Cloudthread Y Combinator
November 8, 2023

Getting Usage Optimization Started

A strategy for engaging engineers to make usage optimization a breeze.

Many FinOps practitioners wonder what’s the best way of communicating with engineers to facilitate usage optimization. Clearly not all engineers are the same and each may require a special approach within an overall strategy, but the fact remains that having an overarching strategy can not only save time, but also create consistent cost savings results. In this blog article, we’re going to explore the components to a strategy that we think has the best chance of success.


First and foremost, getting buy-in from engineers is a must for any strategy that has a hope of succeeding. At Cloudthread, we believe there is good news here: more engineers than you might think are ready help save money. Why? Because more engineers than you think care about the overall performance of their solutions, not just making sure that things work. Engineers are never satisfied when they build something inefficient or demonstrably wasteful. This doesn’t mean V1 is the most optimal, but in the back of their heads they’ve already planned on a V2 and the improvements therein. In discussing usage optimization with engineers, frame recommendations in terms of whether they think a given technical solution needs all of its provisioned infrastructure. Maybe there’s a way to make small code improvements that can yield big infrastructure improvements. In this way, the engineers will approach the recommendation as a chance to do more with less, not as an annoying task that simply helps some other team hit their goals.


Engineers are busy, so it’s important they have everything they need to act. The best way to do this is to standardize the template and information of a recommendation based on feedback from them. It will include obvious things like infrastructure resource identification and the appropriate action to be taken, but may include information like recent activity, priority, or contribution to a cost savings target. Keeping things easy is the goal — less clicks to figure out what’s going on the better.


It may seem counterintuitive sometimes, but setting KPIs and goals for the engineering teams makes things easier, not harder, for the people working on usage optimization. It adds credence to the prioritizations and allows for proper planning across sprints and quarters. Further (and equally important), it gives you the ability to communicate success overtime both back to the engineering teams and management. This reward loop feeds into our Buy-In point by connecting strategic engineering (our term for engineers who engineer with a holistic approach) with company success, but also can then become the input to Gamification, our next point.


While not necessary if you’ve successfully pulled on the heart strings of your engineers, we consider gamification even in this case a nice way to make usage optimization a continuous experience rather than a set of random tasks appearing out of nowhere. Leaderboards, game days, and tangible, fun, rewards all have the effect of creating incentives overtime and turn the topic from a “once in a blue moon” one to a part of how engineers approach their planning. Who doesn’t want to be the team having a big company impact while also improving overall company performance? The goal is never to make the process acrimonious, but there’s plenty of space to make things fun without making things mean.

Interactions and Integrations

The last part of the puzzle is to allow engineers to consume their usage optimization work however they see fit. Whether this is creating projects to organize activity, creating tickets to push things over the finish line, or keeping track of tasks in their own way via programmatic interactions, your job is to put in place a system that works for them. As noted in the Context part of the strategy, engineers have limited time and making sure they don’t spend time accessing their tasks is critical. Good implementations of usage optimization typically die here – nailing everything but having a solution that is unused by engineering means your still sitting at square one.

How Cloudthread Can Help

Cloudthread is the first platform addressing these points explicitly, and it’s our mission to be the best platform for engaging your engineering teams. We provide all the tools you need to perform each part of an effective strategy. Whether it’s a community built around buy-in to help convert non-believers into being strategic engineering advocates, unparalleled context, on platform workflow capabilities, or integrations into major engineering platforms, we’ve built a platform that makes usage optimization easy, regardless of how much experience you have working with engineering teams.

Contact us today to learn more about how Cloudthread can transform your cloud cost optimization strategy.

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Copyright © 2024 CloudThread Inc. All rights reserved