I think it is necessary to explain my current situation here in general, because the context is probably important:

I am the youngest (25) employee in my company (a small IT consulting company with ~15 employees). I got a bachelor's degree in computer science and I started working in this company about 2.5 years ago as a Junior IT Consultant.

I was working for more than a year in a (pretty big) external project as a developer/programmer with no leadership responsibilities. However, because of the very big distance from my hometown to that workplace I switched to our "inhouse" software product team. This team consisted of 2 developers, one of them being the "team" lead with more experience than the other. They were both working on this project for about 2 years now. Pretty soon after I joined them, the less experienced guy left the company leaving only me and the "team leader" behind.

I was doing a pretty good job by bringing in my experiences from this big project I was before, combined with my good technical knowledge and thus received a promotion about a month ago to "IT Consultant" (no Junior anymore).

The software will start to be in production in about 2 or 3 months from now, but the development will keep going after that. It could be pretty successful since we already have a few hundred potential companies as our customers.

Now the current "team leader" has quit and in three months he will be gone. Because I got the most insight and experience in this software project now, it was obvious that I will take his place.

Since the project is probably going to grow soon, there will be about 2 or 3 new employees soon and I'm supposed to lead them within this project.

Since my responsabilities grew a lot lately, and will also in the future, I want to negotiate some further advantages (money-wise) with my boss. I'm most interested in some kind of profit participation, since this project could really become pretty successful. However I'm pretty new within this company and the team is small. Is it common for a software project leader to receive a profit participation from the sales of the product? What else could be an alternative to ask for, in exchange for taking more responsabilities?

  • My boss offered me more money in exchange for a 6 months cancellation period. So I think I'm really in a good position here currently. – noone Aug 11 '14 at 10:18
  • At a small startup it's not at all uncommon for early/key employees to receive some amount of equity in the company (in the U.S. and Australia, anyways). I'm not sure if that's the same thing as 'profit participation', but it sounds like it's probably comparable. – aroth Aug 11 '14 at 11:56

Is it common for a software project leader to receive a profit participation from the sales of the product?

I've never worked at a company where software project leaders received a portion of the profits from the sales of a product they worked on. I don't know of any companies that work that way.

Perhaps it's different in your company. Did the prior Project Leader get paid based on product profits this way?

What else could be an alternative to ask for, in exchange for taking more responsibilities?

Most people who get promoted also get a raise. If it hasn't already been offered, that seems like something reasonable to ask for.


I know I personally always prefer a pay increase to profit sharing, but if that's what you'd prefer I'd encourage you to talk to your superiors about it.

Personally, I would lay out a business case for a raise. Present why you are a crucial team member, how you've grown rapidly as a employee and now offer a greater value to the company, and how you'll likely have to work more or harder to train the new hires. Keep in mind that your pay is just a small portion of the cost to your company of you working there, improved pay doesn't cost them more for workspace or benefits or licensing fees. Perhaps seek out other opportunities more suited to your unusually high degree of experience per year and see what the going rate for your skills are (your company can be reasonably be expected to value you even more because of your direct experience with their project). If you want to go a profit sharing route, the numbers and the logistics are messier, but you'll make want to make similar points with an additional consideration for your increased degree of dedication to the project and company. Keep in that, unlike the method I suggest for asking for a raise, you'll only be able to do profit sharing once and then you'll lose a lot of career mobility and negotiation potential in the future. You should probably get more in the short term from profit sharing for these reasons.

Key words: business case, team member. Use these a lot. Your employer is in the business of making money, and risking losing crucial employees through pay practices is not the way to do that, but you'll have to get around the knee jerk reaction of fiscal conservatism.


Maybe you can convince them to sign a document with goals for your team, and depending on the results expected vs what you have achieved then you can negotiate (for you and your team) a performance bonus. That's not uncommon at all - if the company is doing well, numbers are green and revenue is growing, there's no way (unless *greedy b*st*rds*) the company would say no to that. After all, you and your team will be motivated to reach the goals proposed in the document, and the company will benefit of that as well.

Take advantage of your position - you are the only one that knows about a product they have been developing during the past few years... they can't afford losing you. Basically, if you leave, they loss money.

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