Guidewire

www.guidewire.com

Guidewire Reviews

Updated February 23, 2015
Updated February 23, 2015
332 Reviews
4.5
332 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Guidewire CEO Marcus Ryu
Marcus Ryu
275 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Excellent work-life balance within the development organization (in 51 reviews)

  • This is modeled from the executive management team all the way through (in 18 reviews)


Cons
  • Work/Life balance isn't the greatest, but the management is working on improving this (in 12 reviews)

  • Guidewire is experiencing some growing pains, which is expected (in 12 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Amazing company. A darling. But feel bad for Marcus

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Product Manager in Foster City, CA
    Former Employee - Product Manager in Foster City, CA

    I worked at Guidewire full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Look at all the positives mentioned in all the reviews and just believe them. This is the company that gave me hope about Silicon Valley. I would work again for the founders and a few other leaders (Ken, Marcus, Dan) in a heartbeat. Just crazy good.

    I have been privvy to some of the strategy discussions. Amazing clarity of thought, no turf warfare or political agenda and just swift decisions.

    Cons

    While I have seen a good deal of positive people I have also encountered a few rare pockets of negativity first-hand. Be prepared to see 2-4% bad apples. You will kiss lot more prince/ princess than frogs, metaphorically.

    I have also seen a sense of entitlement among some old-timers. I have seen people working 6-7 hours a day. I have also seen old timers (geniuses) who get a sheer mountain of work done in single 8 hour window - almost 2-3 times as that of others. The average works out fine. But it is perplexing when you see people arriving at 10, taking 60-90 minute lunch breaks and leave at 5:30.... and the entire management cadre thinks that everyone is holding themselves accountable. And if you want to talk about it, tread carefully - this is a very sensitive topic. If you bring this up prepared to get yelled at by several people, including a few senior leaders.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There are three challenges that GWRE needs to overcome:

    1. Managers and Culture:
    All successful software companies reach a certain stage where development velocity slows down - it rises out of maintenance load and aged code. Unless the team is full of refactoring ninjas, most of it is unavoidable.

    But slow down due to cultural aspect is dangerous. Eight years ago, people held each other accountable for highest levels of quality and productivity. The leads were fundamentally coders too and they inspired others by example by being productive and set a high bar for quality. Now there are a great # of "managers" who are not motivated to push the team (through inspiration, not whipping) and getting things done, but rather they are satisfiers / status quo preservers - they are paid to just ensure that everyone is happy and things are moving along fine. Risk taking and aggressive goal setting has gone out of window.

    2. Technology:
    GWRE's technology platform needs a new life. Everyone recognizes this. Don't get me wrong... this is still by far the best technology that the insurance industry has ever seen or will see in the next 10 years. The company is a full light year ahead of the nearest competitor. But it is still lagging behind in some areas. Areas like data management is way behind -uses technology invented in 1998. Meanwhile, the rest of the world (sans insurance) has moved on to schema-less data manipulation, billion row march, probabilistic learning engines. Mere grass root innovation is not sufficient. The company must turn a book. One must look at existing inhouse technology like the way the founding 6 looked at legacy systems and come up with a vision and execute. Anything that is on-the-margin (and created with a defensible in front of board) will not cut it.

    3. Still driven by founding CEO's energy:
    Except for one other person.... there are no clear internal leaders that can and want to run the company after Marcus. Marcus is incredible. Everyone admires his rare combination of wisdom, humility and candor/ presence of mind. Those are large shoes for people to fill in for anyone. But if Marcus were to leave (after all the man must have worked more than an average soviet gulag worker) the board would have to bring someone external. This may not be a bad thing. But I get a sense that some of the other leaders are held in place by Marcus's charisma.

    I want nothing but positive and great outcome for this absolute gem of a company.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great Culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Guidewire

    Pros

    The people are smart, and humble. the collegial value is very true here. Agile shop, highly collaborative environment.

    Cons

    Can get noisy, but there are quiet rooms available.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The SaaS offerings are an excellent start!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Guidewire Response

    Feb 25, 2015Director Global Recruiting

    Thanks for the review! Great to hear that you are enjoying your time at Guidewire.

  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    Curb Your Enthusiasm: This is "Chiseling Through Granite"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Implementation Consultant II in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Implementation Consultant II in London, England (UK)

    I have been working at Guidewire full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The pay is good, and if you enjoy traveling, this may be the place for you. In particular, there are a lot of international projects, so if you're up for it, you may well get the opportunity to see the world while implementing software.

    The consulting team is quite a social bunch in general - expect to get invites from coworkers for dinner and drinks on a regular basis. The work itself is quite social as well - field consulting is far more than heads-down development, although it includes plenty of that as well.

    Guidewire provides 3 weeks of paid vacation per year, and offers stock as an additional incentive. The medical plans are pretty standard, with PPO and HSA/FSA options.

