ThoughtWorks Reviews

Updated September 17, 2014
Updated September 17, 2014
286 Reviews
3.5
286 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
ThoughtWorks President and CEO Guo Xiao
Guo Xiao
64 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • It still employs the highest density of smart people in the industry that I've ever seen (in 37 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)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Developer  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Software Developer in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at ThoughtWorks full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Really good for Women.
    Work with some of the smartest people around.
    Make friends all over the world.
    Encouraged to be a leader.
    Reviews happen at least once a year.
    If you work in the San Francisco office you have a choice between local work and travel work.

    Cons

    Travel.
    Smart people can be arrogant.
    It's easy to feel small in such a large company.
    Hard to find a work life/balance.
    Never know what can happen with a client.
    DOn't have control over the technologies you work with.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Management gets in the way

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lead Consultant  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Lead Consultant in New York, NY

    I have been working at ThoughtWorks full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    For an inexperienced software developer who's happy to travel around, ThoughtWorks can be a great company. It favors good software development practices, and in general consultants are pragmatic.

    Cons

    For more experienced developers, ThoughtWorks is increasingly becoming challenging to work at.

    Sales doesn't do a good job of finding clients that provide interesting work that would accommodate innovation, and the few good projects that are unlikely to be assigned to people who are not the favorites of the operations teams (resource management, human resources, sales and senior management).

    Senior management enforces a high degree of politics in the company, so that in order to be considered for anything relevant in the organization consultants have to do a lot of self marketing and building fake social relationships with management. For many consultants, delivering good work in a client is not enough, and often that's not considered as good performance; on the opposite, being loud and creating the appearance that a given piece of work was good, independent of the actual outcomes, is considered a lot more relevant.

    As of mid 2014, the management in NY managed to put most projects in a critical state, failed to find local work despite the good market demand (which forced a lot of consultants to travel just to land into unfulfilling projects), and systematically protected itself disregarding consultants, which ultimately created a confidence crisis between consultants and management. As a consequence, many senior consultants left, causing the highest attrition in the history of the company. That's very bad news as the bulk of the consultants in the company is not experienced, and without proper guidance they can't deliver effectively; that makes clients suspicious of high consulting rates which ultimately damages the reputation of the company. Also, replacing experienced consultants is a hard task in the current market conditions, as there's a lot of demand for people who can deliver software effectively.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote good work over appearance and politics. Replace the current management if possible.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Compelling People, Fun Projects, Frustrating Pay

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lead Consultant  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Lead Consultant in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at ThoughtWorks full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    ThoughtWorks consists primarily of off-beat technologists from the 99th percentile of intelligence. Very smart people, very diverse. TW has been referred to as "the island of misfit toys" which I take as a compliment. Very non-hierarchical. Very tolerant of minorities. Very supportive of a diverse workplace.

    Cons

    You must be ready to work on projects that are not always thrilling (it's called work for a reason). Because it is so welcoming of unconventional personalities, non-hierarchical, and exclusive in it's hiring process - and fun to be at! - TW can [apparently] get away with systematic underpayment. Salaries are consistently below average despite the fact that staff is superior to their cohort at higher paying companies.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Devote more resources to skill training - it's unprofessional to assume staff will learn everything in their personal time. Pay at least average market wage for superior talent.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Good idea but flawed execution

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

    I worked at ThoughtWorks full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Mostly great people, who really do care about helping the underdog. A few people who work their way through the company like viruses that don't uphold the TW values.

    Cons

    Lack of leadership from managers all the way up.
    Pay is not competitive.
    Flexible schedule means: Work all hours of the day and night. Get to work early, have a few hours lull in the afternoon, then work all night. It's more flexible for the company really.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I think the people of thoughtworks and the management of thoughtworks are out of sync. The management are legacy folks who can't lead or plan. Legacy = Lifetimer's or Friends of Roy. Often times a legacy person is put in a major role in the company while having no prior experience in that area. Management is a joke, there is no leading going on. No formal goals in place. No reporting on meeting un defined goals. There are a number of gerbils running the machines, and the leaders just fly around the world visiting with each other.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Unfortunately stumbling along

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant  in  Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at ThoughtWorks full-time for more than 3 years

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Exceptionally enjoyable and welcoming.

    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at ThoughtWorks

    Pros

    The 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.

    Cons

    Being 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.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good consultants, awful management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lead Consultant  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Lead Consultant in New York, NY

    I have been working at ThoughtWorks full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    If 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.

    Cons

    ThoughWorks 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 ManagementAdvice

    Hire 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good place to work. Arrogant at times.

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

    I have been working at ThoughtWorks full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    You 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.

    Cons

    Lot 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 ManagementAdvice

    None

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Fun until the travel gets to you

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Consultant  in  Atlanta, GA
    Former Employee - Consultant in Atlanta, GA

    I worked at ThoughtWorks full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Your 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.

    Cons

    Management 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 ManagementAdvice

    Pay better and allow diversity of opinion. Give employees more flexibility to move between projects.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Developer  in  Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Dallas, TX

    I have been working at ThoughtWorks full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Why 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.

    Cons

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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