How to Capture a Process

Congratulations on getting your Skore Workspace! Your process discovery experiences are about to become collaborative, enjoyable and satisfying. In this article we’d like to show you how to capture a simple process in Skore and explain why it is so effective.

For this exercise we are using the aircraft turnaround process as an example as it demonstrates the many different aspects of process visualisation and is a pretty complex process.

The basic components of a process

Processes are a series of activities that transform inputs into outputs. At the core we need to know what happens, who does and why. Skore is built around these core questions.

Drawing a process with Skore means adding a What box to describe what happens and who does it, then a Why box to describe the output of each step in the process.

Need to know how to add a Why or What box? Click here

A WHAT box followed by a WHY box

Click on each box to edit text and describe the activity, the role that does the activity and the output of that activity.

Let’s use a simple activity: Unload Passengers

A completed WHAT box

In this example the person responsible for safely unloading the passengers is the Cabin Manager. The reason we unload the passengers… well apart from the fact they want to reach their destination… we need to get them off as quickly as possible so we can start preparing the cabin for the next flight.

You can read it like a story:

As a Cabin Manager I need to unload passengers so that the cabin can be inspected and cleaned.

Drawing process flows

Now we know how to define a single activity in a process let’s look at how to create process flows. If you feel really confident you can start capturing activities in a flow. However here we recommend an easier way to get started and make sense of business processes.

Your audience will always find it easier to tell you what they do rather than why they do it. In fact asking someone directly why they do something can make people feel uncomfortable.

So let’s start with some basics. First off we want to clearly show what process we’re mapping. Make sure you have the title of the process clearly visible.

Next let’s set the ‘scope’ of the process. This means where the process starts and where it finishes. The first input and the final output.

scope_process_improvement
Start with title and scope

Now we know what we’re looking at, the next step is to try to capture the main activities. So start putting a few what boxes onto the page and then ask what the main tasks are.

Place some empty WHAT boxes on the canvas

That wasn’t so hard and we didn’t upset anyone yet. Rearrange so all activities are in the right order. So now try to add the role of the person who owns this piece of work.

Add activities and roles to the WHAT boxes

The next stage is to add the outputs. Each output becomes the input for the next activity so think of them as the handover from one to the next. What tells you one activity has finished and the next is ready to start.

This could be as easy as a document completed, a signature captured or a form approved. As you capture these you can link all the boxes together in order.

Finally add WHY boxes and connect the lines

Creating detailed views of a process

Once we’ve described the high level process we can start to explore how it works at a more detailed level. Some people call these sub-processes or drill downs.

You don’t have to create a detailed view for every activity, it depends on whether you need to know more about that activity or not. If you do then this is how.

Simply click the detailed view icon on the what box.

Click the detail view icon to create a new diagram

You’ll immediately move to a new diagram. Look at the breadcrumb and you’ll see you’ve entered a new level of detail.

The breadcrumb is created as you go into more detail
The breadcrumb is created as you go into more detail

Now start drawing the next level of process. You can start your scope by dragging the inputs and outputs from the parent level onto the canvas from the Create menu.

Then follow the previous instructions to create flows.

If you need to create more details you can. There is no limit to the number of detailed views you enter.

Linking to relevant documents

As you capture a process you will want to add additional information to it. For example, document templates, systems or descriptions of the process steps.

All of these are easy to add in Skore. Every step in a process can have a text attachment or a link to another document or system.

To create a text attachment simply move your mouse over the step in the process and click on the paperclip icon.

Click the paperclip icon to add an attachment
Click the paperclip icon to add an attachment

Click Add New Text and enter the text you need. You may use markdown to format the text if required.

To link to a document or system use the URL link on the attachment window.

Additional text and links to systems and documents can be added as attachments

These are the basic steps to any process capture in Skore. We hope you have found it useful. If you have any further questions you can contact us at info@getskore.com . Follow us on our social media below for further hints and tips on how to get the best out of the Skore Digital Discovery Platform.

Skore announces further Digital Discovery Training dates.

