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What Employees Say
I have been working at ThoughtWorks full-time for more than 8 years
* Technology led. In other companies where I worked for before TW, technologists did as they were told by commercial people. I was amazed at the sway technical people have - and conversely, how... focused technical folks here are on doing the right thing for customers. Treat us like adults, we behave like adults. * Agile engineering for real. Another thing that was truly different for me was the use of agile practices like pairing, TDD, etc, and the difference it makes in a team that does it for real. Other companies do agile theatre (standups, stories, etc.), but joining a TW delivery team was a revelation. * Values led. Although most companies have "social responsibility" and the like, at TW it's pervasive. It's not 100% perfect, we do make tradeoffs, but it's taken seriously. The flavour of this is changing somewhat with change of ownership (from a radical socialist to a private equity fund), but it's still stronger than most other companies I know. * Learning opportunities are amazing. You will work on multiple projects, in different industries, with companies at different points in their maturity, with different technologies. For someone new to the industry, working at TW for a few years will position you to choose where you want to go, and give you the experience and credentials to go there. * For an experienced person (I had 15+ years experience when I joined), you will be working alongside industry leaders, including very well known people, and people who are not well known outside TW, but are incredible in various unexpected ways. * Good people, good vibes, good culture. This is not an environment for a**holes. From top to bottom, people are supportive, open, and friendly. We have sometimes shockingly open conversations, e.g. on internal mailing lists where people raise concerns about strategic decisions and cultural directions. People generally bring their "whole self" to work, even those who aren't white cis. A strongly progressive culture.
* Travel obviously. Unless this is a plus for you, in which case it can be awesome. It's harder for older people with families. * Working your way up the promotion path (the grading system) is not... easy, and takes longer than you think it should. Ideally this shouldn't matter - people are respected based on what they do and how they behave. But it's hard to ignore if you feel like you should be a Lead or Principal and a few years go by without progress, and people do get pissed off and leave. The review process is murky, and doesn't do a good job of helping people to progress within the formal grading system. * Change in ownership risks a change in priorities and culture. We were owned by a radical socialist, who has cashed out to pursue social change, and are now owned by a capitalist investment fund. The actual effect of this has not been much, we have the same leadership team. Some people - especially people who have not been here long - have an exaggerated idea of the impact this has had. The company has always shifted and changed, and most of the changes people notice are driven by our own leaders, not diktat from our investors. (e.g. we've worked for oil companies many times over the decades). That said, it can't help but make a difference when leadership is heavily incentivized to maximize financial growth and returns for our investors. The language around our "Pillar 3" has shifted from "social justice", in balance with commercial sustainability (P1) and technical excellence (P2), to being about an equitable workplace to attract talent to support commercial growth. In other words, Pillars 2 and 3 sometimes seem to be valued in order to support Pillar 1.
Advice to Management
Consider (and communicate to the rest of us) what the vision is post-Apax. If (when) they flip us to new ownership, will that ownership continue to see the primary purpose of ThoughtWorks as a... capitalist engine for financial returns? Is there a path to ownership by someone who sees improving how technology is used for the betterment of society as a first-rank goal, rather than something which is nice only as long as it drives financial returns?