The Ufirst Project

Workday Spotlight

End-to-End Testing – A Team Effort Made Round One a Soup-to-nuts Success!

E2E testing pie chart

Testing individual tasks is one thing, but building a rigorous testing plan that proves that integrations and data handoffs function as intended is another thing entirely. That’s what End-to-End (E2E) testing is all about – simulating complex, multi-step processes to assure there are no unforeseen problems. Running these tests now allows us to catch issues well ahead of go-live, eliminating them going forward, so we can provide a smooth transition in January.

Round One is done, thanks to a team effort 

The first round of E2E testing concluded on August 3, and we sincerely appreciate the time all participants took out of their busy schedules to make it happen. From sponsors, team leaders, and coordinators to the tech team, payroll team, training team, and stellar support staff that made the whole process run smoothly, this was truly a team effort!

E2E testing progress charts

E2E Round One by the numbers:

  • Days of testing: 20 (7/9-8/3)
  • Number of testers: 121, representing all three entities at the University, plus the HR organization and key partners outside HR
  • Tasks completed: 2,276, with just 31 under review and 131 deferred

What’s next?

Overall, Round One results are very positive with just a few issues that need to be addressed, as expected. The tech team has been working on resolutions and preparing for Round Two, August 13-24. This will be the final round of End-to-End testing, and its completion is a key component of our 4th project milestone: “P4 Build and End-to-End Testing Complete.” Thanks again to all who participated. More updates to come!

Quotes on E2E testing

The Art and Value of Usability Testing

Still image from usability testing video

Still image from usability testing video

Workday go-live is steadily approaching. In preparation for that critical transition, a wide array of testing and training efforts are being implemented. One of the most crucial is usability testing. Our recent round of usability testing was specifically designed to observe managers from across all three entities on Grounds – Academic, University Physicians Group (UPG), and UVA Medical Center. 

So, what exactly is usability testing? 

At its core, the goal of usability testing is to observe – to provide everyday tasks for users to try while providing only as much guidance as necessary. This is in keeping with usability guru, Jakob Nielsen, who said, “… pay attention to what users do, not what they say.” He also famously said, “Designers are not users.” In other words, the intuition of even the most experienced people on the implementation team can’t anticipate real life issues that may arise in the use of the processes and interfaces they create. This makes observations of real users all the more valuable.

Usability testing quotes

To that end, users from each test group were assigned a variety of Workday tasks and asked to execute these on their own – using their desktop computers for some and the Workday smartphone app for others. Sessions were recorded for later analysis, with guidance only provided if the user could not complete the task unaided. In the small percentage of cases where redirection was necessary, just enough information was provided to get them back on track. The test monitor then noted where the difficulty started and incorporated that into the final report.

Examples of some of the tasks managers were asked to complete:

  • Find a colleague in Workday
  • Enroll in a training class
  • Add a dependent (including uploading documentation)
  • Approve a time off request
  • View payslip

Key findings:

  • All of the participants were successful – needing no assistance to perform the majority of tasks they were assigned.
  • At the conclusion of testing, all of the participants rated their confidence in their ability to perform all tasks at 4 or higher on a 5-point scale – and 4.6 or higher for 75% of those tasks.
  • There are clear training and self-help solutions for the tasks that users found challenging.

So, what did we learn from this round of usability testing?

One of the most important takeaways from any type of testing (particularly usability testing), is that there is no such thing as failure, unless there is a failure to learn from the experience. Fortunately, because Workday is already a thoroughly tested platform, the majority of our test scenarios were completed successfully. That said, any time a user encountered a challenge – either due to unfamiliarity with terminology or navigation – it provided a window into real world experience. This will allow us to make adjustments to the platform, where possible, and provide guidance during training, or in self-help materials, to head off these challenges for the remainder of the user population. 

In short, usability testing provides us with essential insights to support a successful transition in January. There are several rounds (and types) of testing still to come, as well as extensive training opportunities, informational sessions, and materials. We will keep you well informed with future posts and other communications.

Behind the Scenes in Payroll: Testing 1, 2, 3

Payroll testing image

Payroll team members deep in the testing process.

Payroll staff, technical trainers, and subject matter experts were busy testing Workday in June to make sure both the team and the system are ready to pay everyone at UVA correctly and on time when the system goes live in January.

The team of 15 Payroll staff performed "cross-sequential" testing and training, which means they focused on a diverse cross-section of workers and their payroll results over the course of a year. With this type of testing, the team was able to confirm the various types of earnings, deductions, and taxes as they calculated and accrued toward limits in an environment that mimicked the natural payroll cycles, spanning 26 bi-weekly and 12 monthly pay periods. They worked with a test population that represented the Academic Division, Medical Center, and University Physicians Group.

Paul Grisdale

Paul Grisdale
Director of Payroll Services

Paul Grisdale, Director of Payroll Services, says the intense testing caught key system changes that otherwise would not have been captured prior to go-live and provided interactive, hands-on training, maximizing operational readiness. 

"We've developed payroll processing checklists and control sheets across all three entities," he noted. 

Although the three-week testing period was long and sometimes arduous, it aided the team's comfort in navigating the system and boosted their knowledge of Workday, says Grisdale. It helped that the trainers and subject matter experts collaborated to make fun activities like Workday scavenger hunts, Workday Payroll Relays, and "Who Wants to Be a Payroll Partner?" (based on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?").

LeTrecia Mathis, a member of the UVA Finance Payroll Services team, said “I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to interact more and get to know my new co-workers. I enjoyed the ‘fun’ put into learning!” 

