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17.2. Profit Centers and Cost Centers

Upper management has two primary considerations when evaluating a business case: the financial cost and the financial benefit. In practice, the kind of business case you write will depend on whether your team is seen as a Profit Center or a Cost Center.

  • Profit center:  A profit center brings in more revenue than it spends. Product development organizations are typical profit centers. Even if you do not derive revenue directly from documentation, if your content is an integral part of a product or service and you report into a development organization, you will probably be perceived as part of a profit center.
  • Cost center:  A cost center spends more than it brings in. IT, HR, janitorial services, ...

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