ThoughtWorks played a large part in having various agile techniques becoming broadly accepted by mainstream enterprise IT practitioners.

Global HQ: Chicago, US Website:

Global leader: Roy Singham, chairman and founder

Local leader: Chris Murphy, MD, Australia

Core activity: Custom software development and consulting

Revenue: US$120 million (FY07 ended December)

Key customers: Not disclosed

Employees: 1,100

Lean and agile software development methodologies boiled up from the developer underground and quickly proved successful, as covered in the 1999 book Extreme Programming Explained by one of the movement’s founders Kent Beck.

That agile techniques are now broadly accepted by mainstream enterprise IT practitioners owes much to ThoughtWorks, a global consultancy and vendor of development tools that champions these new methods and helps its clients to adopt them.

The company is not just an implementer of agile methods. Chief scientist Martin Fowler is one of 17 signatories to ‘The Agile Manifesto’, a document widely seen as defining the agile development movement. The company’s consultancy services focus on helping clients to solve software development problems. “Production” services see ThoughtWorks staff work alongside software development teams to help them understand and implement agile methodologies.

An offshoot called “ThoughtWorks Studios” is used to deliver its products. September 2008 saw this arm of the company launch Twist, billed as “an automated, functional testing platform and the latest addition to the Application Lifecycle Management suite for software teams”. The company has also issued Cruise, “a continuous integration and release management application that enables Agile development teams to release software with a new level of confidence”.

ThoughtWorks Australia managing director Chris Murphy says a recent highlight has been the company’s “steady expansion into Asia”, where it now has three offices in India, plus presences in Hong Kong and Beijing. Growth has also been strong in what Murphy calls “our main markets”, namely North America, the UK and Australia.

Simon Sharwood

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