How to demonstrate impact

There are two fundamental ways to demonstrate impact for your company: generate revenue or cut costs. How do you measure that impact as a software engineer?

Ways you can generate revenue

The advice I’ve always heard is to be part of a revenue-generating division in a company. While engineering on the whole is a cost center, the easy way to tell if you are on the revenue side is asking yourself “does my product make money?” If the answer is an emphatic yes then you’re good. Usually product teams are revenue generators. As an individual, here are the ways you add revenue to your bottom line:

  • Measure the value of the work you do. Does your new product offering increase conversions? By how much? How much is a conversion worth?
  • Up-sell, cross-sell, and ensure that all of your products are easy to find
  • Make your application fast and accessible
  • Take a tour of customer service by answering emails/calls - not only will you improve customer relations you will likely source new ideas for products or improving existing ones
  • Participate in hackathons - famous examples of product innovations include the Facebook like button, PhoneGap and the entire company of GroupMe (which was later bought by Skype and then Microsoft)

Ways you can cut costs

If you aren’t adding revenue then the next best thing is to cut costs. If you work on R&D, infrastructure, DevOps, or IT, then you are part of a cost center and your focus should be on cutting costs. Here are ways you can cut costs as an individual engineer:

  • Find a cheaper alternative for a tool you already use
  • Build an in-house replacement for something you use as a tool
  • Take over something that is being maintained by consultants (i.e. consultants are expensive)
  • Say “no” to meetings without agendas, goals, and action items
  • Use automation tools that save you significant amounts of time

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