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Why Workday is like…a triathlon

In our next installment of “Why Workday…?” we explore the parallels between implementing a modern HR and Finance system, and racing in a swim/bike/run event. I’ll let you in on a little secret – they can both be a little nuts, there will be high points and low points, and you’ll definitely learn something about yourself.

Triathlons consist of three legs – a swim, a bike ride, and a run. The distances can vary from a total of perhaps 12 miles up to 140.6 miles for a full Ironman distance. Similarly, Workday projects consist of essentially 3 phases – Design, Configuration & Testing, and Deploy. They can range from a basic implementation stood up in 4 or 5 months (sprint distance) up to a platform deal that may take 12 months or more (definitely an Ironman event!)

Make sure you’ve done your homework

Our first parallel occurs right up front with the swim/design phase. This is where energy is high – the sun is up, nerves are jittery, and you’re just anxious to get going. Everyone is happy to start the race (or project) and nobody has kicked you in the face yet. The key here is to not go out too fast – do that and you’ll hyperventilate and have a horrible swim. You also have to know the course, rehearse it in your head, make sure all your gear is ready, and have your plan in place. Similarly, understand what you’re about to embark on with Workday…talk to experts that have done this before…really consider their advice and do a great job with planning your integrations, your data conversion, your resource plan. Do that, and you’ll have a great project.

Don’t get complacent

Next up is the bike/configure phase. This is where you can take a bit of a breather – you’ve worked through your design work (the swim and transition 1 or “T1”), your implementation partner is doing most of the heavy lifting, you’re cruising on your bike at high speed. Keep in mind that you are still making adjustments at this point. What you thought you wanted in Workday isn’t quite what you had in mind, so you change it. You also need to take in a bit of hydration and energy so you don’t bonk on the run. But most people will find this phase to be the easiest one, as many of the hard decisions are behind you and you feel like you’re moving quickly.

It doesn’t have to hurt this much

Here comes the part where most people fall apart: testing. Also known at “T2”. This is when you come off the bike, heart racing and head pounding, ready to kill it on the run. Except for one thing – nobody told you how hard it is to run fast after a fast bike. They didn’t tell you that if you pushed too hard and you didn’t spin with a high cadence toward the end, your hamstrings and calves will burn like you’ve never felt and you’ll come screeching to a halt. Similarly, if you’re not well prepared for testing your happy, smiling project team is going to become an angry mob on the edge of revolt because they didn’t know how hard this part it.

Finish strong

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel for the run/deploy portion. Assuming you can work through the pain, the finish line is in sight and you get an energy lift that should carry you under the banner. Assuming you don’t completely crack before the finish, you’ll cross the line knowing that you did the best you could on the day, but also knowing that if you did it again you’d probably change a few things and do it better next time.

At Solve Consulting, we’ve done over 80 triathlons, from super short sprints to half-Ironman events. We’ve done them in lakes, oceans, islands, blazing sun and pouring rain. You could say we’re ‘seasoned’. We’ve also implemented scores of Workday rollouts – from 5 month LDP projects up to full platform deals including Supply Chain. We’ve put in the work, and we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. Give us a call to discuss your Workday needs – I’m sure you’ll find our advice enlightening. And if you’re in Southern California, let us know which races you’re doing and we’ll come join you.

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