Just good an email from Christoph Steindl, a former IBM colleague, where he used to co-lead the Agile@IBM community and write an excellent blog.
Are you familiar with the Coding Wars in Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister's Peopleware? Christoph is into something similar: the cool Catalysts' Coding Contest (CCC) that his company is running:
They will be running the contest in Linz, Austria (with post food and beverages) and in Second Life (do avatars drink and eat?).
Catalysts organizes a coding contest to go further into some of these questions.
- Who is faster? Who is more efficient? Who is more effective? Who is more productive?
- Does "Pair Programming" really make you faster?
- Does "Test-Driven Development" really lead to fewer bugs?
- How many ways are there to solve a problem?
- Is it right that good developers only write 30 lines of code for which mediocre developers need to write 300 lines?
Looks like a bright idea to me. I bet that having participants with different backgrounds, and letting anonymous participation will provide coders and organizers useful insight. I don't know if other companies do this sort of thing internally, but it looks like very interesting way to get information, a honest measurement not linked to rewards and punishments (note to self: bring this to IBM's internal ThinkPlace).
I'm even considering ignoring my usual too-busy-with-real-life-to-get-me-a-second-life to be able to participate via Second Life.