Interviewing the Experts: Workday® Testing

6 minutes

Workday® Testing is a complex field, with a small talent pool of those with the expertis...

Workday® Testing is a complex field, with a small talent pool of those with the expertise to carry out the process end-to-end, including the business readiness phase. If you’re looking to move from a general testing background into Workday® Testing, or if you want to move over from the business side, you’ve come to the right place. 

We’re always striving to bring you the most up-to-date knowledge of the Workday® market, so we’ve been interviewing the experts. This week, we spoke to Mark Jerome, a Workday® Test Manager, who is a contractor in the Workday® ecosystem. 

Mark started in Software Development, before moving into testing. He spent time in permanent roles for consultancies, honing his skills in general testing, performance testing, functional testing and integrations. He decided to break into the contract market and has been a Workday® Testing contractor for the last 8 years. 

Having watched, and been part of, the evolution of Workday® into a well-established cloud-based HR, finance and planning solution over this time, Mark’s knowledge is second-to-none. We asked him some questions about testing, and what’s going on in the ecosystem at the moment…

What does the role of a Workday® Test Manager involve?

A Workday® Test Manager role involves preparing the overall test strategy, detailed test stages and roadmap for delivery, as well as coordinating the testing effort for the program of works.  

Dependent on the overall implementation strategy, the Workday® Test Manager may also be involved in forming or influencing Payroll and integrations strategies, Workday® Security rules testing and business readiness testing, in the form of a service rehearsal. 

The Test Manager will coordinate all test preparation and execution activities, as well as define test entry and exit gates with Stakeholders. 

These activities will include, but are not limited to: ensuring the delivery and sign-off of the test scenarios, planning pre-testing training in Workday®, and ensuring that test support and test execution resources are available, and their time commitment agreed. The Test Manager must confirm that the Test Process is understood by all, and followed according to the test schedule, expected run rates, and defect management process. 

The Test Manager will also need to monitor the status of all workstream activities on the program. This is to ensure that data, configuration and changes to the HR People Function are considered and reflected in the construction and execution of test scenarios. The Test Manager needs to create a dashboard that provides metrics that monitor test progress, mapped against targets and defects. This will provide transparency to stakeholders during test execution, contribute to decision-making around the project, and establish functional or system readiness.  

What are the most important skills you need to get into Workday® Testing?

Workday® Test Managers need impeccable communication skills, otherwise it’s hard to achieve buy-in from the multiple stakeholders involved in the test strategy. The Workday® test strategy can be contentious, and reaching an ideal outcome at the bargaining table can be difficult. It’s essential that those involved realise the resources, and their roles, responsibilities and time commitments, needed for the testing effort. The Test Manager needs to clearly communicate what they hope to walk away with, and where their boundaries lie.  

Testing is a high-pressure, and sometimes stressful environment. Time constraints can change, there can be a lack of communication, and other internal pressures can have an impact. Emotional intelligence is required due to the relentless nature of the job. You need to be adaptable, and to perceive, use, understand, and manage your own, and others’, emotions.  

A good understanding of fundamental HR processes is also required to ensure that the planning of test execution reflects employee life cycles and work experiences. Each HR process follows an intricate pathway that demands strategic test planning. You need to understand each process according to specific parameters and objectives, and their interdependencies.  

What's the best way to gain experience in Workday® Testing?

The best way to gain experience is by doing. Try to participate in projects in as many testing roles as possible. Gaining experience in test coordination or defect management is a good place to start.  

There are many approaches for testing Workday®, and all have their positives and negatives. Gaining hands-on experience in these different approaches will provide opportunities to reflect on these varying strategies. Implementation partners use different deployment methodologies in their delivery, and gaining practical experience will help you internalise this information. You’ll make some unintentional discoveries, learn how to avoid common pitfalls, and access wisdom from colleagues that you can utilise in subsequent projects. Remember, don’t try to recreate the wheel. 

Do you need a background in general testing to go into Workday® Testing?

A strong background in ERP Test Management is essential. It’s beneficial to have experience in the implementation of different test strategies when working on a project that has multiple test stages, with complex interdependencies between modules and test resource requirements. 

Previous experience in testing integrations with sub-systems, including Payroll, will be required on some projects as well.

What are the biggest challenges you experience as a Workday® Test Manager?

The biggest challenge in Workday® Test Management is late engagement to a project. Joining a project to define or redefine a failing of the test process can be tumultuous! While the Client Project Teams and Implementation Partners are busy with their Workday® design decisions, configuration, and forecasting the impact on the workforce in an HR transformation, the ball is usually dropped in the preparation phases. This includes testing and engagement with HR Testers and Payroll, and other sub-system providers.  

Late delivery of the test process usually results in a ‘wrong testing mindset’. The Test Manager will need to clearly identify and manage any shifts in stakeholder expectations about what the test process involves.  

Late engagement with the test process will also incur external pressures that the Test Manager needs to mitigate. These can include pressure from Implementation Partners and other stakeholders to cut corners in scenario preparation, test entry preparation tasks not being resourced, and stakeholder time commitments not being met. Late communication of the test process between the Test Manager and Testers, either verbal or written, may also reduce confidence during the test execution. 

What are the benefits of contracting compared to having a permanent testing role?

Contracting as a Test Manager can pigeonhole you into the technologies on your CV, but this helps you become an expert in testing that technology. Seeing how different approaches to deploying and testing Workday®, and learning from your own, and others' successes and mistakes, improve your decision-making. This leads to increased job satisfaction, and the feeling that you’ve made a real difference to the outcome of a project. 

The day rates are good, also, and you can manage your time to give you good periods away from work to pursue other interests.  

How do you feel the industry has changed in the 8 years you've been a Workday® Test Manager?

The Workday® market has matured, and customers have better expectations for the timeframe for delivery, and how to build the team they need to deliver it. 

With the growth of ServiceNow over recent years, it is now a major integration point with Workday®. The creation and testing of its digital workflows needs to work hand-in-glove with Workday® test phases. 

What does the future hold for Workday® Testing?

I believe Workday® will continue to expand and add new modules to their HCM portfolio. As the number of Workday® customers continues to grow, there is still a demand for ‘first-phase’ Test Managers, i.e. organisations moving to Workday® from other HR platforms or Applications. 

However, there is an increasing requirement for ‘second-phase’ Test Managers, for mergers and acquisition carve-outs, and second-phase integrations to new sub-systems and payrolls. 

If you’re a Workday® Test Manager, or looking to move into Workday® Test Management roles, whether permanent or contract, Focus on WD can help. As the world’s first Recruitment Consultancy dedicated solely to recruitment within the Workday® ecosystem, we are the experts. Get in touch today if you’d like to hear about our available opportunities, or if you’d like some career advice. 

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