We appreciate this newly-formed team's concerted efforts to make sure everyone gets paid correctly when Workday goes live. If you see a Payroll team member around, give them a high five, because they're working hard for all of us!

Securing Your Information With DUO

Locked personal data graphic

In additional to Workday’s comprehensive security program, the University is dedicated to protecting your information with DUO. You use DUO to verify your identity when logging in to Workday. You can use the DUO app on your mobile device, or DUO can call your mobile or desk phone for confirmation. Either way, using DUO, you’re in quickly, easily, and safely.

For additional information regarding UVA’s two-step authentication process, click here.

Why Cloud-based Updates Are Better Than Software Upgrades

Hands with gears

Updates and upgrades may seem like the same thing, but Workday’s cloud-based platform allows for smoother operation, saving downtime and IT-related expenses.

Today, Oracle and PeopleSoft upgrades are a time-intensive and costly nightmare for HR, ITS, and end users. Installed software upgrades lead to extended downtime of these systems, preventing faculty, staff and team members from entering time, making pay changes, etc.
With Workday, UVA faculty, staff, and team members will have access to essential HR systems on a more continuous basis. Workday updates its platform every week and delivers two major updates a year. We will still determine when to enable new features, but by delivering small changes on a regular basis, we maximize the availability of the system, allowing all of us to get our work done while ensuring that we are using the most current version of the platform. 

Workday Wednesday: The Power of One

picture of a cloud shaped in the number 1

The Power of One for UVA

Workday is a unique system that leverages the “Power of One” concept that enables a better user experience for everyone.

One System

Workday is one system with a suite of HR functionality, including everything from Recruiting to Payroll. End users will no longer need to log into 3-4 systems to complete HR work. The Power of One means there’s no longer a need for Jobs@, Lead@, Taleo, etc.

One Community

Worldwide, all Workday users are on one version of software. This makes it easy for UVA to connect with other Workday higher education/healthcare customers to discuss Workday best practices, and provide suggestions to Workday on how to improve the system. In fact, UVA is a charter member of Workday’s “R1 University Community.”

  • Higher Education Customers include University of Miami, University of Washington, University of Southern California, Ohio State, Penn State, and many others.
  • Healthcare Customers include Boston Medical, The Ohio State University Medical Center, and the University of Minnesota Physicians.

Transforming to Cloud with Workday

Workday cloud image

The Cloud
Learn more about how Workday's cloud-based solution can help you.

Built as a single system with a single source of data, single security model, and single user experience, Workday’s cloud-based solution is designed to evolve to meet changing needs

We are assured of having access to the latest version with the latest features and benefits – anytime, anywhere – whether we are using a browser or a mobile device.

Workday provides everyone at UVA with a one-stop shop designed to meet our needs, today and tomorrow. It’s available to us when and where we need it.

Improving the Way We Experience Competencies at the Medical Center

screen shot of comptencies in Workday

Competency (n): proficiency, experience, capability – critical in our business – fundamental to providing excellent care and delivering on our commitment to put the patient at the center of all we do.

The competency assessment process (for new hires and the annual process) for the Medical Center is undergoing a long-overdue overhaul in an effort to change the way team members and managers experience defining, completing, documenting and complying with competencies. This was due in part to the implementation of Workday. The new processes remove many manual and outdated steps by automating tasks and pushing notifications out to help with deadlines.

Shelley Tattersall, Technical Training Specialist, who worked extensively on the project, added, “Not only does the automated process better support our new hires, managers and current team members, it also helps to ensure compliance during regulatory surveys such as Joint Commission. Competencies – now housed in Workday -- can be accessed from any computer for easy and rapid access during surveys.”

Automation Is Key

Workday does the heavy lifting when it comes to automation:

  • The competency assessment form(s) is automatically delivered as a Workday inbox task to new hires who work with their preceptor/trainer/manager to validate, sign and upload the form to Workday.
  • Annual competencies (starting with two pilot groups) are now fully automated in Workday and will include the electronic signature and date/time stamp of the validator (preceptor, trainer, manager).
  • Notification reminders and non-compliance notifications are automatically sent to team members and managers.
  • Reports can be easily generated by the department to check for compliance.

In addition, the process improvement allowed the HR team to align job codes with OCA forms and update organizational and safety competencies.

Support When You Need It

The HR Talent Technical Training Team is a team of dedicated and experienced professionals responsible for supporting competency assessment. This team understands the importance of, and is committed to, collaborating with the unit/department leads to create, update and maintain new hire and annual competencies.

Get the Insight You Need

a photo of Workday reporting

Get the Insight you need with Workday’s Reporting capability!

  • Workday provides consistent, reliable data and straightforward reporting capabilities, giving managers the information they need to make important decisions
  • Reports in Workday are dynamic. Faculty, staff, and team members will be able to visualize data, drill down into a report, and initiate transactions from within the report.
  • In addition to the reports delivered by Workday, we are developing an initial set of standardized reports so that you can share, compare and benchmark with your peers.

Take Advantage of Workday’s Built-in Dashboards!

photo of workday data dashboard


Workday Dashboards

Data is the world’s new currency. With these dashboards, University leaders get real-time, easily accessible, accurate data - the information they need to review, benchmark, and plan.


Check out a few dashboards:

  • Talent and performance: Identify at-risk teams and top performers with leadership potential
  • Recruiting: Identify pipeline candidates, successful recruiting sources, and open positions
  • Pay equity: View how people are paid across your organization and take appropriate steps toward gender parity or other goals


These dashboards are built right into Workday and you can create many more on your own.


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