10x Difference in Software Developers

I finished reading Uncle Bob's posting on Master Craftsman Teams and in the comments was a link to Steve McConnell on 10x differences in software developers.

I encourage you to read both articles along with the comments attached to each.

In McConnell's article was a paragraph that made me stop and think for a bit:

"Another factor is that, while numerous studies have found 10x differences among individuals, researchers have not found 10-fold differences among programmers working within the same organizations. Some research has found that good programmers tend to cluster within certain companies, average programmers tend to cluster within other companies, and so on (Mills 1983). So even if there’s a 10x difference industrywide, the difference you’d typically see within a given company is more like 3-5x from best to worst, which means the difference from best to average is more like 1.5x or 2x within any given company."

So which company am I in and with whom have I clustered? What about you?

I can say with certainty that I've spent some time at the bottom of the scale. Rallying against not only the organization as a whole, but against the fear and apathy of my own team. Clustered they had. And they settled in an environment that supported them. I posit to you - should you ever find yourself in this situation, it is far easier to change your circumstance that it is to change an organization. I should have left far sooner than I did.

Today, I find myself surrounded by wonderful, talented, people. I suspect I pull down the multiplier, but I aspire to be one of them. And the best way I know to improve yourself is to surround yourself with people who are much better than you. People who can push you, challenge you, and teach you. It worked for me as a musician. It worked for me as a runner. I am certain it will work for me as a software developer.

Look around. What end of the multiplier do you think you are on in your current organization? And are you clustered with the top, middle, or bottom of the scale?

Is that where you want to be...?