Explorations | May 20, 2013
Clockwork for Harvest
Creo is a service-based company. We live and die by our ability to find clients and deliver valuable services to them. There's nothing more rewarding than being synched up with our clients and walking with them through the best practices and needed processes to reap the best end-product possible. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day workings and forget what it’s like to be a customer. So in an effort to validate our process, understand what it’s like to be our own customer and be students of our craft we decided to build an app that we would want to use and play the role of both client and service provider.
So we decided to build a very simple app that would scratch our own itch. We use Harvest for tracking our time for each project for every client, including our own non-billable work, so we can get some real data around how we use our time. However we often wanted to track time on our iPads and there wasn’t an iPad app available. We had some open mobile development cycles; so we decided to go ahead and make the iPad time tracker for Harvest that we would want to use.
We decided to go ahead and make the iPad time tracker for Harvest that we would want to use.
Enter project Clockwork. The project went on for a while, getting placed on the back burner–as all internal projects do–when times were busy and then getting renewed attention when times were slow. Over the last few recent months we decided to make it a priority no matter what the rest of the workload looked like. We gave Clockwork its identity, an updated user interface design, began unit testing and user testing. We cut no corners and did the work just like we would advise our clients to do. We were our own (ruthless) client and (hill we're willing to die on) service company all in one. It was fun, and exhausting.
It ended up being a great opportunity to be students of our craft while giving us something useful in the end. Regardless of whether other Harvest users find it as enjoyable and useful as we do, at least we've created something that solved an internal dilemma. We've decided to launch Clockwork as a free app. If we see that demand is there and get feedback and requests for more features then maybe we'll look into building a pro version and see where that takes us. Meanwhile, we're happy to sit back and bask in the pride of finishing our own app. Here's a little visual sampling:
This was a great experience for us to walk a mile in our clients' shoes and understand to an even deeper level their point of view, motivators and fears. We felt the temptation to cut corners, jump the gun and tack on features. It hurt for us to let our darlings die and to hear user feedback we weren't expecting. We know what that feels like now, and believe that it better prepares us to help guide our clients along the strait and narrow with understanding and camaraderie. Ultimately, wearing the hat of product company for a day, made us a better service company.
Ultimately, wearing the hat of product company for a day, made us a better service company.
How's that for a dream come true?
For all of you Harvest users out there, if you want to start tracking time like a boss on your iPad, download ClockWork, now available in the app store. Enjoy.