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Skore – October 2014 Release

Welcome to our October 2014 Release of Skore.

Reporting in Skore

The big new feature is the simple, but powerful Report export. The report simply lists all the objects in the currently open Skore and allows filtering and sorting. The report can also be exported to MS Excel for further manipulation if required.

The report has many uses including exporting items from Skore into a backlog, or producing a job description in a change program.

You use Skore to define how your product works and create detailed views to explore the functional requirements for each area. Eventually the team agrees that they have defined the user stories for the feature. Simply run Export > Report, ensure What and Why boxes are included and export to a spreadsheet. This can now be imported to a backlog to start work.

You are using Skore to understand the requirements for a potential new role you want to hire for. Having mapped out the work for this part of the business and assigned roles, including the new one, you run the report and sort the Who column. Now export the report to a spreadsheet and show only the new role. The provides a job description for the new role and helps you answer questions like is there enough here for a new person? Is it a junior or senior role? Is there enough to make it interesting? Will there be enough flexibility for someone to make it their own?

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 12.11.24

Other improvements

As well as a completely new feature we’ve improved some of the existing stuff.

  • Enter roles faster when using the same role multiple times across your flow. Skore will now prompt you with a list of previously used roles for you to choose from rather than entering the same one each time.
  • Change the colour of notes directly in the editor.
  • Notes now auto resize to fit the text.
  • Hide notes so you can focus on the flow using Ctrl + k. (Cmd + k for Mac)
Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 12.29.32

Enter roles quickly

Select note colour

Select note colour


We’re also trying to keep on top of bugs or errors you’ve reported including any spelling mistakes!

  • Undo now works as expected both from the keyboard shortcut and from the card shoe at the top of the window.
  • The title editor now stays visible when editing the title after creating a new skore.

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Mac OSX 10.9.5 updates to gatekeeper

In the last week or so Apple have released the latest update to Mac OSX. It’s one of those things that happens so quietly you almost miss it apart from the inconvenience of having to restart. So when we started getting reports that new users trying to install Skore were being greeted with the “unknown developer” message we were a bit surprised.

We should not have been, Apple had reminded us through the developer program that these changes were coming. However, we had tested our app on the pre-release versions of 10.9.5 and everything had been working fine. I guess it was only on release that the final changes to Gatekeeper had been made.

The rules around signing applications are a little stricter but most importantly you have to do the signing on 10.9.5 to avoid the warning message. Here’s more from

Apologies to anyone out there that downloaded the app but were unable to use it due to this issue. It should be resolved now!

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Skore 101 – get started with user journeys

How to get started with Skore ?

The tutorial in the software will guide for the few commands you need, this video shows you how to start creating (good) content



(available as closed captions in the video too)

Skore is a different way to see how your software product works, it’s very visual as we’ll see. And I’ll show you how to get started?

In this video you will learn how to create and visualise the journey an user make through a simple software. Then you will see how it helps getting everyone in the team on the same page and get started with great work.

The purpose of today’s example is to create a self-assessment tool for managers. The user (the manager) will have to enter, once in a while, grades and comments against a few criterias so we can follow trends, take actions and create a learning organisation.

So I start by placing a few boxes on the canvas.

The main activity our manager is expected to do : “Enter today’s assessment in the system”. I sue a What Box. I like naming them with a verb first, to describe the action. Below, I write who is expected to do it, the line manager

This activity alone doesn’t mean much. We need more context. Context is important to make sure you and your colleagues, designers, analysts or testers are talking about the same thing.

First, why the manager enters the assessment?

I use the Why Box to document the reason “performance is tracked and ready to be analysed”.

Second, when does the manager enters the assessment? Every 2 weeks.

Let’s connect everything together

I can already review this short story with a colleague and understand the various needs in terms of user interface, data base, and can have all sorts of discussion on how to deploy this in reality. I can agree on the vocabulary we will use and what are the critical steps.

A basic Skore made of only a few boxes helps me figuring out the basics of my software. Placing the user at the center of my story

Now, imagine with more details. This is what we’ll do in the next episode

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Skore & iPad, how to not break the promise?

It’s obvious to me that Skore needs to have an iPad / tablet counterpart.

I had great discussions around this topic at the Tech Open Air in Berlin.

Skore is a tool that drives a conversation, not hinder it. It’s a tool that can be used in a live workshop without breaking the flow of the discussion.

Voice command?

This is why there is no iPad version today: I haven’t cracked the nut on how to “pilot” Skore without breaking the conversation. Maybe the solution is in voice recognition? It might not be mainstream as of today, but this is likely to gain popularity as the services are becoming better.

We could imagine voice-control for editing text, attachments, but why not to build the graph as well “add one box”, “go to the right”, “enter in details”.

That said, just skore it, our live Skore viewer works nicely on iPad.

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Whiteboard versus software

This is a question that has come up a number of times recently, “is it better to run workshops using whiteboards or software tools?”  I’d argue that it’s not a question of one versus the other, they each have their strengths, the question should really be “when should I use a whiteboard and when should I rely on technology?”

What is a workshop?

A workshop is a very powerful collaboration and innovation tool. It normally involves a group of stakeholders with different areas of experience and expertise. It takes place in an open space where  the team have room to move around and interact. It is normally facilitated by someone that helps guide the team toward reaching a desired outcome.

