ThoughtWorks

  www.thoughtworks.com
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ThoughtWorks Reviews

Updated Jul 21, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.7 271 reviews

80% Approve of the CEO

ThoughtWorks President and CEO Guo Xiao

Guo Xiao

(54 ratings)

79% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • It still employs the highest density of smart people in the industry that I've ever seen(in 36 reviews)

  • You can learn a lot at TW in your first couple of years(in 13 reviews)


Cons
  • Work life balance for the billable consultants is pretty poor(in 11 reviews)

  • The problem is you often don't get to choose, which can result in a lot of travel as well(in 9 reviews)

271 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in
    • Culture & Values
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Exceptionally enjoyable and welcoming.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsThe sense that the work we're doing is indirectly (and sometimes directly) contributing to social good makes working at the company very worthwhile. Because projects come and go relatively quickly, there is no time to get bored or stuck in a mindless routine. There are always new things to learn here.

    ConsBeing on a travelling project can be difficult for relationships that rely on close proximity. Compensation is poor and the structure of the company is not very obvious/intuitive.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Unfortunately stumbling along

    Senior Consultant (Current Employee) Chicago, IL

    Pros+ Great culture; smart people
    + Interesting mix of clients/industries
    + Opportunities for international assignments

    Cons- Company leadership is young, still in their "first job." It really shows.
    - Financial feast-or-famine mentality
    - You can earn 20% more salary anywhere else (at least); it makes it hard to attract top talent.
    - Poor consulting skills across the org; only a handful practice them
    - Lots of young, inexperienced hires per capita.
    - TRAVEL. It gets tough.

    Advice to Senior Management* Develop yourselves. Take classes on public speaking, leadership development, etc
    * Hire more experienced people
    * Sell better

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Good consultants, awful management

    Lead Consultant (Current Employee) New York, NY

    ProsIf you're starting your career, ThoughtWorks will give you the opportunity to learn good practices in many clients and different domains. You'll have plenty of experience in a couple years. However, if you're already experienced, ThoughtWorks is a hit-and-miss kind of place, as you'll have to tradeoff bad work in clients for policial power, which supposedly gives you the ability to get good work one day.

    ConsThoughWorks is Roy Singham's (the founder) experiment. There's a huge gap between what Roy says and what the company does. in terms of social responsibility and innovation. You'll be working in clients that are morally questionable, doing work that is not fulfilling (as sales in the company is rather incompetent and would settle for low quality work easily), and making less money than what the market would pay you so that Roy has a chance to go around pushing for his ideas.

    The management team in ThoughtWorks north america is quite immature, and makes decisions that frequently are against the best interest of the consultants. Therefore, they are widely not trusted by the consultants, and the turnover rate among the really good consultants is quite high; the consultants that tend to stay for a long time in the organization are either not competitive in the market, or after years of work they achieved some political power in the organization that makes them comfortable (and eligible to become the next batch of managers).

    Human resources is not in the side of the consultants either, don't expect support or understanding from the HR management in any way. They are bureaucratic and superficial, mostly filled by people who have been in the company for a long time (as opposed to be competent) and will most of the time side with the operations side of the company more than with the side of the consultants.

    ThoughtWorks is not the same company across countries, so what applies to north america may not be the same in Australia or Europe.

    Advice to Senior ManagementHire mature and experienced people who knows how to deal with human beings, hire smart and aligned sales people, and stop the policy of promoting people just because they're in the company for a long time. Also, dissolve the current north america management team, it's causing a lot of harm to the brand and the organization.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
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    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Good place to work. Arrogant at times.

    Senior Consultant (Current Employee)

    ProsYou get to be at the cutting edge of technology. Work with really smart people. Feels like working at a different company every 6-8 months since you get to change projects. You can learn a lot at TW in your first couple of years. A good place to stop by.

    ConsLot of dogma around various 'best' practices around software development. A lot of 'us' vs 'them'. Looking down on client people all the time. Thinking they all suck and we are the 'best'. A lot of arrogant ThoughtWorkers.

    Advice to Senior ManagementNone

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Fun until the travel gets to you

    Consultant (Former Employee) Atlanta, GA

    ProsYour peers will be awesome, some of the best people I've worked with anywhere. Travel is great if you like travel, you can expense almost anything. Time off is okay. The technical culture is very much a free for all, opinions are expected and respected.

