Welcome to aea365! Please take a moment to review our new community guidelines. Learn More.

NA TIG Week: James W. Altschuld The 10 Commandments of Needs Assessors

I’m James W. Altschuld. When Ryan Watkins asked me to write a NA entry for this year’s aea365 sponsored week, he playfully dubbed me the ‘Patron Saint’ of Needs Assessment. While his perception is not accurate, allow me in that spirit to offer some commandments for Needs Assessors.


  1. art a facilitator of a process and never a savior which thou wilt never be
  1. shalt always explore the organization or group thou art working with for existing information before collecting any new data
  1. shalt have an advisory or guiding group built into the needs assessment process for eventually its members will probably be part of the needs resolution strategy
  1. must assume that many voices will enter the fray increasing its difficulty
  1. must expect frustration when doing needs assessments (art thou surprised for it comes with the territory, no elaboration is required, and it fits with commandments 3 and 4)
  1. wilt consult the literature for ideas and input as painful as that might be
  1. shalt honor the needs assessment gurus (a nutty commandment if there ever was one)
  1. wilt have to allot more time and lucre for the process than thou originally planned (so what’s new)
  1. must recognize that thou art a facilitator or a catalyst but that other not thou have responsibilities for solutions and their implementation
  2. will absolutely adhere to the prior 9 commandments


Author’s Note:   After reading the commandments it should be apparent that Dr. Watkins was completely incorrect in applying the Patron Saint designation to this author. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Needs Assessment (NA) TIG Week with our colleagues in the Needs Assessment Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our NA TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.