Product management glosary


What is a Stakeholder?

A stakeholder is an individual, group, or organization that has a direct or indirect interest in a project, product, or service. They can influence or be affected by the decisions and actions taken during the development, implementation, and management of a product. In product management, stakeholders play a crucial role in determining the success or failure of a product, as their needs, expectations, and feedback are essential in shaping the product's direction and overall value proposition.

Types of Stakeholders

Stakeholders can be categorized into two main groups: internal and external stakeholders. Each group has different interests, expectations, and levels of influence on a product.

Internal Stakeholders

Internal stakeholders are individuals or groups within an organization who are directly involved in the development, management, or use of a product. They include:

  • Product managers
  • Project managers
  • Development teams
  • Marketing teams
  • Finance teams
  • Senior management
  • Support teams

Internal stakeholders are responsible for defining the product's vision, strategy, and goals, as well as ensuring its successful development and launch. They are also responsible for managing the product's lifecycle, including updates, improvements, and eventual retirement.

External Stakeholders

External stakeholders are individuals or groups outside of an organization who have an interest in the product's success or failure. They include:

  • Customers
  • Partners
  • Suppliers
  • Regulatory bodies
  • Investors
  • Competitors

External stakeholders can influence a product's development and success through their feedback, preferences, and purchasing decisions. They can also impact a product's regulatory compliance, market positioning, and overall reputation.

Importance of Stakeholder Management

Effective stakeholder management is crucial in product management, as it helps to ensure that a product meets the needs and expectations of its target audience while also addressing the concerns and requirements of other stakeholders. Some benefits of effective stakeholder management include:

  • Improved communication and collaboration between stakeholders
  • Increased buy-in and support for the product
  • Reduced risk of project delays or failures due to unaddressed stakeholder concerns
  • Enhanced product quality and value proposition
  • Greater likelihood of achieving product goals and objectives

Stakeholder Management Strategies

Product managers can employ various strategies to effectively manage stakeholders throughout the product lifecycle. Some of these strategies include:

  • Identifying and prioritizing stakeholders based on their level of influence and interest in the product
  • Developing a clear communication plan to keep stakeholders informed and engaged
  • Actively seeking stakeholder input and feedback through meetings, surveys, and other channels
  • Addressing stakeholder concerns and expectations proactively and transparently
  • Establishing strong relationships with key stakeholders to foster trust and collaboration

In conclusion, stakeholders play a vital role in the success of a product, and effective stakeholder management is a critical skill for product managers. By understanding the needs and expectations of stakeholders, product managers can make informed decisions that drive product success and create value for all parties involved.