Quality of development work unrelated to time spent

Joel Spolsky recently added an article to his Joel on Software site, continuing his ongoing work about which programmers are best and whether it matters at all.

To begin with, I disagree with an early comment about building a better mousetrap to solve some problem that hasn’t been solved before. Sorry Joel, but the mousetrap was invented to solve an existing problem with mice. Better implies an existing solution to be improved on.

There – got that off my chest.

The really interesting bit in the article are stats relating to quality of software development mapped against time spent, as collated by a Professor Stanley Eisenstat at Yale. This appears to show that they aren’t correlated. I need to have a proper think about my opinion on this, but I’m not sure that it substantiates Joel’s claim about good programmers, just that it is ammunition against other attitudes to doing development on the cheap.