Skore, the Digital Discovery Software Platform is pleased to announce the relaunch of its training programme. The programme is designed and available to anyone who needs to capture and analyse processes within an organisation and is looking to improve their skills.

Craig Willis – Customer Success Director said ‘Skore helps organisations understand and clarify their processes so they can transform their businesses. We are delighted to have the opportunity to demonstrate how Skore can be used in live workshops to save time in process discovery and engage participants. Our training programme means participants can enhance their skills to extract insights, analyse processes and encourage collaboration with colleagues.’

At the end of the training, participants will be eligible to apply for the Skore Practitioner Certification. The first date will be held at the Future Technology Centre in Portsmouth on Tuesday 3rd September. This will just be the first of many dates announced as the Skore team roll out the enriched accreditation programme.

If you’d like to learn more about the Skore training and accreditation program please get in touch by emailing anna.roebuck@getskore.com for more information.


New RPA Partnership Announcement

Skore Digital Discovery Platform announces partnership with leading RPA Solution & Services experts Lawrence & Wedlock.

The new collaboration will ensure an end to end solution for companies looking to achieve agility in implementing RPA technologies. Skore’s Robotic Assess module brings disruption to the discovery phase of any automation project. It considerably reduces the time to discover, engages stakeholders and produces a robust analysis of the current situation.

Lawrence & Wedlock, an experienced intelligent automation services provider, delivers end-to-end solutions from process discovery and product selection through to implementation and ongoing maintenance.

In the rush to automate it’s not always clear what to automate now and what to improve before automating. Daniel Lawrence, Managing Director at L&W said: ‘Our clients rely on Lawrence & Wedlock to deliver agile, creative and efficient solutions. The Skore platform is becoming an integral part of our delivery toolkit in facilitating this, enabling us to move away from static templates and spreadsheets in favour of a robust, scalable platform to work collaboratively with our clients to deliver their RPA programme and provide our developers with everything they need to deliver automations.’

The Skore Digital Discovery tool is an excellent match for any organisation looking to become more agile through the use of disruptive technologies such as RPA. Chris Green, Partner Director at Skore said: “Skore is the answer for organisations looking to rapidly implement automation based on an in-depth analysis of their current situation and provide a solid foundation for ongoing adoption of that technology. Lawrence & Wedlock provide a comprehensive and effective solution for their customers using RPA which makes perfect sense for this partnership.

Notes to Editors

Skore is a leading software company whose unique solution helps organizations reduce the cost and risk of digital transformation, systems implementation and automation.

Lawrence & Wedlock are a certified RPA services partner, providing automation Services and Solutions. Their objective is to make automation enablement truly accessible for businesses through our simple, flexible and effective services.

For further press information, please contact:                                                          

Anna Roebuck anna.roebuck@getskore.com

Marketing and Communications Manager 023 92 658 268

Product Update June 2019

Following feedback and the continuous improvement of our platform we are delighted to announce updates to our Digital Discovery app. In the latest version you can discover the following enhancements:

  • Enhanced user experience and Performance (including Microsoft Edge) – streamlined login experience, page load time halved, more reliable in low bandwidth areas,  increased user feedback with loading bar. 
  • Custom Fields – improved ways to categorise and analyse requirements, risks, issues, ideas, questions etc. 
  • Support for single sign on providers – Azure, Google and all Oauth compatible providers.

Tip:

Did you know you can rapidly capture business requirements, issues, risks, questions and other information directly related to your process?   

The custom field feature is available to all editors and lets you capture this information on the fly.   

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Custom fields can be added to the attachment panel. Simply enter the type of field you want to capture and add the details.   

Now create a report and filter by your custom field to see a list requirements in the context of your process.   

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more, please contact us on:

+44 (0) 2392 658 268 

or email us at info@getskore.com 

From the Skore Product Team

IDEFlite

Why do we need IDEFlite?

IDEFlite is the perfect way to communicate how a business process, and any underlying automation, is going to work between technical and non-technical audiences. This makes it an ideal point of reference throughout a project.

Audiences can use it to describe ideas, changes and potential issues in a way that reduces misunderstanding.

