Here’s a quick round-up of the latest batch of features in the new release of Tempo time tracking.
Time tracking is critical to any service business but it doesn’t stand alone. After all, at the end of the month you need to get paid! Tempo isn’t an accounting system but we now make it really easy to prepare invoices with two of the best:
- Blinksale – the easiest way to send invoices online and
- Quickbooks – the most complicated way to send invoices offline. Just kidding on that last part. Sort of.
If you’re on a Moderato+ plan then generating an invoice is easy and works right from the Time & Reports screen – what you see is what you get. Select your report criteria (dates, projects, people, tags) and the invoice will be generated for the time entries in view. Here’s some more info.
Like many companies we like Basecamp for project management. Now Moderato+ users can import from Basecamp so project setup only takes a few seconds. Tempo will even send invites out to your team.
In the past we’ve been hesitant to add a timer to Tempo but, based on feedback from our users, we’ve caved. Tempo is about flexibility and giving you more options. The Tempo Bookmarklet now has a small ‘start timer’ link under the Hours field that will time you at your tasks.
Borrowing from Mr. Rick Olsen, we included detection of a user’s time zone directly from the web browser. With this change in place Tempo will be much friendlier for international users and will correctly display default dates and time ranges.
Shortly after we released mobile time-tracking features, we made it possible to tweet your time with Twitter. Setup is a snap and many of our users like the flexibility this option provides. There has already been some great buzz about this, but we never really made an “official” announcement. So there it is!
In the past we’ve restricted free plan users from using the project dashboard and making changes to their “default” project. But now free plan users get dashboard access, can rename their project and set an estimate. Even better, they can be added as project “managers” by folks on premium plans. As a project manager a user can see the project on their dashboard, track it vs. its estimate, and see the team roster.
Tonight’s system maintenance was a success and is now complete. Tempo and PingMe are back up and fully operational. Keep an eye out for a few upcoming posts about new features and changes in Tempo. Here’s a teaser:
Over a year ago, when we were first putting together PingMe, a system not entirely unlike Twitter, we had a pretty good idea what the real potential was for a revenue model and how valuable it could be.
A few weeks back we posited these thoughts in public because the discussion of Twitter's likely potential for revenue keeps coming up in the blogosphere and it seems like everyone is missing the obvious: sticking small, meme-sized ads in the tweets themselves, based on context and relationships, and exploiting the nearly unbounded impression space. Nice to see somebody agrees with us about the context part of things, even though I think ReadWriteWeb is getting the means wrong.
I'm pretty sure that if Twitter started sending direct advertisements to their users, as opposed to embedded ones, they'd chase their users away to the clone services that are starting to emerge and which will mature. I don't think people will pay to subscribe to Twitter to escape the ads; when a service has been free for almost two years (a long time on the Internet), that kind of conversion is probably not in the cards (although not impossible). The potential revenue in just embedding ads is so high that I doubt they'd risk angering their user base with direct ads.
On top of that, it was a few months ago that some Tweets were arriving on my phone with an embedded ad for Twitter itself at the end of it, signaling, IMHO, that that would be the ad space in the future.
I should mention that since we started using our direct-embedding method in PingMe messages to briefly mention our other products and brands, we've yet to have any complaints from our users. You can't ask for better than that (well, aside from goal conversions).
Over the past few months we've been getting a lot of great feed back from users of Tempo, we've been squashing bugs, and we've been working really hard on a number of new features and service integrations. We've also been continuously striving to streamline the interface and make it even easier to use.
This Sunday, May 11th, from 9pm to 12am Eastern, Tempo will be offline while we perform the latest batch of updates -- this is a big one! Stay tuned...
P.S. During the same time period, PingMe will be unavailable for system maintenance -- no pings will be sent and the web interface will be unavailable.
We’ve been hard at work improving the user interface in Tempo. Some of these changes came out of fielding questions from our users, some came out of feature requests, and some are born out of how we use Tempo, and our desire to get more out of the app for our own business purposes. In particular we’ve noticed that the charting capabilities didn’t seem as evident as we’d like them to be, and we were beginning to feel that the heads-up-display (we call it the HUD) could be made far more useful at a glance if we tweaked some of the stats available.
First things first, we got rid of the jelly beans, and changed the stats boxes to provide the hours, people, projects and percentage utilization for the current report, along with a spark line graph showing the hours over the given time period:
Click to embiggen!
Looks like I just got back from a vacation and peaked around Wednesday! If you click the Hours field, you’ll be presented with the Hours Over Time graph, if you click the People field, you’ll get the pie chart break down of People by Hours, clicking Utilization presents you with our newest graph (I’ll get to that in a second), and clicking the sparkline of hours over time will cause the new Charts display to wipe down from the top menu.
And yup, if you’re looking closely, the top menu did change. Each header wipes down an icon-based menu with your charts, exports and saved reports. Here’s what the Charts display looks like:
Click to embiggen!
So we should probably talk about the Utilization chart and what that percentage statistic means in the HUD. Showing you the chart first will make explaining it a bit easier:
Click to embiggen!
The Utilization chart is really handy because it shows me very quickly what my time looks like broken down by date, and I can easily spot gaps in my billing (like Monday when I was still on vacation!). The light blue bar across the top between seven and nine hours denotes what you might consider a full work day so you can compare that against your recorded time. The Utilization percentage in the new HUD simply denotes the percentage of time you’ve recorded against the full work day.
As you can see the charts also now have a link in each to our Help section where you can get more information about the chart if you find yourself scratching your head.
Just like Add Entry and Charts wipe down above the HUD, so do Exports and Saved Reports:
We’ve got some other big changes coming within the next few weeks, including some new integrations with other services that some folks have been asking for, so stay tuned!