For purely technical projects/platform work, how do you convey the impact to leadership/performance review committee? During performance review, do managers care about the impact of technical projects?
One thing we try to do is treat platform teams as enablers of delivery teams, i.e any platform work should impact product work directly. Sometimes we can quantify direct impact, but most of the time the impact is indirect which is hard to back by data and quantify.
Another angle is that delivery team engineers are the customers of platform team - If we enable them to deliver valuable feature faster and cheaper, we succeed. Again, this is hard to quantify with concrete data.
So my overall question is: How do you link and quantify technical projects like app optimization and performance improvements to direct product and business impact?
Here are a few ideas for how to think about the impact of technical projects:
I definitely agree that we should focus on business impact when trying to evaluate any type of work. Another important factor is complexity. And ideally both of these factors should be covered in a package for Performance reviews to justify engineer's work.
Coming back to your question, impact for BE could be measured in terms of its influence on business. And usually there are internal and external facing BE project impact:
I also want to mention that sometimes companies even put a special emphasis on BE projects. E.g. Facebook has a special axis for their calibrations called Engineering Excellence. So they expect each engineer to regularly spend their efforts dedicated to the projects in this area.
Recommended additional resources: