|Founder||Neville Roy Singham|
Number of locations
|Martin Fowler, Jim Highsmith|
|Products||Mingle, Go continuous delivery back, Snap CI, Gauge (alternative for Browsers), CruiseControl, Selenium,|
|Services||Custom software, applications|
Number of employees
ThoughtWorks is a privately owned, global technology company with 43 offices in 14 countries. It provides software design and delivery, and tools and consulting services. The company is closely associated with the movement for agile software development, and has contributed to a content of open source products. ThoughtWorks' business includes Digital Product Development Services,Digital Experience and Distributed Agile software development.
In the late 1980s Roy Singham founded Singham Business Services as a management consulting company servicing the equipment leasing industry in a Chicago basement. According to Singham, after two-to-three years, Singham started recruiting additional staff and came up with the name ThoughtWorks in 1990.The company was incorporated under the new name in 1993 and focused on building software applications. Over time, ThoughtWorks' technology shifted from C++ and Forte 4GL in the mid-1990s to include Java in the late 1990s.
Martin Fowler joined the company in 1999 and became its chief scientist in 2000.
In 2001, ThoughtWorks agreed to settle a lawsuit by Microsoft for $480,000 for deploying unlicensed copies of office productivity software to employees.
Also in 2001, Fowler, Jim Highsmith, and other key software figures authored the Agile Manifesto.The company began using agile techniques while working on a leasing project. ThoughtWorks' technical expertise expanded with the .NET Framework in 2002, C# in 2004, Ruby and the Rails platform in 2006. In 2002, ThoughtWorks chief scientist Martin Fowler wrote "Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture" with contributions by ThoughtWorkers David Rice and Matthew Foemmel, as well as outside contributors Edward Hieatt, Robert Mee, and Randy Stafford.
ThoughtWorks Studios was launched as its product division in 2006. The division creates, supports and sells agile project management and software development and deployment tools including Mingle,Gauge(formerly Twist), Snap CI and GoCD. On 2 March 2007, ThoughtWorks announced Trevor Mather as the new CEO. Singham became Executive chairman. Also in March 2007, Rebecca Parsons joined ThoughtWorks as Chief Technical Officer.
In 2010, Jim Highsmith joined ThoughtWorks.At the start of 2012, ThoughtWorks moved its 40-person sales team on salaries specifically instead of commission. In early 2012, Aaron Swartz joined the company. In May 2012, Ken Collier joined the company.
In April 2013, ThoughtWorks announced a collective leadership structure and appointed four co-Presidents of the global organization.The appointments followed the announcement that the then current CEO, Trevor Mather, was leaving ThoughtWorks to take up the role of CEO for the used car sales business Trader Media Group.
In May 2013, Dr. David Walton was hired as Director of Global Health.Walton has done work in Haiti since 1999, including helping establish a 300-room, solar-powered hospital and the establishment of a noncommunicable disease clinic.
In 2015, Guo Xiao, who started as a developer in ThoughtWorks China in 1999, became the chief executive officer and President. Also in 2015, Chinese marketing data company AdMaster acquired Chinese online form automation platform JinShuJu from ThoughtWorks.
In early 2016, ThoughtWorks closed their Toronto offices, the last remaining Canadian office after the closure of their Calgary offices in 2013.
In August 2017 funds advised by Apax Partners acquired ThoughtWorks.
ThoughtWorks has more than 7000 employees, working from 43 offices in 14 countries, as of February 2020.
ThoughtWorks has a tri-pillar system of corporate beliefs, inspired by Ben & Jerry's model. These beliefs, referred to as the "3 Pillars" include (1) Sustainable Business (2) Software Excellence and (3) Social Justice.
ThoughtWorks launched its Social Impact Program in 2009.This program provided pro-bono or other developmental help for non-profits and organizations with socially-driven missions. Clients included Democracy Now! (mobile content delivery site), Human Network International (mobile data collection), and the Institute for Reproductive Health (SMS-based fertility planner). In 2010, ThoughtWorks provided software engineering services for Grameen Foundation's Mifos platform.
Translation Cards is an open source Android app that helps field workers and refugees communicate more effectively and confidently. With the help of Google volunteers, Mercy Corps partnered with ThoughtWorks and UNHCR to create the app.
