Project Needs Assessment



The tool can be downloaded as a Word document: CommCare Project Needs Assessment (Spa)

The Needs Assessment tool was developed for Dimagi staff to use during initial scoping of a project. The goal is to understand the program priorities, expectations, anticipated barriers, resources, costs, and partnerships. The information collected in this process is used to inform timelines, application design, and project planning. Walking through the questions in this tool may assist your organization in thinking through the early stages of a pilot design.

[Note there are changes in progress]

Explanation of Tool

The purpose of this survey is to understand the priorities of the organization and expected outcomes of the mobile intervention. 

Part One - Program Priorities and Expected Outcomes


Follow-up Steps & Implementation Considerations


Follow-up Steps & Implementation Considerations

Most important areas that the program will benefit from deploying CommCare

  • An indication of the priorities/goals the organization aims to achieve with their mobile application (i.e. workflow or decision making support, counseling, or data collection).

  • If Supervision of FLWs is selected, it is recommended that organization identifies which performance metrics from the CommCareHQ reports would be more useful for supervisors. Organization is encouraged to think early on about how to integrate CommCareHQ reports in their supervision structures and processes.

  • If Monitoring and Evaluation/Data Analysis is selected, it is recommended that organization understands the difference between form exports and case exports. Decide how the questions in the application should be coded in the form builder for ease of analysis.

How partner perceives FLWs to benefit from deploying CommCare

  • Use this information to focus on features that will improve the FLW's service delivery.

Barriers expected for the mobile phone intervention

  • Lack of on-the-ground infrastructure - This refers to the availability of network, electricity, technology (i.e. computers) at the project site and field office. Plan for these risks early on prior to launch.

  • Government/health system barriers - Assess how any of these barriers will affect the ultimate success of the project/pilot.

  • Lack of technology/computer programmer staff - If this refers to lack of MIS capacity, assess at which levels this capacity gap exists. Ensure that staff with the skills are present for training to support staff at different levels.

  • Lack of program staff capacity - Assess the gaps more specifically with respect to human resources, training, time or competing projects.

  • Lack of mhealth budgeting/finance capacity - Organization should refer to the Total Cost of Ownership tool to determine estimated budget to scale.

  • Lack of interest/understanding/commitment from organizational leadership - This is worrisome for scale-up because it will likely take a huge lift and crossing red tape to grow the project. Discuss in advance.

  • Lack of donor interest/funding - The POC packages will enable organizations to try and learn CommCare. It may be easier to apply for grants if organization's demonstrate they have had some experience testing the intervention at a small scale.

  • Cost of deploying technology - At some point, I would share our Total Cost of Ownership Model

  • Inability to scale after pilot - Probe why this is so.

Factors the organization will focus on to determine whether CommCare should be scaled up


Part Two – Organizational Survey





Information about:

  • number of FLWs and direct beneficiaries they work with

  • supervisory structure and 

  • performance expectations of FLWs


  • Number of FLWs and Beneficiaries: Can inform how you approach organizing user groups, reports and processes even if working at a pilot level. Run pilots with scale in mind.

  • Supervisory structure: Determine early on if supervisors need to be brought into design and field testing of the application and most importantly, training the users. Determine what role the supervisor will play during the training and post deployment. Based on this, determine if the supervisors need any training on the mobile tools. For example: will they troubleshoot phones, will they view performance reports and take respective actions/decisions in the field?

  • Performance expectations: Interesting discussion to start with organizations. Most do not have performance metrics. You may discuss our work with Active Data Management and get organization to start thinking about bench marking.

Language, literacy and technology experience of mobile users and  project staff

  • Mobile users: 

    • Important information to consider whether the application needs multimedia support for better usability. 

    • Begin to think about where and how you may use media (i.e module and form names, in every question vs. some questions etc.). 

    • In which language do the mobile users need to see the application? 

    • In which language will training have be delivered?

    • Is it necessary to assess literacy more robustly?

    • Is it necessary to assess the technology experience of the user in greater detail? (See Mobile Experience Survey)

Network and electricity challenges expected

  • Start thinking about device feasibility. If power and electricity are a problem, and user may not have access to charging facilities after long hours of device use in the field, a tablet might not be a good device.

  • If network challenges are persistent, consider that data collection will not be real time, but data collected will be saved on the phone and then sent once connected to network.

Government collaborations that the organization may leverage for scale

  • Good to consider if there are useful connections with government, especially for scale-up potential. May want to encourage inclusion of a government official during the field testing/design phase to at least review the material. This builds government ownership of the content at early stages. Could also include government representatives in training.