Stakeholders in Software Project

A stakeholder in software project is person or entity who is involved or effect by the outcome of project,

“The term stakeholder is used to refer to any person or group who will be affected by the system, directly or indirectly. Stakeholders include end-users who interact with the system and everyone else in an organization that may be affected by its installation. Other system stakeholders may be engineers who are developing or maintaining related systems, business managers, domain experts, and trade union representatives.” Sommverville (2007).

Stakeholders can be divided into two broad categories internal stakeholders which includes project manager, project team, management company and project testers etc., and external stakeholders includes financial sponsors, end-users or customers who use the product etc.

Project Manager

Project manager is actually managing the whole project, assigned tasks, resolve conflicts, sort out dependencies and overseas the project. Project manager is bridge between project team, top management and customers. Manager keeps the project on track, and make sure all the resources necessary to complete modules, sub-systems and ultimately the entire project.

Project manager plays key roles in the entire project, whenever requires change, he or she makes sure the project remain on track and assessing the impact of in response to change.

Risk management is another ongoing task which needs assessment and preparation for any kind of risk to project success. Communication between stakeholders is key to success and on time delivery of project, the project manager establish communication between project team and customers; the effective communication becomes crucial in case of any conflict between customer exception and project team’s understanding of required functionality within given project timeline while requirements changes due any reason.

When project team needs any clarifications about any required functionality during project development lifecycle, they usually consult project manager first. Finally, project manager makes sure the project meets the customer’s expectations within given time frame and given budget.

Project Team

The project team is group of people work on project and make it reality. This includes programmers, designers and testers etc. Project team frequently meet with project manager to plan features for iteration, develop understanding of features and assess timeline for given iteration.

Project team breaks down the project features in the tasks and estimate time for each task. The project team is led by project manager, and directly communicate and report to project manager.

Sometimes project team may be working on multiple project at the same time which makes it challenging for managing work distribution among them within allocated time.

Project manager helps to resolve this kind of issues. If project team is distributed across multiple physical geolocations, then personality difference, work style and time-zone also effect the work progress, it can delay the communication among team members.

As member of team author is has also experienced the delays in completing tasks when development team is span across different time zones, sometimes meetings needs to be delayed due to availability and different situation mainly because of time zone.

Management Company or Top Management

Top management include president of company, vice presidents, directors and other department heads. These people develop strategies and set goals and directions for company.

Top management is also important stakeholder which can impact the project as with their help because resources can be recruited on time for the project.

Top management’s interaction with project manager magnifies the role of project manager within the for company hence it helps them to realize the essence and value of project manager.

Sponsors or Investors

Sponsors or investor of the project are another key stakeholder consist of one or more people or company who fund the project i.e. giving money for project. Investors want to see the project’s progress during the development lifecycle of project.

They are more interested in the project success which directly tied to their return on investment. Sponsors are the most concerned stakeholder about the success of the project.

Third-party vendors or subcontractors

Any contractor, third-party vendors who participate in the project directly or indirectly. If project relies on third party services, then these service providers become equally important to the success of project.

If the project involves any subcontractors from different company, then their arability & skill set can affect the delivery timeline of project.

Third-party subcontractors can be external testers who perform veracious tests externally just by having requirements match features of output product, which help project in streamlining along with customer expectations.


Customers are the end-users or people who actually use the project after delivery. Customers are by far the most important stakeholder in the project as choose to accept or reject the project entirely.

The customers set the expectations for project, in fact the requirements are analyzed and gathered from customer’s point of view, i.e. how they see or use the product is entirely driven by customer prospect. Project manager and customers are two key stakeholders whose interest can succeed or fail the project.

Project manager keeps project on track and resolve issues while keep interacting with customers and get the feedback from customers as project progresses. Customer want to see the progress of the project during development phases to identify any potential deviation from their expectations. Customers are also interested in timeline of the project as it moves along.

Change in requirements is single most damaging factor in project development lifecycle which effect delivery timelines and adds more complexities.

Customers are the most important stakeholder in all aspect of project. Customers can also be beta testers for limited number of peoples, whenever major feature is about to be delivered its generally better to try with beta users, selected number of customers can also be beta testers or reviewers which helps project to find any potential bugs or issues before going out live to all customers.