Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Better Development Through Competition? 251

theodp writes "Among the tips Derek Sivers offers for how to hire a programmer to make your ideas happen is an intriguing one: hire more than one person to complete your first programming milestone, with the expectation that one will go bad, one will be so-so, and one will be great. 'Yes it means you're paying multiple times for this first milestone,' says Sivers, 'but it's worth it to find a good one.' It's not a new idea — the practice of pitting two different programmers against each other on the same task was noted three decades ago in Tracy Kidder's Soul of a New Machine — but one that never gained widespread acceptance. Should the programming code-off be adopted as a software development best practice?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Better Development Through Competition?

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Practicality (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 20, 2010 @09:42AM (#32631706)

    You've never worked for an American corporation, have you? Most of the time, they're nothing more than civil wars between different managers and executives.

  • Re:Practicality (Score:4, Informative)

    by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @09:52AM (#32631738) Journal

    Contract rates? Where have you been the last 10 years. Contract rates start at 10 rupees.

  • by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @10:27AM (#32631932)

    Good call. They should hire four programmers!

  • by walmass ( 67905 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @10:30AM (#32631946)
    The story in TSNM: one programmer was asked to build something quick and dirty in 6 weeks, the other one was asked to build something much more detailed. the quick and dirty version was used until the detailed version came out 5 months after the first one. There was friendly competition, but this does not match at all the "one will fail, one will be so-so and one will be great."
  • by deuterium ( 96874 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @12:38PM (#32632846)

    Exactly. My brother, who works for a Dow 30 company, said that during a company seminar on HR, the speaker made an analogy regarding an individual's role in the organization. He asked them to think of putting their hand in a bucket of water, and then withdrawing it, then asked "how fast does the water replace your hand when you take it out?" Instantly. "That's how quickly you can be replaced."

    They don't care if you're exceptional, only that you're adequate, because it's a lot of work to identify exceptional workers and there aren't many of them. Unless you're the CEO or a VP, you're not setting policies, you're only following them, so followers are needed.

  • Maybe Not (Score:3, Informative)

    by Javagator ( 679604 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @01:56PM (#32633332)
    pitting two different programmers against each other on the same task was noted three decades ago in Tracy Kidder's Soul of a New Machine

    The book mentioned in the summary is about a project at Data General. I think it is interesting that they aren't in business anymore.

    At my company, every one knows who the best programmers are, even management. We don't need this kind of nonsense.

  • Re:Metrics (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 20, 2010 @04:21PM (#32634338)

    Wrong. Implementing an expression parser (with operator precedence) requires a PDA and not a simple FSM.

    --Same AC as above, who just happens to know "the teory behind finite state manichnes and their use in writing parsers"

  • Define "good" (Score:2, Informative)

    by Kittenman ( 971447 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @07:40PM (#32635702)
    Written quickly or bullet-proof? Easily maintainable? With accompanying documentation or free-standing? Open and extensible?
  • by furball ( 2853 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @07:41PM (#32635712) Journal

    This is how America's Special Forces work. The team gets a mission. Everyone comes up with a plan. The team goes over the plan. The good one emerges. The ones not as good fade out. Everyone pokes and prods the good plans until they figure out which one is going to bring about the mission results.

    That is the plan the team executes. But at the beginning, everyone on the team has a plan.

Consultants are mystical people who ask a company for a number and then give it back to them.