Job Aids (with Examples)

“A job aid is a repository for information, processes, or perspectives that is external to the individual and that supports work and activity by directing, guiding, and enlightening performance.”
                                 —Rossett and Gautier-Downes, A Handbook of Job Aids, p. 45.

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Looking for samples? Here's a zip file containing a variety of sample job aids:

Job Aids in General

The Job Aid Job Aid summarizes types of job aids. The Cube Template provides a template for a 3-d cube.
Job aid job aid A one-page guide to job aids
Job Aids Job Aid - (.doc) (.pdf)
Generic job aid cube The generic cube described in a Simages article: template (.doc) (.pdf).

Agile Software

These aids (from the site) are for teams using Extreme Programming (XP) and Scrum.
XP on a page XP on One Page
Java coding standards Java Coding Standard on a Page
XP Programmer's Cube XP Programmer's Cube
Scrum on a page Scrum on a Page
Configuration management on a page Configuration Management on a Page

Paper Toys

These job aids were developed for the session “Paper Toys that Teach” at NASAGA '03:

Paper cutouts Cutouts (.doc) (.pdf) - Interesting objects to make with paper.
Flexagons Flexagons (.doc) (.pdf) - Paper with a surprising number of sides. (Print on legal size paper and cut into a flexagon to use.)
Origami Origami (.doc) (.pdf) - The art of folding paper.
Popups Pop-Ups (.doc) (.pdf) - Paper that becomes three-dimensional when opened.
Tessellations Tessellations (.doc) (.pdf) - How to tile a plane.
Up-Pops (.doc) (.pdf) - Self-opening pop-ups.
Up-pops calendar Up-Pops Calendar Template (.doc) (.pdf)

Further Reading

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when you purchase through them, you're helping support this site.

Job Aids and Performance Support: Moving from Knowledge in the Classroom to Knowledge Everywhere, Allison Rossett and Lisa Schafer, Pfeiffer, 2006.

Job aids are an aid to the broader challenge of performance support. The book is focused more on the latter (including online tools) than on job aids. It introduces a nice distinction: planners that help before or after a performance, and sidekicks that are with us when we work. The authors give advice on formats that help people decide about work or do it. They close by discussing principles, and strategies for implementation.

Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, Dan Roam, Portfolio, 2013.

This book focuses on "Visual Thinking", using several simple frameworks to get at different ways of thinking about problems, and different ways of portraying information visually. This book isn't about job aids per se, but the visual approach will suggest ideas that may be useful in them.

A Handbook of Job Aids, Allison Rossett and Jeannette Gautier-Downes. Pfeiffer, 1991.

There aren't a lot of reference books on job aids, but this is my favorite among those I've seen. It presents a variety of types of job aids, along with guidelines for when to use them.

The Checklist Manifesto, by Atul Gawande. Metropolitan, 2009.

This book is an expansion of Gawande's interesting New Yorker article. It's an exploration of how the relatively simple idea of a checklist can be used to ensure that complicated things get done well. What works for pilots also works well for surgery. I thought the article was enough to get the idea, but the book was an interesting read for more depth.

Mapping Inner Space, 2/e, Nancy Margulies with Nusa Maal. Zephyr Press, 2002.

Margulies and Maal presents techniques for visual maps, a version of mind maps. You can certainly learn the basics without this book, but it makes great use of color and has lots of examples of maps and symbols.

Reinventing the Wheel, Jessica Helfand. Princeton Architectural Press, 2002.

This is a picture book of volvelles, wheel calculators. You typically set a pointer to a particular value, and windows or the edge of the wheel reveal an answer. If you have any interest in job aids, or pre-computer calculators, you will enjoy the history and pictures this book contains.


Web Sites - Extreme Programming and Agile Software

Of special interest may be reviews in the areas of training and learning. - Games for training


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Bill Wake is a software consultant with a focus in agile methods such as XP and Scrum, and interests in design, games, and music.

Bill works for Industrial Logic, home of great e-learning in test-driven development, refactoring, user stories, and more.

Bill's professional site is at <>, and his personal site is at <>.


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