    ConsManagement is mediocre at best. The political culture is more important to your advancement than your performance, there's a lot of favoritism to the old hands. You end up being evaluated by people who never work with you due to the distributed nature of the job. The political culture is very monolithic and activist, expect to be expected to agree with everything that the chairman says about everything.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPay better and allow diversity of opinion. Give employees more flexibility to move between projects.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Making the world a better place, At least the software development industry

    Software Developer (Current Employee) Dallas, TX

    ProsWhy I love working here
    1) Your colleagues are incredibly talented, extremely diverse(I mean it and be prepared for it) and lot of fun.
    2) Everyone actually care about the quality of the code and improving software development process. You get to transform big software companies and make it agile and make programming fun for your client developers.
    3) Travel (This is both pro and con, sometimes i love travelling)
    4) It is actually a company with a conscience. Yes I know everyone says that, but here you actually get a chance to make world a better place, and sometimes stop bad people from making it a bad place.

    ConsTravel
    Some Clients can be boring, and unwilling to change. Well you can only do so much.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Great technical skills, but the rest needs overhauling

    Demand (Former Employee)

    ProsSmart technical staff that are passionate about their field. Delivery of quality product is consistent.

    ConsNo sales culture. company is struggling trying to find a way to mature in the US. Seems other countries have it nailed down and can be business relevant. US lacks quality leadership. This isn't a club it is a business. Make your clients first and the rest will follow.
    Financial model of the firm leads to constant fire drills around revenue. Causes un-natural behavior and always managing for the short term vs long term goals.
    Attitude toward customers is embarrassing at times. Old school employees need to understand that TW needs customers as much as customers need TW. They pay us which means they pay YOU! get off your high horses.
    While they push the idea of open and honest communication, most people don't really want to hear your views if they are different from the masses. Hypocritical at best.

    Advice to Senior Managementin 2 years I never saw anyone but the Chairman in the office (not Chicago). And he was there for his own agenda and didn't spend anytime talking to anyone. Gracing us with your faces via web meetings once in a while doesn't work.
    Get your finances in order.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Awesome!

    Senior Developer (Current Employee) Chicago, IL

    ProsGreat colleagues. A lot of growth if you can sustain the travel. If you like challenges, this is the place to be.

    ConsWork life balance can be difficult to maintain. Might feel isolated from the home office if you don't visit the TW office regularly.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Good environment and people

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Prosinformation sharing through pairing , no dependency on a single person, continuous learning

    Conswork-environment is very chaotic sometimes, other people activities can disturb your work style

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    6 people found this helpful  

    Loved working with lights-out brilliant people. Great place to spend a year; TW on your resume is a great door opener.

    Principal Consultant (Former Employee) New York, NY

    ProsYou'll learn alot - about technology, about yourself, about people.You'll learn at an incredible rate - mostly due to the smart people who will surround you. Of course - that will depend on the projects on which you get slapped.

    ThoughtWorks' approach to agile is better than that of any other company I've seen.

    When you travel, you're often with at least several others who are also traveling. Offers opportunities to socialize with colleagues in strange cities.

    Most ThoughtWorkers don't like Scrum. They prefer XP. This is good. Agile engineering practices are vital to successful implementation of agile. You'll learn this.

    ConsTravel can be onerous for those who want to maintain their personal relationships where they live (e.g. spouses, kids, friends).

    You don't often get a choice in where you end up. Fort Lauderdale in the winter? Great. New Hampshire? Not so much. You'll hear that you have a say in where you go, but you often don't have much of a choice at all.

    Flat hierarchy sounds nice, but can impart a significant political toll on your career. I know at least a dozen excellent folks who have been fired for various reasons - political, scapegoats for projects, folks not willing to violate their own sense of integrity to push company objectives that were incongruent with their values. Decide whether to fly under the radar, or challenge the radar itself. I know many current TWorkers who chose the former. I know ex-TWorkers who chose the latter.

    Politically, conservative views are poison here. There's a contingent there who thinks that Venezuela - under Chavez - was the model government. The predominant view is for bigger government. Contrary to the claim that dissenting/challenging views are accepted at the company, I've seen such expressions emit firestorms and tank careers. One very high level leader oscillates between saying he's a communist and that he's a socialist. If you're aligned with this - no problem. If not, consider staying under the radar with your views.

    Bill your hours to the client, then do your ThoughtWorks work. Expenses. Interviewing. Booking travel. Code Reviews for candidates. Working on RFP's. You get the picture. Be sure that you continue to bill your 40 hours though. Bill 60 hours on a project week after week? Not even an attagirl.

    Another integrity issue: SVIP.

    Advice to Senior ManagementEliminate the political favoritism. Provide some leadership training to those who are running the offices. TW mantra is "Attitude, Aptitude, and Integrity". Rate yourselves on these dimensions. Have a retrospective on it. Ask employees - anonymously - where they see a dearth

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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