Unlike the typical flowchart modelling techniques, found in technical developments, IDEFlite is ideal for creating a high level view of a business process. It does so in a way that is easy to understand for anyone who needs to look at and comment on the model.

 

What is IDEFlite?

Based on IDEF0, IDEFlite is a simple, yet powerful, way to model activities, workflows and activities. It’s simple in that it uses a very limited notation which makes it easy to read for anyone.

While being very simple it can be used to describe extremely complex scenarios using decomposition. That is, every single activity can be described in more detail whenever required. Without the need for a complex library of descriptors.

When compared with IDEF0 one can see the primary difference is that IDEFlite does not make use of Controls and Mechanisms. Instead it focuses on Inputs and Outputs while including a human role.

How does it work?

The Building Blocks

 

Work is described as activities.

Every activity should have at least one input and output to set the scope of the work. All work should be owned by someone in the form of a supporting resource.

Activities are Linked Together

Work activities are linked together to form flow diagrams (processes).

Activities are Deconstructed to Form Hierarchy

Work activities can be deconstructed thereby creating a new detailed view of that activity. This forms a hierarchy of detail linking high level activities with low level tasks.

This is done when it is necessary to describe an activity in more detail. For example during a conversation about how something works. If the current flow does not adequately describe a particular interaction the user can take that step and create a detailed view.

Each level of detail is a new diagram, together this collection of hierarchically linked diagrams is a map.

Skore natively supports the use of IDEFlite, why not request a demo to see how.

How we keep Skore at the cutting edge

We’ve never wanted to sit still and we’re always looking for ways to improve our company, our services and our products. Earlier this year we released the latest version of our Skore web application. This included an almost complete rebuild of the whole app from ground up.

It’s no small undertaking to start from scratch but we felt the time was right. As you develop a product there’s lots of trial and error, some things work well others, not so much. Feedback from users is essential but so is our own experience using the product. And this is something we pride ourselves on, we use our product on a daily basis.

But it’s not just user experience and usability changes that are important. As we develop the software we learn what works and what doesn’t. We realise that some choices, that seemed right at the time, have challenged us later on. This is why it’s important to take the opportunities to rebuild when they arise. To apply, from the beginning, all the lessons we’ve learnt since the last time.

For those that have followed us since 2014 they’ll know that this isn’t the first time we’ve rebuilt the product, or redesigned the user interface. Here are some of our previous user interfaces that some users will remember, some more fondly than others!

Skore Prototype

While not the very first prototype you can see one of the first uses of the what and why boxes. The product was then called Score with a C. All the main controls are there which allowed us to start testing with real users before we officially released.

Skore Version 1

Our first official release of Skore was for the desktop only. The interface was simple, there was no way to apply styles to the content. The editor tool bar was along the top of the application rather than the left bar we use now. By this time we had added the sticky note feature that allowed the user to annotate process models.

All the key features were here by this point, rapid modelling, shortcuts, multi-layers and attachments on each box. Although in version 1.0 you could only share processes by PDF or with other users of Skore desktop.

Skore Version 2

Following a business review with the Happy Startup School we underwent a rebrand, new logo and website. Then we decided to follow up with a redesign of the Skore user interface.

We worked with Mike C from Think.gg to design a new interface with darker colours contrasted with the green we had adopted in our logo and website.

We implemented a bright fun backdrop to the app which proved controversial. Some users loved the playful background and others immediately asked us to remove it. We quickly implemented a configuration item for those that weren’t fans.

By this time the app had implemented stylesheets that let users change the look and feel of the visualisations, add images or choose from the library of icons.

It was shortly after the release of this version that we started working on our first web app. To get up to speed as quickly as possible we build a separate backend web application and graphted the new Skore editor on top of it.

One of the biggest challenges for us is that we used different teams, and different designs, for the main web interface and the editor interface. These were completely different apps that had been integrated. It soon became clear that we’d need a complete rebuild to resolve the increasing technical debt that had built up.

Skore Version 3

Back in late January we released our Unity interface, or Skore version 3, which brings all parts of the application into a single design. This version of the interface has undergone the most extensive user testing to date. This led to a standardisation of common functions such as Search, New, Edit and Save across each type of content in the workspace.

