ThoughtWorks Reviews

Updated August 17, 2014
Updated August 17, 2014
278 Reviews

3.5
278 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
ThoughtWorks President and CEO Guo Xiao
Guo Xiao
60 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

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Missing depth & long term direction

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Chennai (India)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chennai (India)

    I have been working at ThoughtWorks full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    1. Facility, Free food, TT table and very good office administration
    2. Global diversity helps in interacting with a larger community and also learning
    3. Good amount of developers, but reducing everyday
    4. If you are lucky, you get to work on good challenging, cutting-edge technology projects
    5. If your stars shine on you, you land on international gigs and get to travel

    Cons

    These are applicable only to India offices.

    1. Bad management and Immatured managers - There are management teams like GMT, IMT that meet regularly and talk, talk, talk - but do not play any critical role in the company's growth or acquiring new customers. Its the good work of few teams that brings in, inbound new business to India offices. These managers still talk like coders and business analysts, but have not written a line of code in 10 years or have done any analysis. They cannot even comprehend a simple binary logic or a workflow.

    2. Too many overheads - There are many fancy roles like Delivery Principal, Client Principal, Marketing Principal, Principal Associate, Operations Lead, People Development Professional, People Champion that add zero value to the company's survival,revenue engine. These are all filled-in by people who are market rejects and also cannot be fired. They sit and create politics.

    3. Average Talent Pool and Hiring Challenge - The company is facing a real crisis in terms of attracting the best, not the better, talent from the market. Many top analysts and coders left the company in 2014 due to multiple factors like founder's personal objectives, poor management creating politics and the talent pool diminishing in itself. India offices bengaluru, chennai, gurgaon, except pune, are all very average. There are hardly 1/2 smart top coders and hackers. Everyone else manages to scrape the knowledge of those individuals. Events, Conference presentations, Articles are all the output of these few individuals.

    4. Failed India Market - The company set out to focus on India market in the last 2-3 years. Nothing strong materialized on this and they ended up with crores of losses. The founder is unhappy about this and has fired the top brass from the company. To enter the Indian market, the company is adopting a new strategy in the form of UX and latest technology like scala language. The company is also focusing on making India offices as backoffice/captive house for large customers

    5. Will Code, but will not maintain - Majority of the developers in the company have a very bad attitude over customer's code base and technology. They are more comfortable replacing all the software or rewriting in their own terms. Developers will not support even the code they wrote, after a while. Clients are left in trouble if they do not have a decent maintenance contract. They do not work any extra hours and claim themselves as privileged classes that will work only 40 hours in a week.

    6. No Ideation or creation - talent pool in India offices do not ideate or create anything. They only adopt whatever is created from other offices

    Overall, ThoughtWorks India is in deep crisis on multiple fronts and is not anymore a great place as it used to be in mid 2000's

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire individuals with strong technical background for top delivery roles and provide them more decision making powers

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    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
  3.  

    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. 2 people found this helpful  

    OK!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Applications Developer  in  Bangalore (India)
    Current Employee - Applications Developer in Bangalore (India)

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

    Pros

    This is a great place for developers and geeks who love tech. Some of the projects are cutting edge, while others are run of the mill. The communities are fairly strong, with some events happening round the clock. International travel is a bonus once you become a tenured Thoughtworker. Its a good thing to see the density of technical excellence within this small group.

    The larger projects are tougher to be a part of and I personally prefer working with smaller teams at Thoughtworks. TDD, Agile and pairing are great practices that are implemented here with ease. Benefits are so so and the training program is ok. This is a great place for a graduate to learn.

    Cons

    A few rotten apples have spoilt what could have been a gem of a company in India. Case in point is an individual who was fired for unethical practices and still managed to claw back into the system as a so called event coordinator. Such individuals are being paid three times the market standard, while us the genuinely hard working developers are being fooled by using terms such as parity.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay your developers what they deserve. So many of my friends have quit this year due to the the office politics. Take feedback from your people seriously. Eliminate the politicians in your system. Terminate the people who are misusing their proximity with the chairman and seriously damaging careers in the company. The spate of recent exits are all due to the mismanagement of peoples expectations. TW is a dream company for many a developer and hope it remains so.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Nice people and culture, pay ok

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Consultant  in  Melbourne (Australia)
    Former Employee - Senior Consultant in Melbourne (Australia)

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

    Pros

    It attracted a lot of nice people, and relatively without much office politics. Employees are smart, culture is very open and transparent, with some focus on good causes for the society, and did some nice projects.

    Cons

    Could be challenging for those who don't buy the company's culture and social focus. Pay for technical persons is ok but not very competitive for the talented consultants.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on the core strength of the business.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Self selected group

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal Consultant  in  Chengdu, Sichuan (China)
    Current Employee - Principal Consultant in Chengdu, Sichuan (China)

    I have been working at ThoughtWorks full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Almost allow you to do anything you like to do. All kinds of opportunities across various countries and industries. Very supportive leadership teams providing mentoring and coaching.

    Cons

    ...only when you are proactive and self-motivated. When you are not, you will soon find yourself staying in a silent corner without "structural support" you might expect to happen automatically, or you will be send to boring clients to do some boring work. But, hey, at the end of the day, since you don't have a preference on what you want to do, what is the base to complain "that's something I don't want to do"?

    Summary: it's heaven for some people and hell for some other. If you find it doesn't fit you, quit quickly and join IBM.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    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
  9.  

    Amazing growth opportunities

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

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

    Pros

    The opinions are based on my personal experience and is about London office. Your experience might vary. For example I keep hearing that in US people are expected to travel way more. Be sure to read the reviews/contact employees from the region you're planning to apply to.

    * Opportunities to grow both on personal and professional levels
    * Lots of interesting technically work
    * Usually you get quite a lot of influence on what projects you're being sent to. You want travel internationally - can be done, you want to stay in London - can be done, a technically complex project - can be done, a project that is complex from human/organisational perspective - can be done etc, etc. A bit of luck and not expecting that all you requirements will be met helps though. Don't expect to get a project in London that is interesting from both technical and organisational perspective all the time.
    * Great people to work with - smart and fun
    * Informal and fun atmosphere
    * Great career opportunities if you decide to leave
    * Does more to improve the world around us that any other commercial company that I've heard of. Impressive and creates that warm feeling inside that you're doing your bit
    * Frontrunner of technical excellence in the business. Sometimes creates new trends and quick to pickup interesting approaches from other sources and spread it in businesses

    Cons

    * Can be intimidating and hard to navigate at first. More experienced Thoughtworkers are supposed to help you out in the beginning but from what I've experienced and heard from others it doesn't work out that well in most cases.
    * Being good with people is even larger requirement than in other IT jobs. Creating rapport, managing expectations, influencing people are part of your regular job and help a lot in the internal work relationships. Can be good or bad for you but it's something that is good to be aware of.
    * Little structure means among others that there is little structural support. If you have trouble you need to reach out. Not much interest from anyone while on the project - unless your PM cares about regular catchups with you.
    * Social and economic values are more often preached than practiced. UK is told it sponsors work done in other regions
    * You get paid significantly less

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More pure technical career paths. Make people feel listened to. Listen more carefully why people are leaving - it affects those that are staying as well. Put more emphasis on sponsors - it is a great idea that could work way better.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person 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
  11.  

    Great people, good projects, salary below the average

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

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

    Pros

    There is a good recruitment process in place that guarantee an above-the-average quality of the employee. The focus on the social and economic justice is always welcome. Highly recommended for grads and generally for the people-ware ones

    Cons

    The salary is a bit below the market average, sometimes you have to travel in quite far locations.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    be sure to secure the highest company value: feedback

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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