In 2020, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, ThoughtWorks, in partnership with the Department of Veteran Affairs, launched an interactive chat bot to help veteran's answer questions about the coronavirus and Veterans Affairs benefits.
ThoughtWorks has been known for its rigorous interviewing and hiring processes.Between 2010 and 2015, ThoughtWorks increased its percentage of women in tech roles from 17% to 32%. ThoughtWorks has increased its percentage of females in tech roles by hiring developers who have degrees outside of computer science and ensuring female candidates are interviewed by females. As of 2015, 8% of the company's employees identified as black and 3% as Hispanic. In Australia, ThoughtWorks practices quota hiring (requiring one female hired for every male) and conducts pay reviews to ensure female employees receive equal pay and status. On October, 2016, the company won the Top Companies for Women Technologists program by The Anita Borg Institute, for having rates of 59.6/46.2/30/23.8% for Entry, Mid, Senior and Executive positions respectively.
ThoughtWorks has long been a vocal advocate of Agile and Lean principles and practices, speaking often on the topic at conferences and creating Agile self-assessment tests.Part of ThoughtWorks' client services includes helping large enterprises like GE move to Agile. The company employs well-known signatories of the Agile manifesto--Martin Fowler and Jim Highsmith—and uses Agile in client projects. Rebecca Parsons, CTO of the company, has served as the Director of the Agile Alliance.
An abbreviated list of books written by ThoughtWorks employees
ThoughtWorks created the Continuous Integration server, Cruise, in 2001.This Java-based tool was later open-sourced and renamed CruiseControl. Around 2005 ThoughtWorker Jez Humble, working with Chris Read, Dan North, and several other people, encountered problems with deployment for a large client in London. The group's insights about better deployment practices were summarized in a co-authored paper—"The Deployment Production Line"—presented at the Agile 2006 conference. The paper contained one of the first depictions of the modern-day deployment pipeline.
Around 2007, after finding CruiseControl limiting, Humble worked alongside a ThoughtWorks team in Beijing to create the tool that later became Go (now styled GoCD).In 2010, ex-employee Dave Farley published the first book on continuous delivery. The book was based on ThoughtWorkers' experiences with client deployments. The book outlined key principles in continuous delivery, such as frequent releases and trunk-based development. Since then, ThoughtWorks has advocated for continuous delivery through its evangelists, speakers, blog posts, and in client projects such as one at The New York Times and another at the UK Guardian.
The company's primary service is the creation of custom software applications for corporate clients. Projects for North American, European or Australian clients are often delivered from India, China, Brazil or Ecuador. The firm also provides consulting services related to software development, design, architecture, operations and IT transformation among others.
ThoughtWorks' products division was launched in 2006.The department creates, supports and sells products for agile project management, software development, test automation, and continuous delivery and deployment. In 2012, Chad Wathington and David Rice were announced as co-Managing Directors of the products division. In 2016, Wathington left to join ThoughtWorks' global leadership team. Rice is currently sole managing director.
ThoughtWorks has been awarded the AnitaB.org Award for Top Companies for Women Technologists for three consecutive years from 2016 to 2018.
In 2018, ThoughtWorks CTO, Dr. Rebecca Parsons received the Abie Technical Leadership award, presented by AnitaB.org at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing event.
ThoughtWorks was certified as a 'Great Place to Work' in 2021 by GreatPlacetoWork.com.
Kent Beck is an American software engineer and the creator of extreme programming, a software development methodology that eschews rigid formal specification for a collaborative and iterative design process. Beck was one of the 17 original signatories of the Agile Manifesto, the founding document for agile software development. Extreme and Agile methods are closely associated with Test-Driven Development (TDD), of which Beck is perhaps the leading proponent.
Martin Fowler is a naturalized American software developer, author and international public speaker on software development, specialising in object-oriented analysis and design, UML, patterns, and agile software development methodologies, including extreme programming.
In software engineering, a software design pattern is a general, reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem within a given context in software design. It is not a finished design that can be transformed directly into source or machine code. Rather, it is a description or template for how to solve a problem that can be used in many different situations. Design patterns are formalized best practices that the programmer can use to solve common problems when designing an application or system.
