Rietta is a small software development team based in the US. All five of them are security enthusiasts, working with other development shops or product owners directly, towards improving the security of their applications.
Like most developers, they exist to deliver high-quality code, with an emphasis on security. Their work consists of three types of projects:
- Already existing projects adopted for maintenance and future work
- Security audits
- New project build-outs which include future maintenance
All of these projects, except audits, are intended to go on indefinitely, meaning there will be many hours logged and invoices issued. That’s exactly what made them look for a better way to manage their processes.
The problem with delivering invoices on time
In the past, they were using a combination of Harvest and Freshbooks. However, they were struggling with delivering invoices on time. This was a big issue since most of their projects are billed monthly, and invoicing on time directly impacts their cash flow.
Ever since they have implemented Productive that struggle has disappeared. They record the flat monthly budget once, and Productive takes care of the rest. It reminds them to invoice on time and keeps track of hours spent on the recurring maintenance projects.
Hours spent on maintenance projects
Maintenance and retainers are often a trap because agencies don’t have an accurate overview of how much time they are spending on them. That often leads to unrealistic estimates and price rates, because without a clear overview of hours spent on maintenance projects, it’s hard to improve future estimates.
What makes any agency a successful business is receiving more money than what they end up spending. Productive allows them to log hours of each individual employee, even against internal activities which are not client related or billable. This gives Rietta relevant metrics they use to improve their billable rates, adjust employee rates and assess if an employee is pulling enough weight.
After switching to Productive
The progress of Rietta’s developers is quite rapid and that’s why their hourly rates increase quite often. This, of course, has an effect on project profitability, because the same person was paid differently at the beginning of the project and three months after.
With their previous tool, Harvest, they didn’t have the flexibility of changing someone’s salary mid project so they had to run numerous reports in spreadsheets to get accurate insights.
After switching to Productive, they stopped using spreadsheets for tracking project budgets and profitability. All of their reporting is done by the tool itself, saving time and reducing overhead.
Save hours on invoicing
The team claims they have saved a couple of hours on invoicing each month. Every single hour their team tracks is tied directly to budgets and invoices, which has helped them decrease the number of non-billable hours.
Because project budgets in Productive are connected with invoicing directly, it makes it harder to make mistakes in billing and gives them direct accountability of what was done and what they need to charge.
Aside from billing on time, the biggest benefit Rietta has experienced since implementing Productive is having a clear idea of what their hours are spent on. A lot of their hours have previously went into “empty space”, but since they have gained more control over where their time is going, they started billing more too.