Big Release – Timesheet Views and Support for BIG groupsPosted: February 25, 2009
This release has some pretty exciting new features as well as some important back-end improvements. It also is our first full release with a new member of our senior team, Mark Wolgemuth (welcome, Mark!).
The most visible improvement in this release is what we’re calling the “timesheet” view. When surveying our customers (which we do an awful lot– thanks to all of our customers for such fabulous and constant feedback!), the most popular feature request has been something to help individuals and teams understand the “flow” of how they spend time. This has been a popular request for a while. While there are plenty of challenges with this feature, the biggest was trying to nail down exactly how something like this would work– “flow” is a hard thing to capture. Montana Low, one of our fabulous developers, rigged up a prototype of what eventually made it into the application. We hope you’re as pleased with the results as we are.
This timesheet view is comprised of two main bits:
The Graph (this graph is available- and is now the default– for the Apps & Sites page, the main Categories page, and the main Tags page. Here’s an example of my categories page graph:
The Data Table. Here’s an example of my categories page data table for the same day:
We think that this type of data presentation is darned cool– it gives you a sense of flow and allows you to dig around in your time like never before. Like all views, you can add this view to your dashboard.
Another new bit on the site is a revised header with some improved calendar controls. The goal here was to retain the 1-click goodness of being able to jump to current periods but make exploring past data a bit more accessible. We also wanted to “marry” the date/filter controls a bit more to the reports that they were driving.
New Header when you click on “Select Dates”:
Improvements for Business Teams
Business teams now have the ability to see total group time in aggregate as well as the time for the typical user. The graph below shows the typical time for users of apps/sites categorized as “Dev Tools”. This is essentially an average time for those periods only for people who use these tools. So, for cross-functional teams, your average time doesn’t get confused when team members don’t engage in that activity. You can see that when the mouse hovers over a dot, you get details on that day. Also note that the dot size varies depending how many people in that group engaged in that activity (see the Sunday dot– clearly most of the team was sensibly taking the day off that day!).
As a startup in this economy, we’re especially focused on our business customers. If you’d like to talk about how RescueTime can work at your company, drop us a line. And if RescueTime is missing a feature that’s critical for you, we want to hear about it.
It’s not very sexy to talk about what’s happening with our infrastructure and databases, but there are amazing things happening there. RescueTime can now comfortably handle truly enormous business groups for larger companies (something we’ve seen a ton of demand for). You can’t manage what you can’t measure– and RescueTime is giving managers insight into what previously has been nearly impossible to measure– how people spend their time at work. This might sound scary to some, but we think it’s a good thing (read on!).
How We Talk about RescueTime for Businesses
We’ve seen it on Twitter, in blog posts, and in email feedback:
“I *love* RescueTime– I sure hope my boss doesn’t find out about it, though.”
While we appreciate the love, we’re vehemently opposed to the workplace secrecy that it implies and we’re starting to evangelize the notion of radical workplace transparency on our new/seperate business-centric site. While it might be scary for your boss to see how you spend your time, it shouldn’t be scary if everyone can see how everyone spends their time (ideally, including your boss). Think about it– how much energy gets spent by people appearing to be productive? We all do it, but some people are startlingly good at it. With furtive alt-tabs to Excel when people walk by, staying late even though they’ve burned out hours before and are really just spinning their wheels, writing long emails and cc’ing entire departments– they’ve mastered the art of faux-productivity. On the other side of the coin, there are people who aren’t good at these games (or choose not to engage in them) – and people might resent them for appearing less productive than their average co-worker. RescueTime removes this dishonesty, and with it the guilt and resentment that can come along with it– all while giving managers and co-workers critical insight into their most important resource– their own time and attention.