The most productive programmers are orders of magnitude more productive than average programmers…
… The best programmers do not necessarily write 10x as many lines of code and they certainly do not work 10x longer hours.
Programmers are most effective when they avoid writing code. They may realize the problem they’re being asked to solve doesn’t need to be solved, that the client doesn’t actually want what they’re asking for. They may know where to find reusable or re-editable code that solves their problem.
…It may take a while to realize that someone routinely comes up with such time-saving insights. Or to put it negatively, it may take a long time to realize that others are programming with sound and fury but producing nothing.
The romantic image of an über-programmer is someone who fires up Emacs, types like a machine gun, and delivers a flawless final product from scratch. A more accurate image would be someone who stares quietly into space for a few minutes and then says “Hmm. I think I’ve seen something like this before.”