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Making the Most of Your Workday Release

Occurring in March and September each year, Workday releases a series of updates across each module and the entire system. Ranging from data field updates to high-impact changes, these features allow customers to continue optimizing business practices. Release feature updates fall into two categories:

Automatically Available: These feature release items are automatically enabled and pushed to all customer tenants (configuration may or may not be required).

Optional: These feature release items are opt-in and available for implementation based on your company’s needs and goals.

How does the biannual release work?

Workday will announce a tentative list of updates several weeks before the release. This will provide insight into each update and high-level impacts. These release notes will be updated by Workday throughout the release window. If your organization is using functionality associated with a feature release update, it may have an impact on your current processes, integrations, and/or training materials.

These features will be deployed to your Sandbox Preview (testing) environment for evaluation, configuration, and testing six weeks before deployment in your production environment.

What am I responsible for?

Each customer is responsible for ensuring they’re prepared for the upcoming release, evaluating its impact on their tenant and organization, and testing the impact on existing processes. This evaluation should occur during the release window to avoid any surprises when the changes are deployed to your production tenant.

If your organization wishes to implement optional functionality, evaluate its impact on existing processes, alignment with organizational goals and objectives, and feasibility.

Here are 4 tips to make the most of your Workday Release Window:

Define a Workday Release Preparation Process

Creating a defined, repeatable release preparation process is critical to ensuring you adequately evaluate the feature release items against your Workday tenant. Using your original Workday implementation test cases, create a list of testing scenarios of your most critical processes and integrations to test against the automatically available features. Create a test plan and engage key stakeholders early during the release window to provide adequate time for evaluation and testing. You may have adopted new features since implementation, so be sure to add these scenarios for testing.

Focus on Automatically Available Features First

Workday has made a substantial commitment to continuously improving its product and the features it delivers to customers. Adopting new features is important, but it shouldn’t be done at the expense of validating your current processes against the automatically available features during the testing window; especially if you are tight on resources or have competing priorities. Make these items a priority above optional features unless the optional feature adversely impacts your tenant.

Align Release Items to Your Roadmap and Organizational Goals

Core Workday support teams are heavily engaged in ensuring Workday works for their companies. This includes troubleshooting issues, working on projects, and delivering enhancements. While some feature release items may be shiny new features that would be cool to implement, they may not be what your end users need or want to be prioritized. Before implementing a feature release item, validate with your key stakeholders to ensure you’re implementing solutions that meet their needs. Provide counsel on how some features they may not consider may meet their needs.

Iterate Outside the Release Window

The release window is only six weeks, and it will go by fast! You don’t have to confine implementing new features to this window. If you find key feature release items your organization can benefit from, but don’t have time to test and implement during the release window, consider implementing during the off-cycle periods to deliver continuous value for your organization.

The list of feature release items can be long and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. Establishing a defined process and setting expectations with key stakeholders early and often are the keys to success. For support with your Workday Release Management, contact Abnormal Logic at

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