Everhour Story — Finding our Product Market Fit
As it often happens, Everhour was started after an internal problem.
After founding our web consulting company Weavora (back in 2010), we were in quest for a perfect time tracking and reporting tool for almost 3 years.
We tried everything from non-tracking time (but understood we couldn’t just dream up numbers) to using spreadsheets and lots of popular time and project management systems.
Unfortunately, none was good enough for us and loved by our team. We saw them logging time with great reluctance, mostly post factum, thus not accurate.
Our ideal tool was supposed to:
- Solve needs of our small team (less bureaucracy — better);
- Be truly intuitive and even geeky to be loved by developers who aren’t big fans of reporting;
- Help us provide clients with actual hours spent and be completely transparent with them;
- Give the basis for analysis of initial estimates vs actual time spent;
- Feature an opportunity for quick and easy reporting;
— Jun, 2013 —
Building the initial MVP (v.0.1) didn’t take us too long. It was a fairly simple internal tool that just works and solves one specific problem — make our employees report time accurately, without a reminder.
Using the input bar, you could type in the name of a project you’re working on (beginning with an @character) and describe the activity you’re dealing with, along with time and date. Everything in a single line.
In other words, if you could tweet, you could everhour.
But very quickly we realized that the existing approach isn’t effective in practice.
In fact, 90–95% of what we’re working on daily, already exists as a separate task in our project management system (GitHub in our case).
And to be precise, you have to go to GitHub → copy the name of the task you are working on → return to Everhour → paste it into time entry notes field → run timer.
And this is a problem.
Why on earth you need this duplicate operation? Why can’t we make synchronization with GitHub, so that we could simply select the task from the list in Everhour and start the timer against it? “Awesome! Let’s do it”, we approved quickly.
— Nov, 2013 —
This is why and when we built our first integration.
In addition, we always wanted to be super transparent with our clients. Reporting of total time by project, member or week in our opinion did not give much insights on the project and process.
And because our integration included the synchronization of all meta information about tasks, we’ve got a variety of new possibilities in our reports.
Like time spent on different milestones, how long tasks with #high-priority label took, and how long with #low, what was the distribution between time in #feature versus #bug etc…
Our customers loved the reports we were sending them, and quickly began to wonder what kind of software we use for that, and then asked to give them access for their own needs.
This is when we decided to start a separate line of business, and soon opened our doors to all interested parties.
— July, 2014 —
Summer began with the fact that we needed another Pivot.
We asked ourselves, why are we forcing people to go to our web site? Why can’t time tracking happen directly from their project management tool? Why a company should spend extra time training its staff about yet another tool?
Everyone is overwhelmed with apps nowadays. In our opinion a manager can open Everhour and build any report when they need it, while the employee keep working in a familiar environment and just sees extra button to start timer.
Decision had been taken!
Secondly, GitHub (like many other tools) do not provide with a native functionality of estimates. Whereas it is very difficult to control the project without both variables — original estimate and time spent.
Finally, we thought it would be so cool to see “time vs estimate” next to each task title in GitHub interface. It is very effective when all team members can see how much time and efforts each task took, rather than just a manager building a report every few weeks.
— Sep, 2014 —
This is why we built an extension/add-on for the most popular browsers that embeds all necessary controls and details directly into a 3d party interface.
Because it looked so native, we had a lot of funny situations when users addressed GitHub related topics to our support crew and vice versa :)
At the same time we realized that we did too much bad architectural decisions and too much workarounds. It would be hard to grow our existing tool any further.
Originally we were building a tool only for our own needs, while every new user, every business has its own workflows and policies.
In addition, initially we did not consider other integrations (which we added later) like Trello, Asana, Basecamp, Pivotal. At the time we were using just one — GitHub. Thus we faced many bottlenecks with synchronization, limits, performance, naming etc. while adding them.
23 September, 2015 — we introduced our payment plans and found our first paying customer.
— Sep, 2016 —
The next significant milestone for our product.
The date when we have completely redesigned our product based on internal ideas and issues, feedback collected from our paying customers, plans of growth, future features and integrations.
— Today —
As of today we are actively developing the product, we are a self-funded, profitable company with a crystal clear focus and well-coordinated team.
Our product is used all over the world by customers from 35+ different industries.
Mike Kulakov, Co-Founder, Product Owner
Constantly in search of new opportunities, responsible for growth strategy as well as the team’s motivation and integrity.
Mike is a big fan of gym, tennis, snowboard, traveling, business books, and (of course) generating new ideas.
Yury Tolochko, Co-Founder, CTO
An Agile guy, no stranger to high load and knows how to handle big data.
Yury is extremely good at raising the bar high making the team buckle down.
As sporty as he is smart, Yury is always up to volleyball and snowboarding.
Provides the ultimate quality control and is equally good at manual and automated QA.
Artem is certainly the team’s best specialist in functional testing.
Artem loves marine aquariums, golden retrievers, drifting and also spending a bit of time killing monsters in VR.
With experience in pr, social media, marketing automation, blogging, brand management and more, Kate brings a creative and diverse marketing perspective to our team.
Kate is fan of traveling and photographing. Brings up adopted kitten Mitten.
Always up for new tasks and offering alternative solutions. Alex is always having a responsible approach and the right attitude to work, never lets down anyone asking for help. Master of persuading and reasoning his point.
Followed by a corporate policy, avid snowboarder as well as active participant in all foosball events.
His passion and eagerness to learn have always motivated him to keep pace with the fast changing world of front-end development.
When Sergey isn’t writing code, he’s most likely viewing night sky objects or busy with food styling and photography.
Waclaw, Customer Success
Waclaw is the first from Everhour team to welcome new users and help them feel comfortable using the product.
He can be seeing reading a book or playing football on a good day.
Everhour In Numbers
Paying customers = 770 and counting
Time reported to date = 5,312,689 hours and counting
Tasks synchronized = 10,218,112 and counting
Projects = 179,792
Integrations = 5
Support tickets answered = 3,908 and counting
Date of first paying customer = 23 September, 2015
Average release cycle = 1.5 weeks
Our Future Plans
Everhour team is never done with refining the product and is always open to our dear customers’ feedback and valuable suggestions. It’s vital that we not only promote our vision of a perfect time management app but also do it in line with the users’ needs and expectations.
However, we never tend to get down to whatever comes to mind or is suggested right away.
Keeping the app easy and intuitive is held as the major principle and too many features may destroy the balance.
We plan to further improve the existing integrations, as well as add the new ones, especially those with no native functionality for time tracking. Where we can provide real value.
We also want to add a financial component. Time is literally money: a certain job is expected to take a certain amount of time, and that amount of time will determine how much your client will pay. From issuing invoices, to expenses tracking and various accounting integrations.
At some point we plan to give API access to the product, so our customers can use their time data in its internal projects.
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