    Taxes and stock are equalized, meaning that if you work in a place (including abroad) where taxes are higher than at home, then you won't be penalized for doing so. This is an excellent benefit and one that should not be understated. If you work abroad, you'll get the additional benefit of having your foreign tax returns prepared on your behalf, free of charge.

    You can live just about anywhere in the country, provided it's close to a major airport, although most clients are in the Eastern and Central time zones, so those living further west may face longer commutes. Salaries are competitive and standardized across the country, so if you live in a cheaper area, you can reap the benefits of a Bay Area salary without paying Bay Area prices.

    All consultants go through 4 weeks of training and certification, including an exam and exercises, which sets a good foundation before beginning billable work with clients. (Though, to be honest, it just scratches the surface of what's to come.)

    There is also (for now, at least) a yearly meeting in which the entire field consulting team has the opportunity to convene, share ideas, learn about upcoming releases and new product features, and catch up with people they've worked and trained with.

    Cons

    I posted a 4-star review of Guidewire about a year and a half ago, after 18 months with the company. Now, nearly 3 years in, I'm downgrading my review to 3 stars. Why? In part, because the workload is relentless, and the burnout has become acute. It simply never lets up, and I'm coming to believe that more projects than not are hectic and draining. There's simply no moderation in this work. The estimates and timelines provided to clients are often too aggressive (though this may be done in an effort to remain competitive), but it means there's typically far more work to finish than there is time to do it in, at least if you expect to work anywhere near a 40-hour week. And maybe you don't expect that, since unpaid overtime has become standard practice, but it was one of Guidewire's major selling points when I was interviewing back in 2012 - that they placed a strong focus on a moderate schedule, especially since consultants have to spend additional time traveling to and from client sites. I was even told back then that they negotiate 37-hour workweeks with some clients, but I've yet to see anything like this. It varies week to week, but it's typically 50+ hours/week plus travel time, and the more senior the consultant, the longer the hours seem to be.

    In fact, I've found that as I move forward in my career here, life seems to be getting worse, not better. The pay raises have been modest, but the responsibilities and expectations have grown far faster. I no longer look forward to promotions, as they simply represent more hardship and more time in the office.

    Marcus, the CEO, has often compared Guidewire's path as akin to "chiseling through granite," and I think this conveys the day-to-day experience quite well. A lot of positive things have been said about the company culture, but by and large, the job is one perpetual, interminable grind. At the end of a long and difficult project, you might breathe a sigh of relief... only to find that you're starting the whole process over again next week with a new client. Yes, you'll learn and grow from each project, but mostly it's more of the same.

    And what makes it largely the same is that there isn't much structured training (beyond the initial 4 weeks), or communication happening across projects or between teams to ensure that solutions aren't reinvented. There's a great deal of reverse engineering going on, due to inadequate documentation of the existing system features (though in fairness the documentation is quite thorough compared to some companies), and there's also a lot of unnecessary duplication of effort and code because time is not set aside for consultants to document their solutions after they've been built. There is some effort being made to build structured, shareable solutions to common problems, but it could be far more proactive than it is. There's also the somewhat baffling practice of hiding platform-level code from the very consultants who are expected to build upon the system. This is done ostensibly to protect the company's intellectual property, but it leads to a great deal of confusion for consultants and frustration on the part of clients, who often expect Guidewire staff to understand every nook and cranny of their own system. It seems to me that a lot more could be done to streamline the implementation process, if only management would make it a priority to allocate the time to do so. There are a lot of inefficiencies that are being overlooked.

    Overall, I'm not nearly as positive as I was about Guidewire when I started. When I first joined, this felt like the sort of place where I might make a lifelong career. But at this point, it seems largely like any other software job, albeit with some cool perks. I can't see myself staying here forever, but for the moment it'll do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on training and more elaborate documentation to enable your consultants to perform more effectively in the field. The initial 4 weeks of training are good but hardly adequate in the long run. Make a stronger effort to elicit feedback from consultants, and put more effort into building standardized solutions to common requirements that can be released as part of the core product.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Good company but need to allow more work from home

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Guidewire

    Pros

    Great group of people and the work is good.

    Cons

    The company does not encourage more than one work from home day per week. This becomes challenging for people with a commute or kids to pick up etc. It would be great if they allow more work from home days ( at least 2 if not more).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow more work from home days to retain your talent. It is becomes challenging for people with commutes and kids.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Consultant

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Guidewire

    Pros

    Not many companies can offer similar career opportunities.
    Office atmosphere is excellent and management team really cares about employees.
    Internal mobility is encouraged and this opens the possibility to learn new skills, visit new places and developing a career within Guidewire.
    It is simply and by far the best company I've worked for.

