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Privately held
Industry Software industry
Founded 1993
Founder Neville Roy Singham
Headquarters Illinois, United States
Key people
Martin Fowler
Products CruiseControl, Selenium
Number of employees

ThoughtWorks is a privately owned global software development and products company. The company is closely associated with the movement for agile software development, and has contributed to a range of open source products.


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.[1][2] The company was incorporated under the new name in 1993 and focused on building software applications.[3] Over time, ThoughtWorks' technology shifted from C++ and Forte 4GL in the mid-1990s to include Java in the late 1990s.[4]

The company began using agile techniques while working on a leasing project[5] ThoughtWorks’ technical expertise expanded with the .NET Framework in 2002,[6] C# in 2004, Ruby and the Rails platform in 2006.[7]

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, Twist and Go. On 2 March 2007, ThoughtWorks announced Trevor Mather as the new CEO.[8]

In April 2013, ThoughtWorks announced a new collective leadership structure and appointed four co-Presidents of the global organization. The appointments followed the announcement that the current CEO, Trevor Mather, would be leaving ThoughtWorks in June to take up the role of CEO for the Trader Media Group.[9]

Software and services[edit]

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 or Brazil. The firm also provides consulting services related to software development, design, architecture, operations and IT transformation among others.

Proprietary software[edit]

On July 28, 2008, ThoughtWorks Studios released a proprietary product continuous integration server called Cruise. Despite the name, this is not a derivative of the open source CruiseControl, but instead a new product written from scratch, which was released under a proprietary license.[10] On July 10, 2010, ThoughtWorks Studios released a new continuous delivery platform called Go.[11] Go includes the functionality of Cruise, which is no longer sold.[12] From April 2014 Go is open source[13] and available on GitHub.[14]

Mingle[15] is software to facilitate agile project management and collaboration. Released in May 2007, Mingle was the first commercial application to be created using JRuby.[16] Mingle was released as a SAAS offering in 2013. Twist[17] is software to facilitate test automation and functional testing with simple authoring. Snap CI[18] was released in Beta in 2013. Snap allows you to automate the build and deployment of your Rails application to Heroku.

Open source contributions[edit]

A view of ThoughtWorks Bangalore

The company develops and supports open-source software projects. Employees are encouraged to contribute to open source software projects, and the firm often advocates open source software for use in corporate enterprise IT.[19]

  • CruiseControl[20] - Java-based framework for a continuous build process with many competitors.[21]
  • CruiseControl.NET[22] - a continuous integration server for the Microsoft .NET platform.
  • CruiseControl.rb[23] - CruiseControl for Ruby
  • Calatrava[24] - a framework that lets you share the core logic of your application across iOS, Android and Mobile Web, but unlike other cross-platform toolkits it allows you to always write the highest quality native UI you need.
  • Frankenstein[25] - Java Swing testing framework
  • NUnit - unit testing framework for all .NET languages
  • Selenium - testing tool for web applications
  • Sahi[26] - testing tool for web applications
  • JBehave[27] - Behavior-driven development testing framework
  • Buildix - bootable CD with Subversion, Trac and CruiseControl
  • SharpRobo[28] - testing tool for .NET applications
  • BeleniX - a distribution based on the OpenSolaris source code base.
  • OpenMRS - the world's leading open source enterprise electronic medical record system platform.
  • Go - A Continuous Delivery tool.


  1. ^ Lundy, Dave. 2003. Ex-activist backs revolution in software. Chicago Sun-Times, October 23. "At the time, I was an independent consultant working in the leasing business, but I realized I didn't want to work on my own. So I recruited a few people, and we built a company called Singham Business Services for two or three years doing consulting and leasing. Then in 1990, I came up with the name ThoughtWorks."
  2. ^ [1], About Us, accessed 2011-07-20.
  3. ^ Gale Directory of Company Histories accessed 2011-7-20 "The fledgling enterprise recruited some of its first technical staff by posting bulletin board notices at the University of Chicago. ThoughtWorks soon grew from an initial staff of 8 people to 30 consultants at the time of its official incorporation in 1993.
  4. ^ ThoughtWorks-How We Work, “The Beginning” accessed 2007-7-20.
  5. ^ Lundy, Dave. 2003. Ex-activist backs revolution in software. Chicago Sun-Times, October 23.
  6. ^ Martin Fowler books, section: Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture, accessed 7-20-2011
  7. ^ Ruby at ThoughtWorks accessed 2007-7-20.
  8. ^ [2], Business Wire, March 2, 2007.
  9. ^ [3], 'Bloomberg Businessweek, ThoughtWorks, Inc. Key Developments, April 10, 2013.
  10. ^ Cruise - Continuous Integration and Release Management System - From the Creators of CruiseControl
  11. ^ Go for Continuous Delivery"
  12. ^ ThoughtWorks Studios unveils new release management platform, SD Times, 2010-7-10
  13. ^ Source code for Go now available, last visit on 24th April 2014
  14. ^ Go on GitHub, last visit on 24th April 2014
  15. ^ "Mingle, Agile Project Management"
  16. ^ [4] Mingle from ThoughtWorks Studios to Be the First Commercial Software in JRuby, Business Wire, 2007-5-8
  17. ^ "Twist for Agile Testing"
  18. ^ "Snap CI"
  19. ^ Open Source, accessed 2011-7-20
  20. ^ CruiseControl Home
  21. ^ [5], Continuous Integration Server Feature Comparison Matrix
  22. ^ Welcome to CruiseControl.NET - CruiseControl.NET - Confluence
  23. ^ CruiseControl.rb
  24. ^ [6]
  25. ^ Frankenstein: About
  26. ^ [7]
  27. ^ [8]
  28. ^ [9]

External links[edit]