Workshops are used to understand problems, identify solutions and allow the key stakeholders to provide their input. The purpose of the whiteboard, or a software tool, is to help visualise the ideas under discussion and to explore them in more detail.

So how do I know what to use?

I’ve found that it depends on the stage the team is at in terms of their understanding of the issues. In the early stages of a project there’s a lot to figure out and everyone has a different point of view. This is the blank page phase where you have to get thoughts aligned. Using a whiteboard here is perfect. Thoughts are very unstructured and the freeform nature of a whiteboard allows the team to get all these thoughts visible. Once you have achieved this you will start to see relationships between the ideas and it’s this point where things start to become more concrete. (see Dan Roam’s Back of the Napkin for guidance on how to visualise ideas)

This phase is where I would start to look at using a software tool. You’re starting to dig into the details, and the devil is often in the detail. At this stage the expertise of the participants really comes to the fore and conversations can be very quick and passionate. It’s important to keep these energy levels and concentration high to be most effective. The problem with manual driven workshops is that ideas come thick and fast, they get clarified and changed very quickly. It’s difficult to keep up with the flow and stopping and waiting for the facilitator to update a sticky note can sometimes be enough to distract the participants.

By the same token the software tool itself needs to be visual and quick, this is not always the case. Whether wireframing, or producing flows, a quick and easy tool is required to get the best out of the workshop. And if you can get the content directly into the tool then there’s no need to follow up later putting the content into the tool based on some poor photo you took with your tablet.

Having said all that, when I’m using a tool projected on to the wall I always have a whiteboard or flipchart available to capture additional ideas.

The bottom line is that workshops are incredibly powerful ways to collaborate and engage with different stakeholders but it’s important to use the right tool at the right time so that you can get the most value from the experience. As a rule of thumb I’d start with the whiteboard in a very early stage, as soon as ideas start to firm up and the nature of the challenge is understood then it’s probably time to switch to a laptop and projector.

We’ve designed Skore with this very much in mind. We’ve used many tools over the years, some are better than others in a live workshop environment, but they mostly rely on experienced users to get the most out of them. We wanted to create something that anyone could pickup and use to capture flows and user journeys with very little practice. Use the links below to download and try it out now.

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Code Signing – how difficult can it be?

Until fairly recently most of our audience has tended to early adopters and, as a result, largely technical. This meant that we’ve been able to get away without code signing the software. We simply posted a message on the site explaining what to do in the event that they hit the “Unknown Publisher” warning message. Now that we are seeing a wider audience downloading and using Skore we decided it was time to do what every good developer should do and start signing our applications properly. So how difficult can it be?

Cost first

Our first concern was cost, it had to be as cheap as possible, even if that meant a little more of a technical headache, we could deal with that to keep costs down. I spent a lot of time trawling Google and reading blogs. Some of the mainstream providers offered certificates that covered both Windows and Mac but these were around the $500 mark for a year. I’d also read at least one article that suggested I could only get a Mac certificate from Apple. I was worried I’d end up forking out for something that didn’t work anyway.

After a whole heap more research this is what we found. Due to recent changes in the Gatekeeper app in OSX only Apple issued certificates will be recognised, however these are available to you by signing up to the relevant developer program for under $100 per year. The cheapest Certificate Authority we found for Windows Authenticode certificates is Ksoftware from comodo at $95 for a year.

Identity validation

So it’s just a case of getting out the credit card? No. Part of what you’re paying for is the validation service, the act of proving who you, or your company are. As we needed to get our certificates from two different providers it meant two different validation processes that were both slightly different.

For both you start by filing an application for which you must provide various pieces of information related to the company. For Apple you need to provide a DUNS number. I’d never heard of this before but the process was pretty painless, I applied for one at Dun & Bradstreet and it arrived via email a few minutes later.

In both cases they went to the extent of checking our company details against the registering authority and contacting us via telephone to confirm. This means that your company address and phone number need to match up and be in the public domain. In the United Kingdom your company needs to be registered at Companies House.

Ksoftware also checked our website and came back to me to query why the registrant details of the domain did not match the company details. Of course we bought the domain before we setup the company. This took a few hours to get changed and updated. They also wanted to see our business listed in one of the many online directories with address and phone number. Again this wasn’t difficult to setup but meant further delay as I had to wait until my ticket was picked up again.

Certificate delivery

Once you’ve been approved, picking up the certificates differed on the different platforms and by browser. On the Mac it was pretty easy, simply launch Xcode and go to accounts, in there you’ll see your certificate and you can export it.

At Ksoftware it was a bit more tricky, they send a link via email to collect your certificate but it must be the exact same browser as you used to order it in the first place. I used Chrome and as a result the certificate was stored in the keychain on my Mac. Once I had located it there I could easily export it.

However, I realised some of the information in the certificate was incorrect so I contacted Ksoftware and they re-issued another. This time I used Firefox and the process was different. The certificate was stored within the preferences section of FF but was easy to export once I found it.

As a result we’re now able to distribute our software properly signed. All in all it took about 10 days from when we decided to go ahead until we had a signed build of each app.

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