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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

10x programmers and techs? 10x is being conservative.

Have you ever heard the premise that some programmers are 10 times as effective as others? I'm willing to believe that it's true. There have been enough encounters with people to convince me of this.

I want to extend it. I think it can also extend to system administration tasks and support issues. I also think that 10 times is a conservative figure. I have hard data which inspired this conclusion.

Here are ticket closing numbers for a bunch of tech support people from June 1 to December 15 of a year not too long ago. The results may surprise you.

That's a total of 13970 tickets. Split evenly across 17 techs, that's about 821 tickets each, or about 5.8% of the load. As you can see, some came in well below that, and some blew past it.

That lowest tech who closed 119 tickets only handled 0.85% of the overall load. By way of comparison, the top tech with 2096 closed handled 15%!

That makes the top tech over 17 times more effective than the worst tech. This also makes the top tech almost 2.5 times higher than the "fair share" load of 5.8%!

Feeding this data to Wolfram Alpha yields some numbers for the statistically-minded. The mean is 821.8, the median is 722, and the sample's standard deviation is 494.8.

Or here, just look at it as a number line, also courtesy of WA:

Number line

It's lonely out there on the right.