Interview with Harvest's Naama Bloom

Posted by Paul Rogers on 07 February 2012

Over the years, we’ve tried and tested a huge selection of project management tools with the intention of improving the way we work. Some of these tools didn't meet our expectations, but some have made a big difference to our company and our clients. Harvest, an integrated time tracking and billing software package, certainly falls under the latter.

We first started using Harvest in 2008 and have become a more efficient agency as a result. After discussing the impact that Harvest has had on GPMD with a colleague, I got in touch with Naama from Harvest and asked if she could spare some time to do an interview for our blog, which she kindly agreed to.

Please can you provide some information on Harvest and your background within the company.

Harvest is a web-based time tracking software company. We were founded in 2006 by Danny Wen and Shawn Liu, who were running a small web design and development firm at the time. They were frustrated by the time tracking options available so they decided to build a solution that is simple to use, utilises intuitive design, and focuses on doing one thing really well (time tracking).

I was introduced to Danny in the spring of 2011, and joined the team a few months later as Head of Marketing. I’m responsible for helping the company grow it’s user base and advocating for the space.

How has Harvest evolved as a product since it was first introduced in 2006?

Harvest has evolved significantly. We are constantly releasing product improvements; in fact, we released code 876 times in 2011. Over time, the design has changed, and many of the features have become more sophisticated. In the early days, it was not uncommon for Danny and Shawn to meet with their customers to get detailed feedback and feature requests. We continue to meet with our customers regularly to gather feedback. As well, we have developed internal systems to track and manage specific requests.

Which features have proved to be the most popular with new and existing customers?

The answer to this really varies based on the type of user. Obviously project managers and operations folk heavily rely on the reports. We’ve heard some pretty amazing stories about how our reports are used to set rates, track project revenues and manage budgets.

Software developers really seem to like the different ways to track time. They use our web app, our desktop widgets, iPhone and Android apps, and many teams use Co-op, a group communication tool by Harvest that has seamless time tracking integration.

Has your target market changed since you first launched Harvest?

I wouldn’t say that it’s changed, more that we’ve refined it. When Danny and Shawn built Harvest they were specifically thinking about their business, which was a web design agency. That said, we’ve always believed that Harvest is a great tool for any consulting businesses that bill for their time. What we’ve been thinking about more recently is: who are the kinds of companies that gravitate to Harvest? They are the ones who use technology to solve problems and are comfortable with the cloud. They also value good design, and know that it makes their teams happy to use a well-designed product.

How successful have your iPhone and Android apps been for you?

Harvest wants to make time tracking as easy as possible for our users, and that means that we need to provide tools for when they are on the go, as well as at their desks. To that end, our mobile apps have been very successful, and are one more way that we can deliver great service.

What are the main drivers of new business for Harvest?

Our business has grown organically, because we’re fortunate to have some fantastic customers who have spread the word. We have recently begun to increase our advertising and marketing efforts, to supplement that growth.

Are there any new features that you are looking to release in the not so distant future?

We are really excited about the release of the Harvest Mac App in February. We launched a private Beta and got some very helpful feedback from our customers. The Mac App will allow users to literally track time in 3 seconds. It’s incredible. We’ve all been using it in the office and love it. People can sign up to be notified as soon as it launches at http://www.getHarvest.com/mac.

We'd like to thank Naama and Harvest for taking the time to do this interview, if you'd like more information on Harvest, visit their website now.

You can follow Harvest and Naama on Twitter.

You can also follow Paul on Twitter and Google Plus.

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