While generalizations are fine sometimes you can get too general. I do like where the 80/20 comes from and the overall vagueness behind it. However, there seems to be a couple of problems.
- There are some people who want to be 20%, but don’t have the time to manage it other than at work.
- Part of the 20% is only learning and can’t be pushers and innovators.
- Those that enjoy development, but don’t care enough about being better to be a 20%
The above people do exist and in the chart 10% area is where they sit. So this is where I disagree with Jeff Atwood (coding horror).
As I work with teams of programmers in the field, I’m consistently struck by the yawning abyss between that 20% and the rest of the world. It makes the divide between the open-source and Microsoft camps look like a shallow ditch.
While there may be a big divide there are those in between that do bridge the gap. So I honestly think the numbers should be restructured a bit to allow for this maybe a 75% 10% and 15% with the 10% in the middle like below.
The biggest reason I have a problem with two distinct groups that are defined by Ben Collins-Sussman
The 20% folks are what many would call “alpha” programmers – the leaders, trailblazers, trendsetters
The 80% folks make up the bulk of the software development industry. They’re not stupid; they’re merely vocational.
That totally leaves out enthusiastic beginners and some of my friends and colleagues that want to be the above 20%, but really don’t fit in the 80% either. So I guess that means the definitions need to be either further refined or the numbers need to be slightly altered.
What are your thoughts? Am I wrong?