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Deployment Process

Workday HCM project insights

Here at Kainos, we’ve led and participated in a lot of Workday HCM projects with customers large and small. Over the last 4 years, we have gained a lot of experience and learned a lot of lessons about how to make these projects successful. So we thought it might be good to share some of those findings to help other Workday customers or prospective customers on their implementation journey. We structured them around the typical phases of an implementation project using the Workday deployment methodology. Enjoy!

Planning stage

Change management

You know your organisation better than anyone so define what change management means for your organisation and who, when and what actions will have to be completed during the project implementation stages. If left too late, the project team will face various (and very likely) critical time challenges that may directly impact the implementation date.


Your data may not be as good as you think it is (i.e. quality, consistency, and quantity) – review you data early to understand it. An initial tenant (P0) can always help to uncover data issues earlier and help you get an understanding of your data. Define the required data conversion strategy between your existing system and Workday to be manageable and repeatable.


Assess the entire integrations landscape and the key participants including internal IT and external 3rd party system vendors. Define an integrations stakeholder plan – to engage with all the participants to ensure they understand the project, the timelines, the dependencies and deliverables.

Prepare Your Team

Prepare your team for the project as early as possible. This includes attending training sessions, viewing available online training and identifying roles and responsibilities for key project roles (e.g. Test Lead, Data Lead, Change Manager and Steering Committee members). Also identify the best people to represent the organisation at design workshops – who are the Subject Matter Experts and who is empowered to make design decisions and ensure they are prepared for their roles. We also recommend that you arrange pre-workshop reviews to ensure the agenda, expectations and workshop preparation is clear and understood. Implementing Workday may make it difficult for the core team to effectively manage their day jobs.  If this is likely to be the case consider a back-fill plan.

Design / Architect stage

Create Design Principles

Establish some rules to govern the design workshops. These are used to help guide the design process – a sample Design Principle might be “Standard, Simple, Global and Maintainable”.

Design Authority

Introduce the concept of Design Authority to govern design changes. Once the solution design is signed off – any subsequent design change needs to be reviewed and authorised by the Design Authority who is responsible to ensure design principles are not eroded by local or individual demands.


A critical activity to get right – it’s essential to prepare early, defining an appropriate test strategy and test plan. Kainos Smart Automated Test tool for Workday can be leveraged as part of the test strategy to help with the depth and breadth of testing. This is not meant to replace the benefit of users learning the system when they test, but to supplement their activities by allowing a broader level of testing.

Configure / Build stage

Lessons learnt

Building the Workday solution is an iterative process during which the data gathering and loading processes are refined. Provide sufficient time to review all lessons learnt from the first prototype build and allow time to implement necessary improvements to apply for the second prototype and onwards. This will make the data preparation process for building future tenants as smooth and fast as possible.

Document changes

Track your configuration changes to help identify defects during the Test stage and provide input into writing test scenarios. Documenting the configuration changes will also give an idea of the configuration improvements achieved during each prototype build.

Post Live Planning

Foremost is to consider the immediate post live data catch-up, assess anticipated volumes and ensure clear plans are in place for this activity. Also ensure that a plan is in place for Post Deployment Services (e.g. employee questions) and Support (e.g. how to handle when something goes wrong). Also, where there are plans for further phases, consider these in light of the requirements and experiences on the project to date.

Testing stage

Manage testing

Ensure that the test and issue process is well managed. This is to ensure that testing is executed by the various testers when it was planned, results are recorded and issues are triaged, assigned and actioned as per the issue management process. It is also imperative to report on progress – producing metrics for the test activities – this will help keep the test activity on track and inform on the quality of the system.

Deploy stage

Communication Management

Ensure that stakeholder communications make it clear that go-live is the start, not the end of the journey.

Adoption stats

Prepare the necessary reports in Workday to allow you to track transaction details based on the tasks you ask your employees to complete. This should be seen as a tool to promote the success of the project.

Post Go-Live stage

System improvements

Define a plan about how and when to implement any deferred or newly created defects or change requests.

Continued User engagement

Make your communication with end-users continuous – sharing with them future improvement and upgrade plans, as appropriate. Let them know about the new functionality and enhancements made available in Workday updates too!What are your thoughts? Why not send us an email or comment if you think there’s anything else you’d add to this checklist.Interested in our Workday testing product Smart?

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