    Cons

    The Dublin office is little bit too reliant on unexperienced employees. Worth saying that due to the demanding interview process most of the employees are smart and skilled though.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Maybe hire more mid-level profiles (3-5 years experience), but still thanks for the great job done.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Consultant
    Current Employee - Sales Consultant

    I have been working at Guidewire full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    I recently started working with Guidewire and can't say enough good things about the company and the people. They really seem to live their values.

    Cons

    I honestly haven't seen any cons yet.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work. Guidewire is truly the best of the best.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    A truly great engineering org.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Foster City, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Foster City, CA

    I worked at Guidewire full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    I recently left Guidewire after nearly a decade for a very large company, for career-development and salary reasons.

    Guidewire's core engineering culture remains exceptional and I would not hesitate to work for them again in an engineering role. Despite the kool-aid at the larger company I now work at, Guidewire remains the place where I was around the largest proportion of brilliant people, and even more importantly, with the fewest jerks and egotists.

    Guidewire engineering has a tremendous emphasis on craftsmanship and quality. They also have huge flexibility with workstyle and time off, realistic deadlines -- no death-marches at release time -- and the company as a whole takes the customer focus and value "integrity" very seriously. They rarely over-promise, and they will do what it takes to make things right when something goes wrong.

    Cons

    There are three main concerns to engineering org:
    First, there have been some growing pains and since my departure there is a new SVP, so there is uncertainty about whether they'll be able to keep the culture intact while keeping up engineering velocity up at the same time. I think the outlook is positive, but having moved on I can't say for certain firsthand.

    Second, with the "arms race" in salaries (and other compensation) between large employers around here, it seems like Guidewire has opted out - at least for old timers who've built seniority on the job. The same could be said about "perks" and other benefits although my own philosophy on such things is that I'd rather have a higher salary and fewer frills.

    Lastly, for some people, insurance can be an inherently dull subject. Technical management mostly does a good job of trying to keep the focus on quality and process and for many people that's enough to keep things interesting -- there's a good division of work so that you can focus on what parts work for you, and you don't get say, sucked into the minutia of insurance specific business logic or financials if you're not so inclined.

    I have a much more limited sense of the company outside engineering these days, but as of a few years ago when I worked more closely with other divisions things were very mixed depending on which.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please catch up development salaries to market for existing employees (and new ones, if they're not already competitive.) Please work on better professional development opportunities for engineers and other technical employees.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Honest, Accountability, Integrity when it suits us

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous
    Current Employee - Anonymous

    I have been working at Guidewire full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    shares in the company which you are only allowed to vest at given times

    Cons

    If you like working crazy hours (but being told your work/life balance is important), get no recognition for your efforts (but be told that rewards are based upon merits), no time to grow because your priority is your customer, and then be told that because you didn't grow as an employee, you won't get the promotion your manager had dangled as a carrot, then guidewire is the place for you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    start being honest with and accountable to your staff, stop billing your customers for senior architect rates and send fresh out of training consultants

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Still the one after all these years - great team, great cross-functional exposure and superb managers to collaborate

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Recruitment Business Partner in Foster City, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Recruitment Business Partner in Foster City, CA

    I have been working at Guidewire full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Professionally I work on a variety of projects that stimulate my curiosity and work with multiple departments. I am still amazed at how well we collaborate and accommodate one another, since we are so global and so busy.I feel a great deal of professional courtesy given to me to be successful. It lets me feel positive about my chances for success. Even when I have a hard challenge, and when the good of the group may trump the path of least resistance, I am comfortable we choose to strengthen the company over personal agendas. And when I fail, which we all do trying new things, I am given props for not shying away from hard things as long as I make rational decisions. To have control over my destiny, definitely adds to job satisfaction. I am pleased with our results. Seeing 15 of my hires get promotions in one region alone helps a lot. I imagine that their lives are greatly improved with a move here. That is critical for me to feel like I can be authentic about the company. Now if I could just click my heels together to teleport to all my colleagues on every continent, this place would be perfect!

    Cons

    There is nothing easy about being a successful, growing, global company. You have to be agile and you have to be open to changing with the needs of the business. On the positive side, I trust my team so we lighten the load for one another. We aren't afraid of trying big ambitious projects. On the contrary we are making tough changes to get scalability. I think I have grown a great deal professionally since I joined over five years ago. I am rewarded for my work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep the interesting and powerful messages coming about our successful user group conference, our wins as a sales organization, our progress with our customers, and about how positive of an impact our product makes on the companies we serve. As an example, one of our customers took out a billboard to announce their successful Go Live. That is a first for me to see! That is something to talk about - our customers like us and continue to make the journey with us. This is still fun.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Guidewire full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    People genuinely care about co-workers. There are lots of room for finding where you work best. You don't have to find a new employer to get a new job. There are lots of growth happening. Its nice to be at a place which isn't just trying to just stay afloat.

    Cons

    Not many people can stay alert and active when concerning insurance. One must find their own motivation when dealing with certain aspects of the job

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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