One of the most popular post on this site is Why programmers are not paid in proportion to their productivity. In that post I mention that it’s not uncommon to find some programmers who are ten times more productive than others. Some of the comments discussed whether there was academic research in support of that claim.
I’ve seen programmers who were easily 10x more productive than their peers. I imagine most people who have worked long enough can say the same. I find it odd to ask for academic support for something so obvious. Yes, you’ve seen it in the real world, but has it been confirmed in an artificial, academic environment?
Still, some things are commonly known that aren’t so. Is the 10x productivity difference exaggerated folklore? Steve McConnell has written an article reviewing the research behind this claim: Origins of 10x — How valid is the underlying research?. He concludes
The body of research that supports the 10x claim is as solid as any research that’s been done in software engineering.