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UW Finance Transformation

UWFT user acceptance tester: “I tried to break Workday...”

May 11, 2023

When my director “volun-told” me that I would be a tester for UW Finance Transformation’s (UWFT) User Acceptance Testing (UAT), I couldn’t have been happier. She knew I’d be on board. My first thought was an excited, “Oooh, I can’t wait to get into Workday® Financials and try to break it.” And I was really curious to see if Workday is as good as everyone says it will be. I wanted to see how tasks I perform now will be accomplished in the future state because, at least on my team, we had questions about how some transactions would be handled in Workday. 

In late April, I joined a subset of Power Users and process transformation team members to prepare for my role as a tester. Our first session was a kickoff where I learned UAT doesn’t focus on data. The primary objective of UAT is to confirm functionality, but more importantly, usability — as well as to check our confidence and comfort with Workday by performing test scenarios1 on the platform. Our session leader also talked about UAT helping us to understand Workday concepts, workflow and user adoption by our hands-on experience, which will aid me in my Power User role and being on the first line of support for my unit after go-live. 

UAT began April 24 — virtually on Zoom — with assigned testers familiar with each business process area in the current state conducting specific scenarios. For each session, there’s a facilitator (drawn from UWFT’s Enterprise Project Management Office and Cross-Functional teams) to provide structure and troubleshooting assistance. There’s also a design lead in the role of a subject matter expert (SME) to share their expertise and walk through a demonstration of the business process in Workday. 

There was a pre-work requirement, tasks that were to be done prior to my first UAT demo session. The pre-work included completing self-paced online courses, also called “Foundational Journey” (to which all security role-based users will have access). Because I’ve spent time in the Workday® Human Capital Management (HCM) system, I was feeling confident I’d be able to figure things out. I admit, though, if not for my prior experience submitting various payroll processes in Workday HCM, I’d definitely need and appreciate all the pre-work to help me become familiar with financial terms and Workday functionality. I would have been lost or it would have taken much longer to do my test tasks. 

To support UAT, certain tools and processes were put into play. Testers were given access to the UAT testing platform, the Budget to Worktag Mapping Workbook and the Worktag Reference Guide. Each session had a similar structure: review of the agenda, housekeeping items, the process demo led by the SME, time for testers to run through additional scenarios they might use and finally logging test results and sending to approvers. 

So, what’s it really like to actually do UAT in a virtual testing environment? Here’s my experience as I tested Procurement & Supply Chain (P&SC), Manage Requisitions in Workday. 

First, I set up one screen to show the testing steps.

Then, I used a second screen so I could view the Zoom demo from the SME.

With a setup on multiple screens, I started doing the assigned test scenario online, which didn’t take too long.

As I listened to other testers volunteer to replicate the demonstrated scenario, I challenged myself to make up my own versions to run with different data inputs to see how Workday would respond and discover if I could cause Workday to “break.” I soon discovered I couldn’t produce scenarios to break Workday, and that proved true with other testers, too. Though they ran into some bugs, many were easily fixed during the session.

Once I completed my test steps, I logged my test results in the UAT Feedback form, which captures sub-process, security role, steps tested, test result (fail or pass), feedback and/or defect details and a file upload to attach screenshots.

One cool discovery was learning all the things that Workday Financials will perform without me having to do so many current-state workarounds that my team has had to create to complete our work. For example, right now in Ariba, to pay US citizen guests by domestic wire for honoraria, we have to pore through long lists to find proper meal per diem rates. In Workday, the process is faster because the rates are pre-populated and easy to find by simply typing in the name of the city. 

Another pain point in the current state are source justifications for any purchase of $10,000 or more. But, in UAT, I was able to see these had been addressed when a presenter verified such documentation would be uploaded as an attachment to the business process in Workday. Driver worktags were a mystery to me too, but now with my hands-on experience, I totally see how they work.

What also gives me confidence is my director has kept us very informed in making sure our team is prepared. We have weekly meetings to discuss process improvements to address upcoming changes to our submission forms and workflows. That helps a lot and eases my apprehensions about go-live. I’d say if you don’t have that, take advantage of all the self-training opportunities before go-live and reach out to your Unit Readiness Lead or UWFT change manager for guidance.*

I really didn’t know what to expect with the UAT process. Plus, with the way my team works today, I wasn’t sure how Workday would be better. Now, after testing — watching and performing around 20 scenarios in seven sessions related to P&SC — any doubts have gone away. Workday Financials is very user-friendly, and I’m psyched that it really will make accomplishing my work tasks in the future state much easier. 


1A test scenario contains high-level documentation which describes the end-to-end functionality of the system to be tested. The test scenario contains a collection of related test cases for the given business process. Test cases contain a set of steps that need to be done in order to test a specific function of the system. They are developed for various scenarios to determine whether the system is working the way it should and produces the expected results, as specified in requirements.

Lauren Bachman has worked for the University for almost six years, since 2017, just after the launch of the Workday® Human Capital Management system. Her Shared Services Supervisor role is a new position created to work in the Shared Environment. She’s had experience with retail and food service and found skills from both career paths prepared her for working in a Shared Environment setting. Her career at UW has helped her embrace her inner nerd and allows plenty of time to follow her passions: traveling and reading. 

*Editor’s Note: You can become familiar with Workday by accessing End User Training and UWFT Engagement and User Preparation information on the Change Network. For more information on UAT, see the Change Network. For any questions about the UWFT program, reach out to your unit’s change manager or send an email to

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