harvest and Forecast
Forecast is made by the same people behind Harvest, our beloved time tracking and invoicing service. By combining time tracking Harvest with time planning Forecast, our simple goal is to provide you with a powerful, data-driven way to manage your project’s progress.
By reviewing three key data points about every project (budget, actuals, and estimates), you can stay on top of the progress of your projects and take action before things go off course. Below is a brief overview of how it works.
When you set a budget in Harvest, you set the overall time allowance on a project. As your team tracks time, you accumulate the project’s actual hours. Finally, as you schedule time in Forecast, we surface them as estimates in Harvest. The result is a way to see your project’s actual progress against budgets and future estimates. This gives you the powerful ability to run projects predictably.
Our goal is to provide these insights to you out of the box. That means no custom exports or spreadsheet work will be required to answer key questions like:
- How much more effort and time do we think this project will take to complete?
- When are we scheduled to complete this project?
- Will we be on budget? If not, how much are we off by?
- If we will go over budget, when do we expect that to happen?
- How did we do with our estimated effort vs. actuals?
- Where were we off in our estimates so we can do better next time?
Below is a summary of three key things you can do by using Harvest and Forecast together.
See Real-time Budgets as You Schedule in Forecast
As you schedule Harvest-connected projects in Forecast, you can compare future scheduled hours with the hours remaining in the project’s budget from Harvest. This lets you create a realistic plan based on the actual, remaining budget. If you will exceed or be under the budget, you will clearly recognize that while you plan, allowing you to take any necessary action early.
Run Projects Predictably in Harvest
See if a project will be going over budget, and if so, by how much (e.g. “We’ll likely finish this project 10 hours over budget”). The information is displayed to you in the Project Analysis page as a simple summary, and for projects which are budgeted by total project hours or budgeted by hours per person, as a visual graph as well.
Review Estimates vs. Actuals in Harvest
Another major benefits of planning your time in Forecast is that you will now be able to compare your estimated hours against your actual hours. By reviewing your estimates vs. actuals over time, you will be able to determine where things didn’t go as planned and continue to refine your own ability to estimate.
For further information, be sure to visit the Harvest and Forecast section in our Harvest Help Center.