The interface also came in time for our new branding which was easily implemented into the system.

This is a great step forward for us, it demonstrates our commitment to continually improving the product. It’s not just the interface but the rebuild ensures we also constantly update and improve the architecture, security and performance of the application.

If you would like to learn more about Skore why not request a demo.

Process governance and agile

Do you need processes at team level?

At the heart of an agile organization is a deep understanding of how we work together. In an agile team, the constant collaboration between the members help doing so. Retrospective meetings are the institutionalised forum for talking about “how we work”. In reality, every time people talk together there is a little bit of “how” in the conversation. How many conversations end with “you do this, then I do that”.

There is little need to formalise processes in too much details at a team level. This is compensated by clear and open communication between the members.

Do you need processes at an organisation level?

This gets more complicated when several teams are working together (team = sharing coffee machine). Such as procurement and production; or sales and accounting. Or Head office – regional offices.

At this level, the interactions are less regular, and, we do not systematically voice concerns or “just” change  how things work. Processes change are often heavy and it’s easier to not do it.

This is where process definition gets critical to understand how things work. And this is where you need some sort of governance to make it right, especially around change.

What is process governance in an agile organization?

This post finishes with a list of open questions / thoughts because I don’t have a definitive answer (yet).

  • Create a system that allows continuous improvement (CI) of processes (willingness to do so, and an approach to make it) at cross-functional level
  • Create the incentive to do CI across several teams (incentive = people will find the time to do it)
  • Have a common language to describe the work so that everyone can prepare in the best way (Hello, Skore)
  • Process owner is key role to make that happen
  • Middle management is a key role to make that happen
  • Good understanding of outcomes of the process vs. outputs to be in the right context

The key seems to be to create “space” in the organisation for continuous improvement activities…

To be continued.

Possible service interruption – June 13 2018

Some users of Skore may have experienced a temporary service interruption at approximately 2pm British Summer Time on Wednesday June 13th 2018.

This was caused when a name server, unconnected with Skore, was configured with incorrect domain resolution information. This in turn caused the domain to be redirected to a holding page that read “Hello World!”.

The issue was discovered, reported to the owner of the domain name service, and resolved within 60 minutes.

Temporary suspension of justskore.it publishing from desktop app

We would like to inform all users of the Skore desktop application that the anonymous publishing feature justskore.it has been temporarily suspended since March 20th 2018. This has been caused by a change to one of the third party services that this feature is based on.

We will be returning the service as soon as we have completed the necessary updates to the product.

What is it?

The justskore.it feature in the desktop software allows a user to quickly and anonymously publish a .skore file to the internet. Anyone with the link can view the process created in Skore online.

The advantage of this feature is that you can quickly share ideas to anyone with an internet connection and a web browser. The downside is that the information is shared publicly and cannot be changed once it has been published.

How does it work?

The features uses https://github.com/ and saves the Skore xml data as a publicly available anonymous gist on the github service. As of March 20th 2018 github have ceased support for anonymous publishing therefore blocking Skore desktop app from publishing new processes to the service.

All previously posted processes will remain available. You can read more about the update from github here: https://blog.github.com/2018-03-20-removing-anonymous-gist-creation/

Solution

We are currently working on a new version of the Skore desktop software. This will include a new version of this feature which will allow publishing and sharing of the processes to our own servers. This will have the advantage of providing us more control over the data inline with data protection guidelines.

We are working to release this new version of the software over the next few months.

In the meantime users may consider saving your process as a .html file and uploading it to a service such as Sharepoint, OneDrive or WordPress.

Alternatively users should consider our web service. The Skore web service offers the ability to create and publish processes anonymous with the added advantage of being able to edit and update the process once published. This essentially means you can maintain a single URL link for any users to accesses the content. Examples of this feature include sharing processes embedded in a website or training material.

Our new freedom pricing model maybe suitable for users of the desktop software. Check out our pricing page for more information.

If you have previously purchased the desktop software we would be happy to talk about a discount to your first year.

For further information please contact info@getskore.com