In software development, agile practices involve discovering requirements and developing solutions through the collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams and their customer(s)/end user(s). It advocates adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continual improvement, and it encourages flexible responses to change.
In time management, timeboxing allocates a fixed time period, called a timebox, within which planned activity takes place. It is used by several project management approaches and for personal time management.
In software engineering, continuous integration (CI) is the practice of merging all developers' working copies to a shared mainline several times a day. Grady Booch first proposed the term CI in his 1991 method, although he did not advocate integrating several times a day. Extreme programming (XP) adopted the concept of CI and did advocate integrating more than once per day – perhaps as many as tens of times per day.
The Chrysler Comprehensive Compensation System was a project in the Chrysler Corporation to replace several payroll applications with a single system. The new system was built using Smalltalk and GemStone. The software development techniques invented and employed on this project are of interest in the history of software engineering. C3 has been referenced in several books on the extreme programming (XP) methodology. The software went live in 1997 paying around ten thousand people. The project continued, intending to take on a larger proportion of the payroll but new development was stopped in 1999.
Adaptive software development (ASD) is a software development process that grew out of the work by Jim Highsmith and Sam Bayer on rapid application development (RAD). It embodies the principle that continuous adaptation of the process to the work at hand is the normal state of affairs.
CollabNet VersionOne is a software firm headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, United States. CollabNet VersionOne products and services belong to the industry categories of value stream management, devops, agile management, application lifecycle management (ALM), and enterprise version control. These products are used by companies and government organizations to reduce the time it takes to create and release software.
James A. Highsmith III is an American software engineer and author of books in the field of software development methodology. He is the creator of Adaptive Software Development, described in his 1999 book "Adaptive Software Development", and winner of the 2000 Jolt Award, and the Stevens Award in 2005. Highsmith was one of the 17 original signatories of the Agile Manifesto, the founding document for agile software development.
Scott W. Ambler is a Canadian software engineer, consultant and author. He is an author of a number of books focused on the Disciplined Agile Delivery toolkit, the Unified process, Agile software development, the Unified Modeling Language, and Capability Maturity Model (CMM) development.
AnthillPro is a software tool originally developed and released as one of the first continuous integration servers. AnthillPro automates the process of building code into software projects and testing it to verify that project quality has been maintained. Software developers are able to identify bugs and errors earlier by using AnthillPro to track, collate, and test changes in real time to a collectively maintained body of computer code.
Release management is the process of managing, planning, scheduling and controlling a software build through different stages and environments; including testing and deploying software releases.
DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). It aims to shorten the systems development life cycle and provide continuous delivery with high software quality. DevOps is complementary with Agile software development; several DevOps aspects came from Agile methodology.
Continuous testing is the process of executing automated tests as part of the software delivery pipeline to obtain immediate feedback on the business risks associated with a software release candidate. Continuous testing was originally proposed as a way of reducing waiting time for feedback to developers by introducing development environment-triggered tests as well as more traditional developer/tester-triggered tests.
Continuous delivery (CD) is a software engineering approach in which teams produce software in short cycles, ensuring that the software can be reliably released at any time and, when releasing the software, doing so manually. It aims at building, testing, and releasing software with greater speed and frequency. The approach helps reduce the cost, time, and risk of delivering changes by allowing for more incremental updates to applications in production. A straightforward and repeatable deployment process is important for continuous delivery.
Specification by example (SBE) is a collaborative approach to defining requirements and business-oriented functional tests for software products based on capturing and illustrating requirements using realistic examples instead of abstract statements. It is applied in the context of agile software development methods, in particular behavior-driven development. This approach is particularly successful for managing requirements and functional tests on large-scale projects of significant domain and organisational complexity.
Extreme programming (XP) is a software development methodology which is intended to improve software quality and responsiveness to changing customer requirements. As a type of agile software development, it advocates frequent "releases" in short development cycles, which is intended to improve productivity and introduce checkpoints at which new customer requirements can be adopted.
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Mike (Miguel) Beedle was an American theoretical physicist turned software engineer who was a co-author of the Agile Manifesto.